Patient Comments: Herpes Simplex Infections (Cold Sores) - Describe Your Experience


Please describe your experience with herpes simplex infections (cold sores, non-genital). Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Blank, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I contracted this horrible disease when I was in my early 30s. At that time no one knew what it was. The herpes simplex infection was all in my mouth, gums and tongue. I was on vacation with my husband at the time and got so sick we had to come home. I had a 103 temperature along with lots of pain. I couldn't eat or drink anything. My mom got some literature and said that L-lysine would help. Yes, and OTC vitamin. I took two 500 mg tabs 2 times a day and inside of a month it was gone. Doctors didn't know anything or helped.

Comment from: long time sufferer, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 12

Research the 'ratio of lysine to arginine in certain foods', arginine makes cold sores grow while lysine helps suppress them. I now eat food with more lysine than arginine, but limit my intake of beer, cereal, peas, raisins, nuts and chocolate since they contain a lot of arginine. I also suffered from cold sores for years, every month with my period and never in the same place, and sometimes 2 at a time! Since menopause and being careful what I eat, I get only one or two a year, but now they also appear between my nose and lip, or to the right of my chin. I prefer these places because I can hide it with a Band-Aid.

Comment from: Sufferer1, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 17

Has anyone ever tried Red Panax ginseng with Echinacea for herpes simplex? I have had cold sores since I was a child. I used to have them one after the other. One would heal and another would be right behind it. When I got married, I started using herbal remedies and chanced on these two. It took a while but I persisted taking these tow herbs every day. The persistent sores gradually disappeared and came less often than all the time. My mother had them all her life. Now I am 60 years old and they appear once a year or two, and very much less severe. I am here today because I have a flair up. My previous incident was March 2013.

Comment from: ColdsoresBeGone, 25-34 (Patient) Published: January 08

I have gotten cold sores as long as I can remember. Lately, they have evolved to breaking out on my skin, not touching my lips at all. I have tried ice, Abreva and every other over the counter drug available in Canada, with no avail. I actually think Abreva makes it worse. Ice does nothing for me - the outbreak moves to a spot that isn't frozen, and ultimately I think it makes it worse in the end too. I have no family doctor, and no health insurance, so I'm really hoping I get a good walk in clinic doctor that can prescribe me Valtrex, and that I can afford it. I've heard really good things about it!

Comment from: soremouth, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 31

I was given a high blood pressure medicine that contained trace amounts of sulfa which I did not know. I am terribly allergic to sulfa. I have suffered from herpes on my lips throughout my life but never terrible and only once in a while. But I took this medicine for 7 days; stupid of me not to equate it with my lips suddenly being covered in sores. Well, I have had the entire inside of my mouth, gums and cheeks with open gooey herpes sores for a year and 3 weeks. I have been taking acyclovir for 3 months with no change. I absolutely cannot take this pain much longer. I've tried everything. Evidently the sulfa triggered an allergic reaction that made my herpes go crazy. I take a sleeping pill as early as is possible so I can get out of this pain. Lidocaine or Anbesol is my only relief.

Comment from: Dorso, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 14

My herpes outbreak is almost always on my lips, several times a year. Although mine is above the belt, I think I caught the first virus from oral sex with my lesbian girlfriend. She denied ever having any symptoms of genital, or oral herpes. She broke off with me permanently when she saw that I had a cold sore on my lip! Some friend!

Comment from: Allen, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 20

I got sick with herpes simplex infection last Friday and had to go to the emergency room with temperature at 102.3 and throat swollen. I couldn't eat much, I was sleeping a lot and sweating a lot. I got two bags of IV and out of nowhere I got canker sores in my mouth, not to mention my gums swelled up too.

Comment from: Dave, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 25

There is a very simple and cheap cure for cold sores. Go to the grocery store and look for powdered alum. It's used for canning fruit and can be found with the spices. If for example you have a cold sore on the inside of your lip, put a pinch of powder directly on the cold sore and keep it there as long as you can stand it. Hold your lip against your gum to trap the alum and keep it on the sore as long as you can. The taste is terrible and it feels like it's burning but it isn't burning, it's drying out the cold sore. Don't swallow during this process although the alum certainly isn't harmful. After a few minutes rinse out your mouth. This is an old Kentucky cure and it works.


Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections) See more pictures of cold sores and other oral health conditions See Images
Comment from: southerngirl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 27

I'm 50 and have suffered with fever blisters/cold sores all my life and have school pictures to prove it. My worst breakout was about 30 years ago when I had to avoid all types of light, inside and out. Famvir and Abreva have helped and hopefully someday a cure or quicker recovery will be found. No one else in my family has ever had them.

Comment from: lindylou, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 27

I have been suffering with the herpes virus now for 20 plus years. It started suddenly and I have never really known why. I never get any warning except for a painful aching arm. I am today experiencing the onset with incredible pain and when I get home I will apply ice as it does appear to help. It usually runs its course for about four weeks in total.

