The moment you start to see a blister, the overall ‘process’ of the cold sore has begun. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to stop a cold sore from happening. But there are treatments that can speed up the healing process. Some of those options are excellent, and they can help to prevent a cold sores from bleeding.
Caused by the HSV-1 virus, most of us are susceptible. Once the virus is in you, it will be there forever. It typically remains dormant. But, people experience flare ups for different reasons. Everything from stress to cold weather can cause an ‘outbreak’.
Cold sores go through different stages. They will usually heal on their own after 10 to 14 days without treatment. But most people consider them unsightly enough to speed up that process. The stages of a cold sore can change the way you see things.
If a cold sore starts to bleed, it’s likely to be because you didn’t keep the area moist. You’re much more likely to experience bleeding if the cold sore cracks open, but there are ways to prevent the situation from getting any worse.
Table of Contents:
Stopping a Cold Sore from Bleeding
There are typically five different stages of a cold sore. They include:
- The first symptoms: Redness, itchiness, soreness around the mouth
- Developing infection: Blisters begin to form as red, fluid-filled ‘sacks’
- Bursting blisters: The blisters can burst open on day four or five.
- Scabbing: After the blisters have burst, they will scab over and have a crusty appearance. This is when you’re most at risk of bleeding.
- Healing/Peeling: After about a week from your initial symptoms, the scabs will begin to peel away.
When it comes to a cold sore that is bleeding, however, the stage to focus on is the scabbing. There are two problems people typically run into with this stage; picking at the scab, or having it crack open on its own. Both of these issues can cause a cold sore to bleed.
A scab is a sign that a cold sore is healing. Once a blister bursts open and scabs over, the healing process has begun. Again, fever blisters will heal on their own with time. Unfortunately, this stage can be difficult. Not only is it easy for scabs to crack open (which will likely increase healing time), but it’s also painful. Scabs can be itchy and irritating. Even dealing with one for a few days can feel like an eternity.
Preventing Bleeding from Happening
If you it starts to bleed from a cracked or opened scab, there are a few things you can do.
Try Not to Touch the Scab
The only time you should be touching it is to wash it gently. Or, you can apply a treatment, such as HERP-B-GONE cream. It can be tempting to itch or pick at a scab. However, that can easily cause bleeding, and put you at risk for infection. Touching a scab and then touching other areas of your body can also spread the virus.
Make Sure the Area is Kept Clean
Wash the affected area separately from the rest of your face, so you don’t spread the virus. It should be dabbed with a clean cloth. Remember to thoroughly wash your hands. Don’t share your towel with anyone else so that the infection isn’t spread.
Keep the Scab Soft & Moist
Scabs often crack open due to dryness. The best way to fight against this is by using moisturizing products. Over-the-counter creams, like Orajel or Abreva are popular when it comes to getting rid of cold sores. They lessen the healing time and discomfort.
Although not as effective, just using petroleum jelly can have a similar effect. Daily application to the scab will soften it, and keep the surrounding area lubricated. The more moisture around the lips, the less likely it is for the scab to crack.
Don’t Expose the Area to Extreme Weather
Both cold weather and direct sunlight (even from a tanning machine) puts you at greater risk of developing cold sores. They also have a drying effect on the skin, increasing the probability of a bleeding cold sore.
- Make sure that you cover your mouth with a scarf when it’s cold outside.
- If it’s a sunny day, apply a protective lip balm with sunblock.
Numb the Infected Area with Ice
Simply place an ice cube against the scab for a few minutes. When the area is numb, you can apply an over-the-counter product, or petroleum jelly. The ice will help to relieve the burning, itching sensation so you can treat the blister.
Treating a Cold Sore at Home
No matter how you treat a cold sore, understand that it’s a process that will take 10-14 days to heal. This can vary, but there is no ‘quick fix’ in the healing process. In that time, use the above measures to avoid bleeding. Make sure that you keep the area clean. The HSV-1 virus spreads quickly and easily. So, when you touch the blistered area, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk.
Because of the variety of treatments, cold sores don’t have to be such a pain, anymore. Once your blister reaches the scabbing stage, do what you can to prevent it from cracking open. With added moisture and softness to the scab, it will become less likely to crack. Not only will this reduce your pain, but it can also reduce healing time.
When you want to stop a cold sore from bleeding, cleanliness and moisturization are the real keys. Try utilizing both when you experience an outbreak. If you do, your cold sore experience will feel far less invasive and uncomfortable.