Skip to main content

Cold Sore Facts

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is a common condition caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) that manifests itself in liquid-filled blisters around the lips, nose or chin. There are two types of HSV: HSV-1 which usually results in cold sores and HSV-2 which is commonly associated with genital herpes. Approximately 76% of Australians carry the HSV virus1.

How do we get it?

The virus is often contracted during childhood, usually without our knowledge. It then remains dormant in our bodies until triggered by one of a variety of factors.

What triggers cold sores?

Cold sore outbreaks are generally a result of psychological or physical stress.

Common triggers include:

  • Cold or flu
  • Fatigue
  • Cold weather
  • Exposure to sun
  • Menstruation
  • Hormones
  • Fever
  • Stress

1Cunningham A et al, Sex Transm Infect 2006: 82;164-168.

The 5 Stages of a Cold Sore outbreak

A cold sore outbreak lasts 7-12 days and goes through 5 stages of symptoms.

COMPEED® TOTAL CARE™ Invisible Cold Sore Patch treats all five stages of the outbreak fast and invisibly, delivering comparable healing* efficacy to acyclovir 5% creams as well as a variety of other benefits.

  1. Tingle
    The first symptoms appear- usually a tingling, burning or itching sensation in the area around the mouth or nose. This usually lasts for around six hours and is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety and worry about the cold sore’s impending arrival.

  2. Blister
    In as little as a few hours – or as much as a few days- the area becomes reddened and a cluster of small, fluid-filled blisters develops. This may eventually merge into a single large blister. The throbbing feelings that are common at this stage are often quite painful.

  3. Weeping
    The blisters swell and then burst, leaving a shallow, reddish ulceration. This is the most painful and contagious stage of the cycle and it is also when sufferers feel most self conscious.

  4. Scab
    A dry scab with a brown crust forms. If this cracks, itching, burning and bleeding can occur.

  5. Heal*
    The scab flakes off and the cold sore is completely healed*.

*healing of the Cold Sore lesion