Comment from: Mags, 45-54 Female Published: August 11

I was in my mid twenties when I first felt an itchy spot in the middle of my chin. I had no idea it would turn into a big ugly sore. Since then, I have been getting these things on and off for 25 years. They’re always on my bottom lip or chin or both. There are two main causes. One is the sun, which is just fabulous when you are on vacation. The other one is stress, which is just what you need when you are starting a new job. I notice that I feel a bit run down at the time they occur. If I can zap it with Zovirax as soon as I feel that first little itch, then I can normally contain the severity of the attack.

Comment from: jay, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I have 2 recurring sores or blisters in the same spot on my buttock. It is round and red with 4 little blisters within and about the size of a nickel. It appears quickly (2-3 times a year) and takes a week or two to heal. It is always in the exact same spot, nowhere near genital area but always on the fatty part of the buttock cheek.

Comment from: ochepek, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 08

I get rid of cold sores by applying ice. Take an ice cube and hold it directly on the sore. After a few minutes, the area will go numb. Continue to hold the ice there for 15 minutes or so. Do this 3-4 times a day. The next time you get an outbreak in that area, I’ve found it will be a much less severe and milder outbreak. The virus is very temperature sensitive and will die and not replicate as much. Some people also use hot Listerine packs (gauze soaked with warm Listerine) but you run the risk of burning yourself. Be sure to have a washcloth or towel wrapped around the chunk of ice. This method has worked wonders for me for several years.

Comment from: thistooshallpass, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I have had cold sores since I was about 12 years old. It would always be on my upper lip. But this year, I had the worst ever when my husband was down with chickenpox. Also, the frequency of the cold sores has increased to three times already this year. The worst part is that it’s not just my lip but on my left breast too. I feel so cheated; it’s as if the lips weren’t bad enough!

Published: July 23

I would suffer from cold sores for years, always one week before my period, every month. I would also break out if I was under more stress than usual. I would get all the usual symptoms of burning, itching, and throbbing pain. Also, I would feel like I was coming down with the flu - very tired & achy joints. Sometimes my lymph nodes in my arm pits & under my chin would hurt as well. My doctor put me on Valtrex which worked perfectly for me, stopping the progression of the cold sores in their track, saving me from the blistering & unsightly scabbing. Since I entered menopause, I don't suffer from cold sores or the accompanying symptoms anymore!

Published: July 14

About five days ago, I noticed that my lips were a little swollen and very dry. Since I am in my fifties and never have had herpes, I didn't have any idea what was coming. First the large cold sore on the upper lip, which caused even more swelling. Then the bottom lip. And now I have them all over my face--my left cheek and forehead are completely covered and now they are showing up on my chest and arm--because I probably spread it before I realized what was happening. I look hideous and it burns. I just went on Acyclovir yesterday, so I'm hoping it's not too late to help me.

Published: July 09

I got a single cold sore on my chin almost a year ago. It just wouldn’t go away. I finally went to a doc. who diagnosed it as HSV-1. She gave me Acyclovir which worked wonders! Now I usually apply an acyclovir cream whenever I get a cold sore, which helps it go away. The worst episode I experienced was after a picnic and too much of sun. So advice to all the people out there who have HSV-1. Stay Away From The Sun.


An average adult has about ________ square feet of skin. See Answer
Published: July 01

Three weeks after having the flu, sores on the inside of my mouth, gums and cheeks appeared. I usually only get one at a time, several times a year. They are quite painful now, after coming up about five days ago. Sometimes I find that if I take an amino acid (like L-Lysine) for a few days, it makes them go away faster.

Published: July 01

Two days ago I woke up to small blisters all over my upper lip. I have a couple small ones in the left corner, one on the right corner, and then a large blister-looking sore right in the middle of my upper lip. There is fairly severe burning with all of them. My bottom lip is really chapped and also uncomfortable, but not painful like the upper lip. I used to get impetigo following my cold sores, so I will probably go in today to make sure it hasn't gotten to that stage. Because the sores are not localized in one spot, I'm a bit concerned that something else might be going on. I have never found anything over the counter to help- probably because I tend to wait too long to start treatment.

Published: June 30

I get them in clusters either across my nose and chin. Usually on my chin, but when I get them on my nose it's the worst, I look like Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer and it's unbelievably itchy. It's so embarassing to go out, people always stare. I get at least one a month. I just want them to hurry up and find a good treatment for these things, not creams that you have to apply 6 times a day and only sometimes work. As yet I haven't found any good solution for them.

Published: June 30

I have suffered with fever blisters since childhood. Started getting a flu shot every year and Valtrex and the prescription cream to use as soon as I felt any tingling or sometimes it is just my lips feeling dry or wind burned the day before. But that has helped amazingly to keep from me actually blistering up. Before the flu shots I used to have them move up under and into my nose and sinus area and it was so painful, ugly and I guess dangerous. I rarely get them anymore unless flu serum comes out later than usual..

