What are the stages of cold sore? Lean more on how long does it take a cold sore to go away, understand why it hurt so much and also be conversant on how long is it contagious?
Cold Sore Stages
Cold sore also called fever blister, and are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-1). The herpes virus can stay in your body in a dormant state for many years before the appearing of cold sore on the skin.
Cold sore can appear as tiny blister like lesion on your mouth or even inside the mouth. The blisters can also attack nostrils, cheeks and even eyes.
The blister caused by cold sore stages on the skin takes about ten days to clear up. For people with weakened immune system it may take long time than ten day to be relieved from cold sores and also they might experience a serious damage of blisters on the mouth.
Cold sore infection is very contagious and can spread from one individual to another. The virus can be passed through fresh saliva or by direct skin contact with contaminated surface of herpes virus.
Once you get exposed to the virus, they enter into body system in to nerves system and remain inactive for some time but may later be appearing during cold sore stages.
After the initial infection of the herpes virus, the first symptoms can be observed after one week. Some people may contact the virus but due to strong body immune system cold sore may not appear on their mouth.
The dormant herpes virus in your body system can be easily be activated by some factors to cause the reoccurrence of cold sores. The possible factors that triggers herpes virus to cause cold sore include the following:
- Change of hormones
- Weakened body immune system
- Exposure to sunlight
Presence of one these cold sore triggers do encourage the dormant herpes virus to be activated in the body system which then move to skin surface through nerve fibers to cause the development of blisters.
Herpes simplex virus usually causes infection that typically follows five cold sore stages that can be analyzed as follows;
Stage 1: Tingling
Tingling around the mouth is the first symptom that indicate about to have cold sore on your skin. You may feel irritation on the lips or nostril. The area where the cold sores are about to develop may get some burns or itch.
During this stage the HSV-1 virus is already active on the skin to cause cold sore to appear. Treatment of cold sore at this time cannot stop the formation of the sores but it will help to reduce pain for faster relief.
Treating the infection at tingling stage may help to reduce the manifestation of developing more blisters on the mouth. Oral drugs are more useful during this stage to limit the effect of the outbreak of the cold sore.
Tropical treatment is beneficial during tingling phase of the cold sore. Some of the treatments that can be used to relief pain during tingling phase include:
- Acyclovir (zovirax)
The drugs should be prescribed only by a professional for best result.
Aloe Vera gel also has the ability to block the activity of HSV-1 virus on the skin. These means aloe Vera can be an alternative tropical drug for the treatment of the first phase of cold sore stages.
Sometimes tingling phase can be very painful and you need to visit your nearby chemist to get pain killers like acetaminophen that provides faster relief.
If you experience frequent cold sore it is advisable seek medication. Talk to your doctor about the problem. Oral medication would be prescribed for you.
Stage 2: Blistering
Comes a day after you feel initial tingling phase and then cold sore develop into blistering stage. During this stage one or more blisters appears on the skin surface. The blisters are then filled with fluid. The skin under the blister turns red in color.
The blister may appear on the lips, inside the mouth, nostrils and even in your throat. Blistering phase has a lot irritation and pain.
Ensure you stay hydrated by taking a lot of fluids especially when the sores are on the mouth. Taking clean water during this time is important.
You can use pain reliever during blistering cold sore stages. Tropical cream can also be applied on the blisters. Oral medication can also be taken after doctors prescriptions.
When blisters appear on the surface of your skin they can spread to other part of the body. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after touching the affected area. Also avoid sharing of utensils or washcloth to prevent the spread of the virus.
Kissing and oral sex are the factors that can encourage the spread of the virus. You should avoid intimate contact during blistering phase.
Blistering phase may cause more discomfort during eating. Certain food should be avoided during this time. Some of foods that can increase pain on the blisters are;
- Hot drinks
- Spicy foods
- Acidic foods
- Salty foods
Stage 3: Weeping
During this phase the cold sores breaks and open up allowing clear fluids to come out of the cold sores. Open sores on the skin turn red.
Weeping stage is the most contagious as the fluid from the open sores are containing a lot of infective virus that can attack others if they come in contact with it.
Picking of the sores can lead to worsening of the condition and also the sore can spread to other skin part. During this phase, take a lot of water to prevent dehydration of the body.
Proper hygiene procedure is also required to minimize the spread of the herpes virus. Avoid sharing of washcloth during this phase.
Stage 4: Crusting
Crusting happens after weeping stage, your blisters will dry up into yellow crust. During this time be very careful not to injure the blister because it may even cause bleeding if crust removed before healing.
Warm compress the blister will fasten healing process. Zinc oxide ointment can be used at this stage.
Stage 5: Healing
It is the final stage of cold sores. The crusted blisters scabs over. Use zinc oxide emollients to keep the scab soft. Aloe Vera cream can also be used to keep the scab soft and moist.
Ensure you stay away from direct sunlight that can cause cracking of the skin near the affected site. Healing stage comes to an end when the scab on the skin disappears slowly to normal.
How long does it take a cold sore to go away
How long does it take for a cold sore to go away? This is a question that comes to your mind after the outbreak of cold sores. It is clear that cold sore will normally disappear within a period of one to two weeks after the complete of five cold sore stages.
Cold sores take about 8 to 1o days in order to go away. With the use medication, the sores can take less time for healing to take place.
