If your fever blisters aren’t healing and are accompanied by severe pain, you should consult your physician. Although almost all cold sores heal within 2 weeks, some blisters just won’t go away on their own. Additionally, serious outbreaks can lead to other health concerns.

Another reason to consult your physician is for peace of mind. If you are in the midst of a primary cold sore outbreak, you likely have many questions. People are often surprised by the impact that the condition has on different parts of their body.

A doctor can help to speed up the process courtesy of more aggressive medications. It is also possible, following an evaluation, that your physician recommends you to a specialist. This form of care is vital if a cold sore complication or infection has been diagnosed.

Understanding when to see a doctor and what to expect upon arrival is essential. You will find out if your fever blister is in need of professional medical care or if it’s just part of the natural recovery process.

Will a Cold Sore Go Away on Its Own?

If left unattended, a cold sore will heal naturally in roughly 10 to 14 days. While this timeframe will vary depending on the severity of the outbreak, fever blisters do heal naturally without medical assistance.

  • Important: Avoid touching your sores. Excessive rubbing, poking, pulling, etc., can only cause harm, and this includes bursting a cold sore with a needle. Although prolonging the natural healing time is one outcome, manipulation can also introduce infection.

If you decide not to treat your cold sore, your best solution is to let the blister run its natural course. If you want to heal in as little as 72 hours, HERP-B-GONE has been proven to be beneficial.

Cold sores form and diminish in accordance with various life cycle stages. Maintaining a “hands-off” approach is the best way to ensure proper healing and the elimination of more complex issues.[1]

What If My Cold Sore Really Hurts?

Even if your cold sore is running its natural course (with or without treatment) the pain of the blister can be quite severe. If you are in the midst of your first outbreak or an extensive and multi-blister episode, the pain can be intense.

Although most lip and mouth pain associated with cold sores is short-lived, there are steps you can if your pain is just relentless.

While applying an FDA approved treatment cream such as Abreva is wise, other options are on the table. This is especially true if your pain is consistent even with the use of a proven cold sore healer.

Consulting your physician would be the most logical option. Your doctor can take a look at not only your blisters but the coverage area. If the outbreak is aggressive, your physician can prescribe a more potent ointment, cream, or tablet.

Additionally, a cortisone injection could be introduced during your visit. This would provide fast pain relief and rapid healing. Speeding up the lifecycle of the sore is the ultimate goal. Once that is achieved, the pain will naturally subside.

To recap…

  • While some cold sores are just naturally painful, extreme pain is typically the sign of an aggressive outbreak or potential infection.
  • If you are actively using an FDA approved treatment and still finding no relief this should be a red flag.
  • Consult your physician if your pain shows no signs of weakening. Giving your physician a firsthand look at your blister coverage area will lead to proper treatment implementations. An aggressive topical cream or cortisone shot can be administered to calm the symptoms.

Should I See a Doctor? 

Although extreme pain is enough to consult your physician, pre-existing conditions and major cold sore complications can require urgent medical assistance. Although rare, some cold sore complications can have a dire outcome.[2]

Individuals who have been afflicted with conditions that compromise immune health are most at risk. Any issue that diverts the immune system from keeping HSV-1 at bay is problematic. The result is severe recurring outbreaks with aggressive symptoms and lack of healing.

Some of these notable issues include the following:

While the factors and issues noted above are wide-ranging, the impact they have on your immune system is the common link. This is why cold sores are so problematic if you have a chronic immune deficiency condition.

On the flipside, this is proof that the foundation of positive healing is also found in the immune system. Your general state of physical wellness plays a massive role when it comes to how major or minor your fever blister episodes will be.

If you suffer from immune system depletion, regardless of the reason, you are encouraged to seek medical care if you have a cold sore outbreak. More aggressive treatment will likely be required in order give your body the extra lift that it is unable to provide naturally. You can also boost your immunity with Herp Rescue.

What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Cold Sores? 

