How Often Do Cold Sores Come Back?

11 minutes read

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Once a person is infected with HSV, the virus remains in their body for life and can lead to recurring cold sores. The frequency at which cold sores come back can vary from person to person.


In general, cold sores tend to recur in outbreaks. An outbreak typically begins with a tingling or itching sensation in the area where the sore will appear. This is followed by the development of small, fluid-filled blisters. Over time, these blisters burst, crust over, and heal, usually within a week to ten days.


The frequency of recurring cold sores can be influenced by various factors. These factors may include a person's immune system, stress levels, overall health, and certain triggers. Common triggers for recurring cold sores may include:

  1. Stress: Emotional or physical stress can weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to viral outbreaks.
  2. Illness or Fatigue: A weakened immune system due to illness, exhaustion, or fatigue can increase the likelihood of cold sore recurrence.
  3. Sun Exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can trigger cold sore outbreaks in some individuals.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones, such as those that occur during menstruation, can provoke cold sore outbreaks in some people.
  5. Injury or Trauma: Injury or trauma to the lips or facial area, such as from dental work or a facial injury, can trigger cold sores.
  6. Weakened Immune System: Conditions that compromise the immune system, such as HIV or chemotherapy, can result in more frequent and severe outbreaks.


The frequency of cold sore recurrence can vary greatly between individuals. Some people may only experience occasional outbreaks, while others may have recurring cold sores several times a year. In some cases, cold sores may become less frequent over time.


While there is no cure for the herpes simplex virus, antiviral medications can help relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of outbreaks. Additionally, taking measures to maintain a healthy immune system, managing stress levels, and avoiding known triggers can help reduce the frequency of cold sore recurrence.


If you experience frequent or severe cold sores, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management options.

The Best Lip Balm For Cold Sores in April 2024

1
Burt's Bees Lip Balm, Moisturizing Cold Sore Lip Care Treatments Bundle - Rapid Rescue and Medicated Lip Balm

Rating is 5 out of 5

Burt's Bees Lip Balm, Moisturizing Cold Sore Lip Care Treatments Bundle - Rapid Rescue and Medicated Lip Balm

  • #1 DERMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED NATURAL SKINCARE BRAND*: Burt’s Bees is the #1 dermatologist recommended natural skincare brand* for lovingly crafted products not tested on animals, packaging may vary
  • COLD SORE TREATMENT: A combination of powerful ingredients, including botanicals and moisturizers, hydrate and comfort cold sore and fever blister symptoms to deliver temporary relief and protection
  • SOOTHES WITH RHUBARB AND SAGE COMPLEX: Our unique formula pairs soothing Rhubarb and Sage Complex with comforting and cooling Menthol and Peppermint Oil for temporary relief
  • MEDICATED LIP BALM: Ease troubled lips with this refreshing, calming balm, specially formulated with Menthol and infused with Eucalyptus extract to renew your lips
  • 100% NATURAL ORIGIN FORMULA: This 100% natural origin cold sore treatment from Burt’s Bees is formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS
2
Herpecin-L Lip Protectant/cold Sore & Sunscreen Lip Balm Twin Pack

Rating is 5 out of 5

Herpecin-L Lip Protectant/cold Sore & Sunscreen Lip Balm Twin Pack

  • HERPECIN L LIP BALM: Herpecin L Everyday Protection helps relieve and protect against cold sores, fever blisters, and chapped lips. It's formulated with lysine, Vitamins C, B6, and E, lemon balm and added SPF 30 protection.
  • PROTECT AND TREAT YOUR LIPS: Treat your lips to soothing relief from dryness, sun blisters, and cold sores with Herpecin L. Find real relief from herpes related cold sores from real medicine, and protect your lips with Herpecin L lip balm with SPF 30.
  • REAL RELIEF FROM REAL MEDICINE: Herpecin L soothes, moisturizes & creates a SPF 30 barrier to protect your lips against the sun's harmful UV rays. It does more for a cold sore.
  • SPF 30 PROTECTION: UV rays can increase your risk of sun cancer, chapped lips, early skin aging & damaged skin can promote the development of cold sores. Herpecin L lip balm can help prevent sunburn.
  • HERPECIN L FOR COLD SORES: Uniquely formulated with dimethicone & lysine, Herpecin helps relieve & protect painful cracking of lips & promotes healing of cold sores without numbing or drying.
3
eos Medicated Lip Balm - The Fixer | Lip Care to Repair and Protect Chapped and Dry Lips | Instant Cooling and Pain Relief with Natural Ingredients | 0.35 oz

