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Do I Have a Cold Sore, Blister, or Chapped Lips?

How can you tell the difference between a cold sore and simple chapped lips? It's important to know before you risk the chance of possibly spreading cold sores to those around you.

Do I Have a Cold Sore or Chapped Lips

In This Article:

  • Cold sores are formed by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and can be caused by stress, fatigue, illness, allergies, hormonal fluctuations, food allergies and sun or cold exposure. Roughly 90% of people get a cold sore at some point in their lives.
  • Chapped lips, which are often confused with cold sores, are usually caused by winter dryness and can lead to extreme peeling, irritation, pain, cracked lips and bleeding.
  • To treat chapped lips, apply lip balm, stay hydrated and wait it out. There is no cure for HSV, but you can shorten the life of a cold sore with ice and over-the-counter medications like Abreva. Keep your lips to yourself when you have a cold sore to avoid spreading the virus.

Quick Tip Now

The Arizona sunshine and dry heat can make your chapped lips even worse. Learn how to protect them with these summer skin care tips.

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