While consulting with your general primary care physician should be your first step, a specialty doctor can also help. Many times, after physician recommendation, your doctor will encourage you to visit a specialist for an evaluation and treatment.

Your physician will likely advise you to see a dermatologist. Any form of “cold sore specialist” can help you if you are in the midst of a severe outbreak. Because dermatologists diagnose and treat a host of skin concerns, fever blisters would fall under that category.

To summarize…

  • Although your primary care physician will likely be able to cater to most of your needs, specialty physicians can also help. Depending on your situation your doctor could recommend you to a dermatologist.

Will an Infected Cold Sore Be Treated Differently?

Much will depend on the extent of the infection and if any viral spreading has taken place. Most of the time cold sore infections can still be treated with an effective OTC medication. Although the healing time will likely take longer, the medication is usually the same.

What can doctors do about cold sores?

If you decide to consult your doctor about your situation, this will naturally open a new door. Once your infection has been diagnosed there is the potential for stronger medication to be introduced. Typically it will be prescription based.

To summarize:

  • Infected cold sores need to be medically treated differently from person to person. While most infected sores can still be treated with an OTC treatment, so much depends on the individual.

Can a Doctor Heal Cold Sores That Won’t Go Away?

If you decide to seek professional treatment for your cold sores your healing time will be quite rapid. Unless the underlying condition is found that introduces new issues, standard healing will be faster in the care of a physician.

The main reason that a physician can heal cold sores that seemingly will not go away is simple access. While healing measures are quite extensive, the general public does not receive it all. There are certain creams, gels, injections, and oral medications that a doctor can introduce that you cannot purchase off the shelf.

While seeking treatment from your physician is not very common, some fever blisters are stubborn. Visiting your doctor, especially during your initial outbreak, can grant you peace of mind.

To recap:

  • Physicians have more tools at their disposal. That is the main reason while healing is faster when you are in their care.
  • The introduction of oral medications, as well as topical creams and injections, are common.

What Can Doctors Prescribe for Cold Sores?

Your primary care physician or recommended dermatologist has many medical options. This is due in no small measure because different people respond in different ways. Some meds are not only more effective, but some cannot be administered to some individuals due to allergic consequences.

Listed below are just a few prescription options that are available for treating cold sores:

  • Acyclovir (Oral Antiviral)
  • Valtrex (Oral Antiviral)
  • Valacyclovir (Oral Antiviral)
  • Zovirax (Oral Antiviral)
  • Denavir (Topical Ointment)

Serious Cold Sores Require Medical Care

While it is never wise to have a knee-jerk reaction and rush to the doctor or hospital when you have a cold sore, medical care is essential under certain circumstances. Although the vast majority of cold sores heal without issue, even faster with a quality OTC, some will not.

A certain amount of pain comes with the territory. In full disclosure, it just means that you are normal. It is only when healing does not occur, or the sore continues to get worse (even with treatment) that you need to be concerned.

Once you familiarize yourself with HSV-1 and cold sore development, you will know the signs that require a doctor visit. Taking cues from your body will typically lead you down the right path.


  1. Foti C, Romita P, Mascia P, Miragliotta G, Calvario A. Atypical Herpetic Whitlow: A Diagnosis to Consider. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2017;17(1):3-4. doi: 10.2174/1871530316666170331164749.
  2. Park EP, Boulmay BC. Images in clinical medicine. Herpes labialis and facial-nerve paralysis. N Engl J Med. 2014 Mar 13;370(11):1048. doi: 10.1056/NEJMicm1305786.
  3. Oyedeji OA, Gbolahan OO, Abe EO, Agelebe E. Oral and dental lesions in HIV infected Nigerian children. The Pan African Medical Journal. 2015;20:287. doi:10.11604/pamj.2015.20.287.5273.
  4. Mancini M, Vidal SM. Insights into the pathogenesis of herpes simplex encephalitis from mouse models. Mammalian Genome. 2018;29(7):425-445. doi:10.1007/s00335-018-9772-5.