What is a cold sore?

Cold sores are very common in the UK - about 70% of people carry the virus that causes them, and roughly 20% actually develop cold sores.

Developing around the lips - usually on the lower one - cold sores can be unsightly owing to inflammation, a liquid-filled blister, and a yellow crust or a scab. In fact, many sufferers find the appearance of their cold sores unsightly and embarrassing enough to prevent them from going out.

But you can help heal cold sores and soothe the pain! You can even take steps to help prevent them occurring in the first place by using Prevasore’s unique formulation to lock in moisture.

Are you experiencing early cold sore symptoms?

These include tingling, itching or burning sensations, followed by the familiar small fluid-filled sores.

You will probably not notice any symptoms when you first get infected with the cold sore virus - this is called the primary infection. But if you do, they may be quite severe.

Usually, you'll first notice cold sores sometime after the initial infection. And, for 15-45% of people1, cold sores keep coming back. Doctors call these recurrent infections.

Cold sores usually develop on your lips, following a tingling feeling around your mouth. The sores are initially small and filled with fluid.

If you suffer from cold sores frequently, they will tend to occur in the same places. After the liquid drains and a scab forms (usually within a couple of days), they gradually heal and disappear within a week to 10 days.

1 Embil JA, Stephens RG, Manuel FR. 1975;

Your questions answered

Q. What does a cold sore feel like?

A. You will often notice a tingling sensation - or perhaps a burning or itching feeling - around your lips before a sore actually appears. When the sore has developed, it feels painful until it heals.

Q. What does a cold sore look like at first?

A. Initially there is nothing to see, and all you’ll notice is the tingling. When the cold sore starts developing, at first it may be small although may get larger and more painful. It usually oozes a clear or yellow liquid before developing a crust or scab. The period from first sensation to developing the crust is normally less than 48 hours.

Q. Are cold sores contagious?

A. Yes. Cold sores are contagious right from the start, up until they are fully healed – and especially when the blisters burst and haven’t yet dried out.

Q. What makes cold sores worse?

A. Licking, poking or scratching, and exposure to cold weather, sun and wind. Certain medical conditions, including stress, can also play a part.


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