Cold sores

Cold sores are a very common virus, around 80% of the population has the herpes simplex virus it is dormant until something triggers it then all hell breaks loose. The virus can only be caught by close contact like kissing. Many people contract the virus between the ages on 3-5 but won’t actually have an outbreak until puberty. If you have had a severe cold or have been feeling stressed lately this could trigger the virus.

Everyone has different symptoms but most people will have an unpleasant tingling sensation that will lead to a cluster of blisters, after the blisters have formed a scab the area does not usually cause scarring.

Preventing cold sores

Only 20% of people who carry the herpes simplex virus have a recurrent attack throughout their lives.

The best ways to avoid getting a cold sore are:

Do not touch the cold sores, leave it alone, by touching it you can spread it to other places like fingers and genitals.

If you do touch them wash hands thoroughly to prevent spreading the virus.

Try not to pick cold sores when scabs have formed, by picking you might leave a scar.


Aciclovir 5 per cent cream is what is in medicines used to treat cold sores, when you first have that tingling sensation you should apply medicine to it as soon as possible, usually this is five times a day for five days.

There are a few over the counter products available to buy but the best is Zovirax. Zovirax has been around for over 30 years, back then it was only available on a prescription, nowadays you can get it at the chemist it costs just under £5. There are other treatments by different brands but Zovirax has probably been around the longest.

If you keep having severe recurrent attacks you can go to your GP to get tablets to prevent the cold sores from attacking.