Cold Sore Myths

By WhittyIdeas

We occasionally hear assumptions and myths on the nature of a cold sore. In this infographic, we show you what is a fact or false to the 8 most cold sore myths.

Cold Sore Myths

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Myth 1: Cold sores are only contagious when you can see a blister.
Fact: Cold sores are contagious from the first tingle until it’s completely healed.

Myth 2: The cold sore virus (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, HSV-1) cannot spread beyond the lip area.
False: HSV-1 affects the lips or mouth, but can spread to the eyes or genitals.

Myth 3: Everyone who contracts the cold sore virus will experience an outbreak.
False: 90% of adults may have been infected by the cold sore virus but not everyone gets cold sore outbreaks. Only 20%-40% of people will experience cold sores.

Myth 4: Ingredients like camphor, menthol and phenol cannot heal a cold sore.
Fact: Though these common lip balm and ointment ingredients can soothe or moisturize your cold sore, they’re not clinically proven to heal it.

Myth 5: Ice helps cold sores heal faster.
False: Ice temporarily relieves symptoms and help reduce redness and swelling but doesnt speed up healing process.

Myth 6: Distilled vinegar prevents cold sore outbreaks.
False: Vinegar helps with many things but preventing cold sore outbreaks is not one of them.

Myth 7: Alcohol or witch hazel kills the viruses in cold sores.
False: Alcohol and witch hazel are astringents that dries out your cold sore. Not clinically proven to speed the healing of a cold sore.

Myth 8: Tea bags heal cold sores.
False: They will not make your cold sore go away faster.

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Last Updated: June 5, 2014


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