The Difference Between Cold Sore and Canker Sore


People often ask me the difference between cold sore and canker sore. Cold sores are red, painful sores that tend to come and go. A person with a cold sore might not even know they have one, because the pain is so light that they think it’s simply a minor annoyance. That’s why people sometimes confuse them with each other, but the truth is that cold sores and canker sores are very different.

These infections usually appear as red, painful blisters that are surrounded by a whitish or yellowish skin. The cause of these sores is the herpes simplex virus type 1. Herpes simplex virus type 1 cannot be cured, it cannot be treated, and it cannot be prevented. Once the virus enters the body, it becomes a permanent part of the system. This is why cold sores and canker sores usually develop on areas where the skin is most susceptible to infection, such as in the mouth and around the nose.

Canker sores develop as the result of the same types of virus, but typically they’re not as easily recognized. Because they are generally painless, they are much more likely to go away on their own. Canker sore outbreaks usually occur multiple times within a week or two. They tend to last for about six weeks, although some cases have been known to linger for up to a month.

When the sore is new, you will probably want to avoid any type of cold sore treatment until it has completely healed. This means avoiding any type of topical application or cream, as well as any other form of physical trauma to the area. If you must use a topical application or lotion, make sure it is a hypoallergenic one so that you don’t spread the herpes simplex virus. If you are able to tolerate the cream or lotion, apply it daily, especially after washing your hands.

Canker Sores are the most common symptom

Canker sores are the most common symptom of herpes, and are also the easiest to transmit to other people. These open sores can easily be transferred from person to person by sharing personal items like toothbrushes, razors, towels, and others. It can even be passed back and forth from a person to another by touching an open sore. The fact that they are generally located on the mouth and around the nose means that kissing, drinking, and other social activities can spread them between people.

The canker sore treatment that works best is the prevention route. Preventing the herpes simplex virus from triggering your immune system to attack your body is key, and there are many different steps you can take. One such preventative method is to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin C in your diet each day. Another is to cut out smoking, as smoke irritates your immune system and may cause outbreaks. Drinking adequate amounts of water each day is another good way to keep your immune system healthy.

Herpes Simplex Virus

The cold sore itself is a form of herpes simplex virus. Once you have one, it’s always there. However, it doesn’t flare up right away. You should notice a tingling sensation, which gradually becomes painful and increases in severity over the course of a day. A canker sore will start to develop white lesions on the inside of the mouth. They will likely start to bleed when scraped, but bleeding is usually minimal until the sore ruptures.

The key to preventing outbreaks from occurring is always keeping your immune system healthy. The last thing you want to do is get rid of your cold sore before it has a chance to form. There are many different types of cold sore treatment, so be sure to research each one thoroughly. Just remember that prevention is the best medicine.


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