Understanding Cold Sores -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on September 15, 2023
1 min read

The symptoms of cold sores include:

  • Fluid-filled blisters or red, painful, burning, or itching sores that are typically on or near the mouth, or on fingers
  • Swollen, sensitive gums of a deep red color
  • A fever, flu-like symptoms, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck often accompany the first attack; recurrent sores usually don't produce these symptoms.
  • Tingling and itching in the area of a previous outbreak

  • You develop a high fever or chills; high fevers can be dangerous.
  • Your sores are very painful; you may be able to get prescription relief.
  • Your cold sores start to spread; antiviral agents may be needed.