Dr. Gloria Mendizabal-Piedra MD

(305) 823-2433

3986 W. 16 Avenue | Hialeah, FL 33012

Cold Sore Versus Canker Sore: How to Get Rid Of Them

Cold Sore Versus Canker Sore

Cold sores and canker sores are not the same, but they do have very similar symptoms, triggers, and treatments. In order to find quick relief, you must be educated on the differences between the two conditions. Looking at the health of your mouth gives you a window into the health of your immune system. If things are acting up, you need to know why.

Here is everything you need to know on cold sore vs. canker sore and how to get rid of the pesky and painful bumps.

What Are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are small fluid-filled blisters, usually occurring in clusters, will eventually break open and form a crusty substance. Cold sores are most prevalent on the nose, especially the lips, and around the mouth.

Cold sores symptoms include a tingling sensation on the area before the cold sore surfaces in about one to two days. Once the sore breaks open, it’ll ooze a clear colored liquid and then crust over. Cold sores can take anywhere from two to four weeks to completely heal, leaving you feeling insecure everytime someone is looking at your face.

Cold sore stages and development:

  • Tingling, itching, burning sensation on an area of the skin
  • Blisters that can occur singly or in clusters
  • Oozing, crusting, and scabbing of the sore

Causes of Cold Sores

A cold sore is caused by a virus that is spread through the sharing of cups, utensils, kisses, and even touch. A very common question is, “are cold sores herpes?” The simple answer is yes. Cold sores are caused by the HSV type 1 and HSV type 2 viruses, usually by the latter. Most people have the HSV-1 virus and is commonly contracted during childhood.

Triggers of cold sores:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Colds
  • Allergies
  • Harsh wind
  • Menstruation
  • Sunburns

How Can I Get Rid of a Cold Sore?

Cold sores heal on their own within a few weeks, but the tiny bumps can be extremely tender and painful. Here are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process and reduce your pain:

  • Get a prescription cream from your doctor. These creams can be reapplied every two hours for a few days. They reduce pain and work to break down the virus, killing the cause of the core.
  • Laser treatment can be effective in preventing cold sores altogether.
  • Over the counter medication can also help with getting rid of cold sores. The cream attacks the sore at the site, killing the viral infection, reducing pain, and eliminating the bump.
  • Ice can provide some temporary solace. If you need some relief and also want to bring down the inflammation, ice can help.
  • Keep your hands clean and avoid touching the sore.
  • Avoid sharing personal items (utensils, cups, razors, towels, lip balm, etc.)

What Are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are painful lesions that form on the soft tissues of your mouth or on your gums. Canker sores, unlike cold sores, don’t usually appear on the outside of the mouth. It takes about one to two weeks for a canker sore to heal. They are shaped like a tiny circle with a white or yellow middle and a red border. Canker sores often form under the tongue, inside the cheek or lip, and on the gums.

Canker sores are flat-out annoying and painful. It makes everyday tasks, like eating, drinking, and talking a hassle. There are three types of canker sores, the minor, major, and herpetiform. The major canker sore is much like the minor, but it’s larger, more painful, and takes longer to heal. The herpetiform, which is not a herpes virus, is a cluster of 10 to 100 canker sores. These canker sores usually develop later on in life but are quite rare. The minor canker sore is the most common.

How Do You Get Canker Sores?

Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not a virus and that root cause is unclear. Typically, canker sores can be caused by a few factors:

  • An injury in the mouth (like a cheek bite)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is in some oral hygiene products
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Food sensitivities
  • A deficiency in zinc, folate, iron, or Vitamin B-12

How To Get Rid of Canker Sores

There are many canker sores remedies and ways to prevent them from occurring. Unlike a cold sore, it’s more difficult to know when one is coming. Here’s how you can prevent and heal a cold sore:

  • Avoid foods that trigger the sores. Sometimes sweets or certain spices will cause a canker sore so pay close attention to what you’ve eaten when you see one popping up.
  • Keep your mouth clean. Oral hygiene is the keys to preventing all kinds of mouth sores and issues. Brush at least twice a day and be adamant about flossing each day as well.
  • If you’re exhausted, canker sores can pop up as a sign of sleep deprivation. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep!
  • A salt water rinse for canker sores is great for drying out the affected area and also brings down inflammation.
  • Over the counter oral gels are also available for the sores and will provide numbing relief. If you’re constantly getting canker sores, visit a doctor.

Cold sores and canker sores have very similar symptoms but very different causes. Now that you know which types of sore are affecting you, you can easily treat and remedy it. If you need to see a doctor, request an appointment with GMP Medical for pristine family service. We’re here to help.


May 28, 2018 3:23 pm
Categories: Family Health