Cold Sore Symptoms – What Can I Expect With Cold Sores?

What are common cold sore symptoms? What are the different stages you will experience with cold sores or oral herpes outbreaks? Let me share with you now what cold sore symptoms to expect.

First – there is a unique set of cold sore symptoms that take place after initially contracting the herpes virus. These symptoms are frequently mistaken for a mild case of the flu.

These include sore throat, fever, headaches and tiredness. These cold sore symptoms usually last about two to three days.

Usually these first signs of infection do not include the traditional cold sores, fever blisters or oral herpes lesions.

After this initial response to the virus, future cold sore symptoms will always include the actual cold sores. And they will always occur at the same site near where initial infestation took place.

If you start getting cold sores at another site, even two inches away, it means a new infection spot was created. Spreading the virus with contaminated fingers usually causes this.

Here are the basic cold sore symptoms you should watch for.


The first indication of coming cold sores is very subtle indeed. The site of your outbreak will start to feel uncomfortable. You will notice an itching, tingling or burning. It may even feel like the start of a very sensitive pimple.

What you are feeling is the herpes virus moving to the surface along the nerve fibers and entering nerve cells on your lip or nose. Some form of stress triggers the activation of this virus, normally latent.

Applying ice or anything cold will give some relief at this point. If caught early enough, ice can stop further activity by the herpes simplex virus. Yes, you can stop cold sores this way.


At this stage, you will first notice some hard, painful little bumps. They often are mistaken for pimples. These will then lead to swelling of the area. The cells are enlarging as they become filled with new virus.

This infection will often cause headaches, fever and swollen lymph glands under the jaw on the same side of the face as the cold sores. Your body is in full battle mode at this time.


The cells burst open to release the new virus once they are full. All these exploded cells, close together, create the open wound typical of cold sores.

This is a very painful period. The herpes virus builds your cold sores (oral herpes, fever blisters) right on the end of your nerves. You have exposed nerves and they hurt plenty.

Your body creates a clear, thick fluid that it uses to flush away as many virus particles as possible. This fluid is teaming with live virus and is VERY contagious.

Do not get on your fingers. When working with the wound, wash your hands continually. Use throwaway tissues or cotton balls to apply treatment or cleanse the wound.


When the sore breaks open, this signals the end of the destruction phase and the beginning of the healing stage.

In a day or so, cold sores will scab over to protect the wound and begin the replacement of all the destroyed cells. The area is still sensitive to the touch.

A dry scab will crack open. This creates pain and delays healing. Oil the scab well with olive oil (extra virgin), oregano oil or garlic oil. These oils have virus-fighting abilities.

As the battle rages, you can still experience headaches, fever and still-swollen glands.


In about a week or so, the scab falls off revealing new skin underneath.

Quite likely you will notice redness to the new skin. This indicates that healing continues below the surface.

You will start feeling much better now, and the swollen lymph glands should be close to normal again.

Be very cautious here. Many people do not realize it but they are still very contagious as long as the redness and discomfort of the area remains. The herpes simplex virus is still lurking and can infect others.

This final healing stage seems to drag on forever. It is very frustrating. And cold sores can quickly re-occur if you are not careful.

Applying a warm compress now gives comfort and helps to shorten the healing process. My favorite trick is holding a warm tea bag to the sore.

The above are cold sore symptoms that most people experience. They should be pretty close to the cold sore symptoms that you can expect also.

Try some good cold sore treatment options. There are amazing methods now discovered and available for reducing – or preventing – many or all of these cold sore symptoms.