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

eos Medicated Lip Balm - The Fixer | Lip Care to Repair and Protect Chapped and Dry Lips | Instant Cooling and Pain Relief with Natural Ingredients | 0.35 oz

  • 24 Hour Hydration: Medicated lip treatment relieves pain associated with cold sores or fever blisters by giving you immediate moisture and protection
  • Instant Moisturizer: Easily reinforce your skin's natural barrier and lock in moisture with just one swipe
  • Sustainably Sourced: Lip balm is made with shea butter and all natural mint extract flavor
  • Natural Mint Flavor: Delicious and natural mint flavor make lip repair healthy and tasty
  • SuperShield SHEA: Formulated without parabens or phthalates; Hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested
4
Campho Phenique Cold Sore and Fever Blister Treatment for Lips, Maximum Strength Provides Instant Relief, Helps Prevent Infection To Promote Healing, Original Gel Formula, 0.23 Oz

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Campho Phenique Cold Sore and Fever Blister Treatment for Lips, Maximum Strength Provides Instant Relief, Helps Prevent Infection To Promote Healing, Original Gel Formula, 0.23 Oz

  • Specially formulated for cold sores/fever blisters
  • Instantly relieves pain & itch
  • Helps prevent infection to promote healing
  • For adults and children 2 years and over
  • Store at room temperature
5
Herstat | Between Cold Sore Outbreaks | Lip Balm

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Herstat | Between Cold Sore Outbreaks | Lip Balm

  • ✅ HERSTAT MOISTURISING LIP CARE - Designed for everyday use in between cold sore outbreaks. The Herstat LipCare Stick has proved to be extremely popular with fans of our ointment.
  • ✅ SMELLS & TASTES GREAT - The natural antioxidant activity of Herstat LipCare Stick protects the delicate structure of the lips and helps reduce damage due to UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • ✅ HANDY SIZE - The size of a normal lip balm, it's easy to carry about with you wherever you go.
  • ✅ 100% NATURAL HIGH QUALITY PROPOLIS - Propolis is a natural substance that is collected from beehives. The propolis used by Herstat comes from a well-defined area of Canada - this particular resin-type material has been specifically extracted and purified, and undergoes rigorous cleaning and quality checks before it can be certified for use in our products.
  • ✅ USE IN BETWEEN OUTBREAKS - Please note that this product has been designed to be used in-between cold sore outbreaks – for treatment during an outbreak, use Herstat Cold Sore Care Ointment.
  • ✅ FREE FROM PARABENS - We use purified propolis as a preservative in our products which means we do not need to add parabens to preserve our ointment.


Are there any long-term complications associated with recurrent cold sores?

Yes, there can be long-term complications associated with recurrent cold sores, particularly if they are left untreated or if the individual has a weakened immune system. Some possible complications include:

  1. Skin infections: Cold sores can cause secondary bacterial infections on the affected area, leading to impetigo or cellulitis.
  2. Scarring: In some cases, recurrent cold sores can leave behind scars on the skin, especially if there is excessive scratching or picking at the sores.
  3. Eye complications: If the cold sores occur near or on the eyes, there is a risk of developing eye complications such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), keratitis (corneal inflammation), or uveitis (inflammation of the uvea).
  4. Herpetic whitlow: This is a herpes infection that affects the fingers or thumbs, typically seen in healthcare workers or individuals who frequently touch their cold sores and then touch their fingers or thumb.
  5. Emotionally distressing: Recurrent cold sores can be emotionally distressing for some individuals, leading to feelings of embarrassment, low self-esteem, or anxiety.


It is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management of cold sores to prevent potential complications.


Can cold sores develop due to exposure to extreme weather conditions?

Cold sores, also known as oral herpes, are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and can be triggered by various factors. While extreme weather conditions themselves may not directly cause cold sores, they can contribute to the activation of the virus. Exposure to extreme cold, wind, or sunlight can weaken the immune system and make individuals more susceptible to cold sore outbreaks. Furthermore, dry or cracked lips due to cold weather can provide an entry point for the virus. It's important to note that the primary cause of cold sores is HSV-1, and extreme weather conditions can only act as a triggering factor for those already infected.


Can a cold sore outbreak worsen over time?

Yes, a cold sore outbreak can worsen over time. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), and once a person is infected with the virus, it remains in their body for life. While some individuals may have occasional or mild outbreaks, others may experience more frequent and severe episodes. Factors such as a weakened immune system, stress, sun exposure, hormonal changes, and certain medications can trigger recurrent outbreaks and potentially make them worse over time. It is advisable to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and management of cold sores.

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