Published: June 30

Typically I have a coldsore every so often after being in the sun, but it is always in the corners of my mouth, they hurt for a while, but go away after a while. But this is the first time in my life that I have had such a horrible cold sore this one started as an innocent little bump and then a few days later grew like a wildfire and spread like one too. It is in the center of my top lip, it made my entire front lip swollen. I went to the doctor after the next day it spread to underneath my lip. He gave me Valtrex, which I thought worked great cause it was bring down the swelling, but all the little sores that would have popped out are now just tearing up my lip with the skin infected underneath and those little bumps then spread to my bottom lip, so I have a top lip that is swollen, and around my lips looks like an infection or something, and I have the sores on the bottom. They hurt so bad that I can't even talk right now. I’m just wondering if it is ever going to get better? I feel so alone, and ugly and so bad that I haven't left my house in 2 days cause I feel so hideous. Does any one else feel the way I do, or has had as bad of cold sores like this?

Published: June 26

I am currently dealing with a nasty cold sore on the skin between my nose and upper lip. Lately it seems like when one goes away, another one pops up (just gotten over one in the middle of my top lip). I've dealt with these nasty things my whole life, and I'm sick of it! My dentist recommended Zilactin- which works, but turns the sore brown, as if it couldn't get any uglier. I also just filled a prescription for Valtrex- which hadn't met my deductible and cost over $200!! (as if I wasn't already stressed) BUT- I am desperate and so far Valtrex is the only thing that I can consider a cure. The trick is to pop one ASAP once you feel an outbreak. Sometimes an ice pack on the initial tingly area helps too. Does anyone else out there feel like they have a fever when they get an outbreak or is it just me?

Published: June 17

I've had cold sores since I was a kid. As both my parents had them, I'm sure that's the source. I'm susceptible when the seasons change. Otherwise, I have no idea why they show up. I woke up today with three on my upper lip. As the blisters are so large, I think I am hurrying the process by popping the blisters with a sterilized needle. Then with a cotton ball, I press rubbing alcohol for about a half hour thinking I am hastening the drying process. Then I slather it with Abreva. I carefully apply long-lasting lipstick, which covers it but I have bumpy lips anyway. For the rest of the day, I try to really ignore it if I can. Then at night I apply the alcohol and Abreva. I don't know if the Abreva hastens the healing, but it helps with the pain. They can be so painful. I don't know which is worse the pain or the way it looks. Double whammy.

Published: June 17

I had cold sores on my lips for years. I started taking table salt and water in a small cup and heating it in the microwave until it had the consistency of very wet sand. I then put the warm liquid salt on my lip with a q-tip and let it dry into a crust. I repeated this as often as time allowed. I found that if I put it on at first tingle, then the sore never fully came up. I haven't had a visible cold sore in eight years.


Cold Sores Causes, Remedies, & Diagnosis See Slideshow
Published: June 11

I've had fever blisters since I was six, and for the most part, they usually pop up right before my period or if I have gotten too much sun. I hate them, they are unsightly and when they scab over, it’s tough to even eat a sandwich without grossing out everyone

Published: June 11

I’ve woken up with a huge fat lip today, I’m sick of cold sores I don’t know about anyone else but my self esteem just disappears and all I want to do is just hide away! I’m trying to find an effective quick way to bring down the swelling as I look like I’ve gone 10 rounds in a boxing match. I’m so confused by all these miracle treatments which say they can get rid of the awful things in 24 hours and daft enough to pay.

Published: June 09

I have been getting cold sores for the last 15 years. It's so uncomfortable and embarrassed people look at you like you have STD.

Published: May 29

I have been getting cold sores on my lips for the past five or six years. I get them about three times a year, usually when the weather is changing. Otherwise I get them from too much sun exposure or even as an alternative of a cold. Either way, they are big and very hard to cover up. They take about a week to go away, and I have found that the best medication is Abreva.

Published: July 29

I have suffered with cold sores my entire life and only when I get a bad cold. Always starts in the same place, right under my right nostril toward my top lip. This time, however, it is gross and lasting longer than it ever did before. I put concealer on so I can go out and not have people stare. I'm on my second week. My mom always got them, so I guess I got it from her. None of my children ever had them, thank goodness. Abreva does not work and I use it immediately when I feel the tingle.

Published: July 28

I just recently developed what I called a cold sore, but my clinical instructor told me that it is a form of herpes which from this webpage seems to be true. In my days from working in the ER, when someone came in and was diagnosed with Herpes it was referred to as "a friend for life". Is that what I have? Did I get this from sex?

Published: July 28

Very painful and embarrassing. I have the HSV type 1 and I get it on my lips. When I get it I try to go nowhere. Just stay home, relax and treat it with cloth or cotton soaked in warm coconut oil. It helps me relieve the pain a bit.

Published: July 08

I never had cold sores until a month ago, and so far, in less than 30 days, I have had an outbreak three times. At first, I just thought that I had bit my tongue, but now my tongue is huge. It hurts to drink anything that is extremely cold. It has also spread to one of my cheeks and my gums have a purple tint to them.