Believe it or not, a cold sore usually goes through five stages in its 8 to 10-day course. Sometimes, it can even persist up to two weeks. According to experts, over-the-counter medications for cold sore are basically the comfort treatment for the stages of cold sore. Some have numbing agents which will reduce the pain to a great extent. Some medications for the cold sore have anti-bacterial agents so that secondary infections can be prevented. However, none of these remedies bought in stores can really shorten the life-span of the stages of cold sore. Although, medical science has been working anxiously to find the cure for the herpes virus, any real success for the development of an effective remedy of cold sore is not yet available.
In essence, both the oral versions and the topical salves of prescription anti-virals have been a miserable disappointment. Though vaccines are being tested, they are still three to four years behind. Yet, new breakthroughs may be approaching.
Day one to two: The Tingle stage. [The Prodrome Stage]. More often than not, the first symptom indicating that a person has a cold sore is being able to observe a sense of soreness, tightness or inflammation in the area where the cold sore will eventually form. Every now and then, this same site will become somewhat reddened.
Day two to three: The Blister stage. The first immediate visible sign of the formation of cold sore is an outbreak of blisters which are filled with fluid. Typically, these blisters are extremely tiny in size and even smaller in diameter when compared to the thickness of a dime. They also form in clusters which are not bigger than the approximate size of a nickel. There are times when distinctive blisters combine with others so that a single larger blister can be formed.
Day four: The Weeping stage. [The Ulcer Stage].Blisters of cold sore usually rupture soon after they are formed. They leave a shallow ulceration in red color in which the surface becomes gray. This phase of the formation of cold sore is considered to be its most painful stage. Also, this is the stage in which the cold sore is generally infectious.
Days five to eight: The Crusting stage. In areas where the cold sore lesion does not retain its moisture from the mouth, the ulcer will turn out to be dry and there will scab on top of it with a crust in brown color. The formation of this scabbing is frequently accompanied with burning or itching sensation. Oftentimes, the scab can break or crack and as a result, will generate bleeding.
Days nine to twelve: The Final Healing Stage. As time moves forward, the healing of cold sore will also progress. Typically, a chain of scabs will form on the lesion as each one of them flakes off subsequently. Every new scab will be tinier than the previous one until such time that the cold sore will completely resolve itself often with no scarring.