Cold Sore Specialist

MD Dermatology & Laser Center

Sanjiv K. Saini, M.D.

Board Certified Dermatologist & Cosmetic Surgeon located in Gambrills, MD & Edgewater, MD

Have you ever woken up on the day of an important event or job interview only to find you have a huge, red sore on your lip? The dreaded cold sore seems to appear at the most inconvenient times. Sanjiv K. Saini, MD, at MD Dermatology & Laser Center — with offices in Gambrills, Edgewater, and Lexington Park, Maryland — helps you learn things you can do to minimize outbreaks and speed up the healing process. Call today or book an appointment online.

Cold Sore Q & A

Are cold sores caused by colds?

Sometimes called a fever blister, a cold sore is actually a contagious viral infection that appears as liquid-filled blisters around or on your lips. Cold sores can be painful, and although they may occur when you have a fever or cold, they are not caused by the common cold. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is the actual virus that causes cold sores. Often, outbreaks happen during times of stress or when your immune system is weak.

Although cold sores mostly appear on your face and lips, they can also infect your eyes, the skin of your fingers, and even your genitals — however, most genital herpes are caused by herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2).

Cold sores easily spread from close contact, such as kissing and sharing items that have come into contact with the blisters like towels, shaving razors, lipstick/balm, glasses, and eating utensils.

Cold sores generally heal completely without scarring within eight to ten days.

What are the symptoms of a cold sore?

Some first-timers may have more severe cold sore symptoms like a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, or a sore throat. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • An itching or burning sensation
  • Blistering on or around the lips
  • Crusting and oozing of fluids after the blisters pop

If you have been ill, or have a weakened immune system, and your cold sore symptoms have not cleared up after a couple weeks, book an appointment with Dr. Saini so he can help you find a solution.

How do you treat cold sores?

There is no cure for the HSV-1 virus or cold sores, but there are many ways to relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration of the outbreaks. Treatments include:

  • Avoiding acidic, salty, or spicy foods
  • Applying ice for temporary relief
  • Using over-the-counter drugs that contain menthol and phenol to numb the pain
  • Using topical medications to speed up recovery time.

If you suffer from severe pain due to a cold sore or you have chronic outbreaks, Dr. Saini may prescribe an anesthetic gel to relieve pain, or an antiviral oral medication to speed healing or lessen outbreaks. Dr. Saini and the medical staff at MD Dermatology & Laser Center are ready to help you. Book your appointment online or call today.


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