How is Cold Sore Diagnosed?

By Jomvie

Man covering his cold soreHow is cold sore diagnosed? Herpes simplex virus is the one responsible for cold sore or fever blister breakout. However, some people do not know that they are a carrier of the said virus or simply they just don’t have the slightest idea that it’s harboring inside their body and either it can spread or infect others at any time once it’s triggered.

Herpes simplex virus has two types: HSV1 and HSV2. These two types of viruses cause breakouts around your mouth and genitals.

You might want to ask, “How will I know that I am a carrier of herpes simplex virus or how will I know that I am infected with herpes virus?”

Honestly, you’ll never know until it’s out on the surface of your body and for all you know, you’re already feeling that tingling or burning pain at a particular part of your body.

But, if you are in doubt prior to cold sore breakout or at an active cold sore breakout, you can have it confirmed if you will take a visit to your doctor. Your doctor will take your medical history:

  • Ask questions if you come in contact with the virus
  • Examines the appearance of sore or blister
  • Recent injuries or illnesses
  • Medicines you are currently taking

These are just basis for your treatment. Actually, some doctors will just look at your blisters and have you prescribed a particular medicine such as antibacterial drugs. But, if you are still in doubt, there are other ways of confirming herpes simplex virus:

  • Viral culture – taking a fluid from your cold sore blister using a cotton swab. To get an accurate result, this is best taken when blisters have clear fluid.
  • Tzanck test – Scraping a small amount of lesions into a glass slide and examined under a microscope.
  • Blood test – this is to detect presence of antibodies in your blood that fights off HSV infections. This is best taken prior to infection or sores.

Remember there are two types of people with/without herpes simplex virus:

1. People who have the virus but never get cold sores or symptoms.

2. People who have active cold sore breakout but do not know that it is contagious.

The soonest you know whether you are a carrier or just got infected by the virus, the higher of possibility of preventing its signs and symptoms to become more severe; thus the soonest you will know to isolate yourself from others to avoid infection and not get infected.

Last Updated: December 20, 2013


This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information here is not advice, and should not be treated as such. This website is not to be used as an alternative to a doctor or other healthcare professional. You should never delay in seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment based on this information.