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If you have a cold sore, you’re not alone. After all, they are contagious. And whether they’ve experienced the symptoms or not, about 90% of adults worldwide test positive for the viral infection that leads to cold sores.

Cold sores have three stages. The first stage involves an itching or tingling sensation, usually around the lips. This typically lasts a day or so. Then small blisters will form, lasting days or even weeks. After a period of time, the blisters will naturally burst, leaving open sores that leak fluid and then crust over and finally fade away. The entire development usually takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the cold sore virus. Thankfully, there are ways to alleviate your symptoms. Over-the-counter ointments such as Abreva, rubbing alcohol, and lip balm may hasten healing. Cool compresses and pain relieving creams may ease the stinging feeling. If your breakout is more brutal, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may prescribe an antiviral drug to treat your sores.

Want to decrease the possibility of a reoccurrence? This information may help:

1. Cold sores tend to show up in the exact area where they appeared before.
2. Cold sores are often triggered by sunlight. If you are going out in the sun for awhile, apply a lip balm with SPF or sunblock to the typical area. Drink lots of water and try to keep your lips moist and cool.
3. Cold sores may also be caused by stress or fatigue. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and practice stress management techniques like exercise or meditation.

Do you have any questions? You can call Discovery Park Dental in Cedar Park, Texas at 512.260.8330. Dr. Nitya Balan and our dental team would be happy to help.