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Cold Sore Stages

A cold sore goes through five stages:

  • Stage one: Tingling and itching occurs about 24 hours before blisters erupt.
  • Stage two: Fluid-filled blisters appear.
  • Stage three: The blisters burst, ooze, and form painful sores.
  • Stage four: The sores dry out and scab over causing itching and cracking.
  • Stage five: The scab falls off and the cold sore heals.



Here is a short video of the cold sore stages


Cold sores, often called fever blisters, usually occur on the lips or around the mouth

Caused by the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, and transmitted through skin contact with an infected person, this infection spreads easily. Cold sores generally follow the same stages:

tingling, blistering, weeping, crusting and healing.


In the first cold sore stage, development usually presents as a burning, tingling or itching sensation around the lips or nose.

The tingling cold sore stage, also called the prodromal stage, lasts for one to two days. The tingling spot may swell, turn red or feel sore.

The tingling stage is the best time to treat a cold sore.


Within 12 hours of the tingling stage of a cold sore, the blistering stage occurs, bringing with it a small, red area with fluid-filled blisters.

One blister may appear, but the possibility exists of several blisters developing. The duration of the blistering stage is usually two days.

Weeping (Ulcer)

Following the blistering cold sore stage comes the one day long weeping stage, also called the ulcer stage.

This cold sore stage is developed during the blistering stage grow, they rupture and leak fluid containing infectious viruses, making this a highly contagious stage.

The red sores may become gray at this point. The weeping stage is often the most painful.

Crusting (Scabbing)

During the crusting stage of a cold sore develops a scab which may crack and bleed.

Additional scabs form during the next two to three days, eventually shedding and leaving a red, sensitive spot.


And the final stage of a cold sore, the healing stage, returns the area infected by a cold sore to its original state. Permanent scarring rarely occurs.

However, the virus continues to live in your nerves. Cold sore outbreaks often occur during times of stress or sickness.


Healing Stage of Cold Sores

Honestly. As long as you don’t mess with it and take care of it with moisture products, the cold sore should heal up in a total of 9-12 days.

Everyone’s different, so it might take longer or shorter for you. But DON’T rush it. Let it heal.

When you see it start to get smaller and fade, that’s when you don’t want to irritate it at all… it’s trying to heal.

Products you can find here can speed up this process or even heal the damage you’ve already done to it even though you knew not to mess with it.

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