Skip to content

    Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

    Cold sores Directory

    Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are a painful infection usually caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, which can be transmitted through kissing or sharing utensils, towels, or razors with somebody who is infected. The sores may show up anywhere on the body, but typically appear on the gums, the outside of the mouth and lips, the nose, cheeks, or fingers. The sores usually last seven to 10 days and are contagious. There is no cure for cold sores, but the pain can be alleviated by avoiding spicy or acidic foods, applying ice, and using over-the-counter numbing remedies. Antiviral drugs may also be used to treat cold sores. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how cold sores are contracted, how they are diagnosed, how they are treated, and much more.

    Medical Reference

    Features

    Thumbnail: Minor Athlete Infections and Other Annoyances: How to Prevent and Treat Them

    Herpes, athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, impetigo, swimmer’s hair, and more — find out how to prevent and treat minor athlete infections.

    Read Full Article

    Slideshows & Images

    Quizzes

    News Archive

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    baby bath
    A good one helps halt eczema flares
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.