8 Symptoms of a Cold Sore

Cold sores are something that many people have gotten at some point in their lives. While a cold sore isn’t preventable and does not have a cure, there are a few ways to keep them from happening so frequently. What we know about the cause of cold sores is that they are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Both types of HSV (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are extremely contagious when in close contact with another individual. HSV-2 can result from engaging in oral sex with someone who is infected with genital herpes, but HSV-1 is only the result of oral-to-oral contact with an infected individual.

Since the virus tends to remain inactive following infection, it is difficult to know right away whether you actually have HSV. Of course, the first step in doing so is knowing what symptoms to look for. Signs of these sores tend to manifest only after something triggers them to do so. In some cases, an infected individual might only show signs once and never have them manifest again. Meanwhile, other people with HSV might get several breakouts per year. In other cases, a cold sore never even develops since HSV can be entirely dormant. Children are the most likely to show severe symptoms.

Seeing as how you will only know that you are infected once symptoms begin to appear, it’s crucial that you know what to look for. Your first cold sore could likely result from a primary infection, in which case it will be more severe than most successive cold sores.

1. Sore Lip

The first stage of a cold sore is experiencing a sore lip. This normally happens during the first day or two of an outbreak. Generally, the area of the lip that is infected with the sore will feel tender to the touch, although nothing will look very irritated or swollen at first. A sore lip will often start off as a mild annoyance and progressively become more noticeable as time goes on. This is typically how a cold sore starts, and it has been estimated that at least 85% of those who have HSV first experience a sore lip. These sores often develop around the outer rim of the lip and, in many cases, manifest near the corner of the mouth.