Knowing your personal cold sore symptoms and being sensitive to them is an essential part of reducing the severity – or completely eliminating – cold sore symptoms from your life.

Let me explain.

Cold sore symptoms are caused by the replication process of the herpes simplex virus. 89% of people worldwide have this virus in their body, so it is quite universal. 67% of those folks will experience cold sore symptoms at least once – most often 2 or more times – in the next 12 months.

There are NO cold sore symptoms when the herpes virus is latent (sleeping) within your nerve cells. If they wake up due to some physical stress like flu, colds, or mental stress – then the cold sore symptoms start. And it’s like a “domino effect” – from one symptom to the next.

The first of the cold sore symptoms many call the itching stage. The cold sore target area will starts to feel uncomfortable. Itching, dryness, tingling, or burning sensations are common. When you start feeling these cold sore symptoms – beware! You are only a day or two away from more severe cold sore symptoms.

The itching stage, without a doubt, is the most important of all cold sore symptoms. Treating this phase of your cold sore symptoms immediately and correctly is the secret to being cold sore free for life.

To prevent further cold sore symptoms, or at least reduce their impact, try applying ice. Herpes virus hates cold. Applying ice during this phase sends the virus back to the latent stage for many people.

I prefer ice because it’s readily available almost anywhere you are, it works very well and is basically free. Any cold object, like a can of soda, will help. The important thing is – the quicker you do this, the less likely you will have to suffer further cold sore symptoms. If nothing else, your cold sore symptoms will be a lot less severe.

Pain relievers and fever reducers like aspirin are often used with much success during most of the symptoms. Some over-the-counter treatments contain numbing agents will help also.

If you miss treating this symptom, then the other cold sore symptoms start dropping like domino – fast and furious.

The next of the cold sore symptoms is the inflammation phase. Hard red bumps appear and some pain is apparent. Swelling of the cold sore area develops. You may notice swelling of the lymph glands under the jaw, tiredness, headaches, possibly a slight fever – basically flu or cold like symptoms.

The red bumps burst and merge causing an open, weeping sore. This is a quite painful time. Your nose may run, headaches are common. The fluid is teaming with new viruses and this is by far the most contagious period.

Use caution. A secondary bacterial infection here could greatly extend and complicate your cold sore symptoms.

Within a couple of days a yellowish crust forms over the sore. Still very painful to the touch. Also, the crust often cracks, as when you smile, and that’s a major cause of pain in this phase of cold sore symptoms.

You still may have headaches and feel feverish. Swollen lymph glands start to reduce. The skin is healing under the crust so there will be itching and general discomfort yet during this phase of your cold sore symptoms.

Within a few days, maybe a week, the scab falls off. New skin covers the wound. Healing is still taking place under the new skin, producing a red spot for most people. This redness can last from 1-3 weeks. Itching and irritation is still a problem.

Your lymph glands should be greatly reduced by now, but still noticeable. The feverish feeling and headaches should be about gone.

One final note on cold sore symptoms.

During the red spot period, the cold sore symptoms could start all over again quite easily – not unlike getting a head cold back right away.

The key to reducing or eliminating cold sore events in your life is early detection and active treatment of your cold sore symptoms.