After the healing of cold sore, it is unfortunately when you contracted HSV-1 virus that will never go away from your body system. Once you are attacked by cold sore, it is likely that an outbreak may come again from time to time.
Taking care of the lips and mouth by keeping them moisten can help you escape from cold sore that might develop due to presence of herpes simplex virus in the body system.
Why do Cold Sores Hurt so Much
Like other infections, cold sores can hurt you so much. Cold sore stages are very painful and can lead to psychological torture. This infection is caused by herpes simplex virus that stay in the body system for long period of time because body immune system cannot eliminate the virus completely hence cold sores are common to individual infected by the virus.
Cold sores can disappoint you when they keep on reoccurring on the skin. Sores may appear even ten times a year. Sometimes is can be so embarrassing when cold sore is a beauty problem on your face that can lower you self-esteem.
Other than psychological torture of cold sore, the blisters also have a physical pain that causes irritation and discomfort. The blisters can develop into mouth ulcers that may take long time to get relief. Also mouth blister can be a big problem when eating food.
Cold sore also as a viral infection it attack nerve system and this increases body sensitivity hence general body pain may be felt by the patient suffering from the cold sores.
In addition cold sore has other symptoms like headaches, vomiting, fever and sore throat that can also hurt you for long time before the five cold sore stages to appear.
Cold sore can also disappoint you when the virus attacks other parts of the body like on the eyes, skin of the fingers and on the genital. When cold sores appear on the private part of the body it creates a big worry and even you might think you it is a sexual transmitted infection.
Do Cold Sores have Pus in them
Many people question themselves if cold sores may contain some pus? The answer is cold sore do harbor the pus in them. During infection of HSV-1 virus you can notice a burning sensation that takes about one day before blistering occur on the skin.
The tiny fluid-filled blisters then turn cloudy which means that there is the presence of pus in the blisters. During blistering phase, the cold sores are very irritating and painful. The cloudy blisters then become swollen ready to break.
The fluid-filled blisters get soften then they break to allow pus to come out slowly. It is not easily to tell that sore contain some pus because they open up before more pus can accumulate in the blisters.
In some scenario cold sore may not turn to cloudy appearance as the open up within few hours of blistering and this does not allow the formation of the pus in the blisters.
Cold sore may contain some pus when the sores are infected with bacterial or fungi. The bacteria or fungi in the open cold sore may initiate the production of pus around the cold sores. It is advisable to maintain high standard of hygiene during the development of cold sore stages.
What does the start of a Cold Sore Look Like
After the infection of herpes simplex virus, you are more likely to experience the start of cold sore on your lips. The cold sores are not visible but you can feel them. During this stage, herpes virus is very active to cause the formation of cold sore on your lips.
Here are the first symptoms to tell the start of cold sore on your skin:
- Tingling of the affected site, usually happens on the lip, nostril or inside the mouth.
- Burning sensation on the skin of the lip or inside the nostrils.
- Tiny swelling on the lip or nostril that can be felt by touching but not very visible to the eyes.
Tiny blisters starts to appear on the infected skin. The swollen blisters at first moment are hard and difficult to differentiate from a pimple. After few hours the tiny blisters increased in size and soften by being filled with fluid.
When the blisters are now full with fluid it is easy to identify to be a cold sore at early stage even before they break to leave open sores. The blisters can develop on your lips or nose according to five cold sore stages.
How long is a Cold Sore Contagious
Cold sore is a contagious infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The virus can be passed from one individual to another by means of exchanging body fluids. Direct saliva or sharing of same utensil like a glass or cup can spread the infection.
Herpes virus is more contagious during the time a person is having active cold sore on the mouth. Blistering and weeping phase are the most contagious these of the cold sore. During blistering time the herpes virus is very active and they replicated hence can infect other people when come in contact with them.
Sometimes normal skin of infected person with HSV-1 virus can shed active virus that can cause infection to other people. Herpes virus is also contagious when a patient has no active sores. The virus can also stay on the contaminated surface for long time.
Kissing or having oral sex with infected person with herpes virus can result to spread of the infection. During the process of kissing the virus in the saliva can be transmitted to the partner and cause cold sore infection.
The virus can be also be contagious in the inactive state and activated when they are passed to next victim. The virus can spread in the form of cysts that develop in to herpes virus when they get favorable conditions to grow and cause cold sores.
Generally, cold sore is a contagious infection that can spread fast and infect large number of people if no proper hygiene is taken into consideration.
Herpes simplex virus from the cold sores can survive for about five hours on plastic material, four hours on cloth and three on skin.it is your role to clean and disinfect any material of surface that comes in contact with cold sore.
When is a Cold Sore Healed enough to Kiss
It is clear that cold sore is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus which can shed from active lesion. The virus can spread from mouth sores to target victim during a process of kissing and cause the development of cold sores.
It is advisable to avoid kissing another person when having active cold sores on the mouth. Kissing should be done when all the cold sore on the lip is completely healed. Kissing during the cold sore stages can also reduce the ability of the sore to be healed faster. You can also cause more injuries on the lips other than spreading the herpes virus to your partner.
30 days can be enough breaks to allow complete healing of the cold sore on your lips before kissing again. This duration will keep you and you kissing partner safe and also will reduce chances of spreading the virus from active lesion.
Many people advocate kissing when they have completely recovered from cold sore infections to avoid the spread though this infection is common to people and no serious consequences.