Cold Sores – What You Need To Know

Sometimes, people can confuse cold sores and canker sores. They are much different. Canker sores are caused by injury, but cold sores aren’t. Knowing why they occur can help you treat them. 

A cold sore is usually caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. This sounds like a scary thought, but is actually very common and usually nothing to be overly concerned about. However, it is important to be careful since it is contagious through close contact, such as kissing or sharing drinks!

Unfortunately, once you contract this virus, it will stay with you for the rest of your life. However, this does not mean you will always have a cold sore! Instead, the dormant cold sore will only appear if triggered. According to, these are some common triggers:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sun or cold weather
  • Certain foods
  • Allergies
  • Weak Immune System


You will definitely know if you have a cold sore. Common symptoms are a burning, tingling, itching sensation days before the sore appears. It will form into a fluid filled blister and you may experience some discomfort. It will ooze this fluid until it scabs over. The blister will last between 2 to 4 weeks and be aware that it is contagious for the entire time!


Antiviral medications are a great way to help reduce the frequency and pain level caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. Also, you will without a doubt find benefit in lowering your stress levels, catching up on sleep and avoiding the common triggers listed above. However, you will never be able to totally eradicate the virus from your system.

If the cold sore has not cleared up in 2 or more weeks, make an appointment with your dentist.