When cold sores do appear, they typically follow the same five stages:
- If you develop cold sores only every once in a while, you may find topical treatments beneficial such as doscosanol (Abreva), acyclovir (Zovirax) and penciclovir (Denavir).
- If you have frequent cold sores, talk to your doctor. They may prescribe valacyclovir (Valtrex) and famciclovir (Famvir).
Blisters and the following stages may cause discomfort during eating. You should avoid certain foods, such as:
- hot liquids
- salty foods
- spicy foods
The cold sore will break open, often within a few days of appearing on the surface of your skin. Open sores will be red and shallow. They are most contagious during this time.
When the blister dries out, it will look yellow or brown. You should be careful to not aggravate the crusted blister. Using cold and warm compresses and zinc oxide ointment may help.
The scab will slowly disappear by flaking away. Cold sores generally don’t leave scars.
Remember: If you have regular cold sores, you should see your doctor for prescription medication. It may help limit the frequency and severity of your sores.
Keyword: cold sore stages; stages cold sore; stages herpes