Having a cold sore can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment. However, having a blister that will not heal quickly, perhaps for as long as 2 months, can be a source of enormous frustration.
Caused by a host of triggers, some fever blisters can definitely overstay their welcome. While some reasons can be simplistic, others can be highly complex. This is especially true if an infection is the reason why your cold sore has lasted for so long.
Although even the most stubborn cold sores will eventually disappear, some require lifestyle changes and the best medicines for cold sores. This is why it is important to contact your physician if your blister refuses to respond to OTC treatments.
Why Has My Cold Sore Lasted for 1 to 2 Months?
If left untreated, cold sore lifecycle can last for up to two weeks. Five cold sore stages will usually include pain, swelling, burning, stinging, tightness, oozing, crusting, scabbing, and itchiness.
If your cold sore has not disappeared after one month it could indicate some health issue. The more you know about potential pitfalls, the easier it will be to steer clear of long-term issues.
Let’s explore the reasons more closely:
Disturbing Blisters Can Slow Down Healing & Recovery
Although no one deliberately hinders the healing of their cold sore, bad things can happen. Even the slightest trauma can set you back.
Even with a solid treatment, we all fall victim to ourselves every so often. This is especially true if you are naturally fidgety and inquisitive. Touching, rubbing, picking, and stretching your lip can halt the cold sore healing progress. Even touching your blister with your tongue can be problematic.
If your cold sore has lingered more than a couple of weeks, it is possible that this could be the cause. It is also possible that you are the cause and do not even know it.
Although cold sore treatment methods are numerous, they only work on a protected lip. Treatment falls short if your lip and blister are being tampered with on a somewhat routine basis.
- Manipulation of a cold sore can have a negative effect on the healing process.
- Simple and unintentional acts can harm your blister. Just the basic act of rubbing your lips with your finger(s) or tongue can cause a problem. This situation is naturally made worse if you have a habit of “playing” with your lips.
- Treatment will not work to full effectiveness if your lip is compromised. Even HERP-B-GONE cream, for example, will not be able to heal your sore if it is being wiped clean by a fidgety finger.
Infection Can Cause a Cold Sore to Last Longer
An infection can cause a cold sore to overstay its welcome.
Caused by a number of potential issues, lack of proper care, manipulation, and improper hygiene can all lead to infection and further complications of a cold sore outbreak. Although infection can occur at times due to matters beyond your control, that is usually not the case. If you have been treating your sore and using care, infection is not likely to develop.
It is important to note that infection can come from a minor detail. Something very trivial, in fact. Simply touching an active blister with an unclean finger can potentially infect the blister. While slight, touching your lip is certainly within your control.
If you have a cold sore, you are encouraged to use extreme care. This action and mindset will not only heal the sore faster but also save you some potential grief in weeks to come.
If your cold sore has lasted beyond 10-14 days, an infection could be the reason. Consult your physician to receive a true evaluation.
- Infection can be harmful to your existing blister and can impact healing. The setback can potentially last for weeks.
- Infections can be the result of lack of proper care but they can also be the result of honest, yet avoidable, mistakes. Ex: Touching your blister with an unclean finger, etc.
- You are encouraged to consult your physician if you think you have an infection. The cold sore will likely require prescribed medication.
Health & Lifestyle Factors Are Slowing Down Recovery
Could your long-term cold sore be the result of your lifestyle choices and health? If this is your first experience with HSV-1, it is certainly more difficult for a tired and under-the-weather individual to recover.
While the “trigger list” is quite lengthy, listed below are some of the pitfalls:
Although some triggers stick out like a sore thumb, others hide under the radar. Is it possible to be stressed and not be fully aware of the problem? Yes. Is it possible to be fatigued and not realize what it’s doing to you? Yes. The weather would also fall under this category. What you consider normal seasonal conditions could be hindering the cold sore healing process.
Whether you are having your first cold sore or a routine outbreak, it is always important to know the triggers. Even the stress of having a cold sore could be the reason your cold sore is still hanging around.
If you have been under the weather, for example, building up your immune system will expedite your recovery. This will ultimately allow your body to heal your cold sore more effectively.
Did You Have a Severe Cold Sore Outbreak?
So much of the healing process, for better or worse, can depend on the severity of an outbreak. Have you had a cold sore for weeks? Perhaps a cold sore for over a month? The outbreak itself and your ability to recover could be the reason.
There are three vital things to note…
- Severe outbreaks always take longer to heal.
- First-time outbreaks can be quite aggressive. In most cases, an initial cold sore outbreak will be the worst you will ever face.
- Have your cold sores spread? If HSV-1 has been transferred to the mouth and even nose region this episode will take longer to resolve. The greater the coverage area, the longer the recovery. Additionally, severe outbreaks are more prone to infection. Especially outbreaks with a wide coverage area.
Alternative Cold Sore Treatments
Are you currently using an OTC treatment or natural remedy and seeing no results? If so, we have a few suggestions that could potentially reduce your cold sore healing time.
Having a cold sore for weeks and potentially months is beyond annoying. Thankfully, the demand for treatments is bigger than ever. More competition means more products for you to try. And remember, all it takes is one quality product to eliminate your fever blister nightmare.
Let’s touch on just a few:
- Carmex – This brand has been on the market almost 80 years. Carmex Cold Sore Treatment can reduce pain as well as minimize itch. Carmex also claims to provide immediate relief.
- Abreva – Quickly moving to the top of the OTC line, Abreva cream is a worthy selection. Designed to penetrate the skin to the source of the virus, Abreva blocks HSV-1. This shield can separate infected cells from healthy skin. It is said that Abreva can heal cold sores in 72 hours.
- Campho-Phenique – Not to be confused with traditional liquid Campho-Phenique, this famed brand is now offering a cold sore ointment. Similar in many ways to Abreva, Campho-Phenique can heal cold sores fast.
- Lysine – Super Lysine Plus is a highly touted ointment that can help healing cold sores. With the claim of cutting overall healing time in half, Super Lysine is a clear application that can soothe the infected area.
As it relates to a more technologically advanced method, the Virulite Electronic Cold Sore Treatment is available. FDA approved, the Virulite only has to be used three times per day for two days. Additionally, courtesy of light technology, your lip will remain free of cream or gel.
The market is endless, and it is designed to help you win. If you are currently unsatisfied with your treatment method, consider making a switch. As with any treatment, it truly is different strokes for different folks. We encourage you to shop around and find the best cold sore healer for you.
Long-Lasting Cold Sores Do Heal on Their Own
While it is most certainly easier said than done, the final takeaway is likely patience. When all else fails, it is important to trust the healing process, even if that process takes much longer than you would like.
It is also important to avoid manipulation and pay attention to your overall health. Are you accidentally sabotaging your own healing? It is certainly possible. Have you left the door open to infection? These are all important things to consider and address.
Finally, never give up on medicine. Just because your current treatment is falling flat does not mean the next one will too. All cold sores heal eventually. They are not perpetual. It is only a matter of time before you find the right treatment for your unique situation. If your cold sore still does not heal despite all the mentioned measures taken, we strongly recommend you to visit your GP and check if your immunity system is strong and healthy as it should be.
- Boivin G, Malette B, Goyette N. Disseminated herpes simplex virus type 1 primary infection in a healthy individual. The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology. 2009;20(4):122-125.