Understanding the Different Cold Sore Stages

Cold sores can last up to two weeks if they’re not treated sufficiently early. This means that you’ll have to endure pain, swelling, burning, oozing, scabbing, and itchiness for the next 14 days of your life.

The type of treatment and the stage of the cold sore that you take action will determine how long that you have to endure these unpleasant symptoms. We’ll be taking a close look at the different stages of cold sores, and what you should expect to happen at each stage.

Even if a cold sore has reached the blister stage, you can still speed up the healing process. Anything that you can do to recover faster, or cover up a cold sore so that it’s less visible, has to be considered beneficial to the sufferer.

As much as you’ll want to scratch it, the temptation must be avoided. Doing so will open up the blister, spread the virus, and cause even more pain. It could start to affect the corner of the mouth, cheek, chin or eyelids. You risk spreading it to other people, too.

The primary infection is almost always worse. You may experience, flu-like symptoms, swelling of lymph nodes, tiredness, and more. Recurrent infections are still unpleasant but tend to be less severe. You also know what to expect when you’ve been through it all previously.

What Are the Different Cold Sore Stages & Duration?

You can treat the fever blister during any of the stages, and we will recommend a good treatment. That’s not to say that other products don’t work, but the intention is to create a useful guide for people to follow.

First Stage

  • This will last for one or two days.

People that have already had cold sores call it the ‘tingling’ stage. You’ll notice that the skin in the area where the blister is about to form will feel tighter than normal. The spot on the lip will turn red, and it can start to swell.

Many treatments may be able to stop the blister, but applying tea tree oil for cold sores is recommended. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and antibiotic properties. This prevents the herpes simplex virus from forming new cells.

Combine it with a few drops of water and apply it 2-3 times a day to the area.

Second Stage

  • This stage is usually 2 to 4 days into the life of the cold sore.

This is when the blister starts to form. You may get one blister, or you could develop a small clump of blisters. They start out as small bumps on the lip, or wherever you’re affected, and they are mildly painful.

The blister(s) will grow, and your body will start trying to heal itself. The sore will fill with a clear and highly infectious fluid. This fluid contains the virus. If you scratch off the blister or cause it to burst open, the fluid could spread the virus to other areas of the body/people.

The best treatment at this stage is HERP-B-GONE. This product is made with 100% natural ingredients and is specifically formulated to stop the virus from reproducing. This means that the infection isn’t as severe, so it’ll typically clear up significantly sooner.

Third Stage

  • This stage will begin on the 4th or 5th day.

During this time, the cold sore blister will pop and will form an open sore, or ulcer. This is the most painful stage that you will experience.

A red-colored spot may appear around the blister, due to inflammation. You’ll need a treatment that will reduce the pain and discomfort, such as Abreva. It’ll heal the blister, and it’ll also quell the burning and itching. It’s approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

Fourth Stage

  • This will be the 5th to 8th day of the blister.

The sore will now start to scab over. This means that the fluid is starting to dry out, so a crust will form. This is the basis of the scab itself.

The symptoms include burning and itching, which means that it’s healing. Consider applying a moisturizer, such as aloe vera, to prevent the scab from cracking open. If this were to happen, the healing process would need to start from scratch. You’d also be at risk of getting a cold sore scar.

Most of the healing has taken place by this stage. The main issue is the ugly scab. The good news is that you can cover it up with the Compeed Invisible Cold Sore Patch. It’s a medicated patch that will act as a cover up and treatment.

Cold Sore Stages

Fifth Stage

  • This is usually 8 to 10 days after it starts unless you have picked the scab off.

When the scab falls off, it may start to flake and could become swollen again. Once the scab has fallen off, the area will be red or pink. This will normally go away after about a week.

If you experience any pain, you can apply ice to it, or take an aspirin. Few people experience pain at this stage, but you may wish to apply some soothing aloe vera to help with the uneven skin color. It isn’t usually necessary.

The best time to treat a fever blister is when it first starts. You can drastically reduce the healing time of a cold sore by treating it early. You can find cold sore relief at any stage, though.

No matter how badly you want to scratch it, don’t do it. The last thing you want is to go through the healing process again. Worse still, you could spread the virus. Treatments, such as the Virulite cold sore machine, will dramatically shorten the healing time and reduce your suffering. Why endure pain for 14 days when you could be free from fever blisters in as little as 3 days?