What Are Cold Sore Symptoms
Around 50 to 80% of persons with HSV-1 experience a prodrome (symptoms of an outbreak) of pain, burning, itching, or tingling at the site where blisters will form. This prodrome stage may last anywhere from a few hours to one to two days. The HSV-1 infection prodrome occurs in both the primary infection and recurrent infections.
In 95% of the patients with cold sores, the blisters occur at the outer edge of the lips which is called the vermilion border. Less often, blisters form on the nose, chin, or cheek. Following the prodrome, the disease process is rapid. First, small red bumps appear that quickly form fluid-filled blisters. The painful blisters may either burst and form a scab or dry up and form a scab. Within two days of the first red bumps, all the blisters have formed scabs. The skin heals completely and without scarring within six to ten days.