Difference Between Fever Blister and Cold Sore

Infectious diseases caused by viruses are not uncommon. Some of the most common infectious diseases include common cold, chickenpox, and flu, etc.

While most of such diseases are not as severe, they have common symptoms. Two such infections are fever blister and cold sore. While the two are mostly similar, they have a slight differentiating factor.

Fever Blister vs Cold Sore

The main difference between a fever blister and a cold sore is that a fever blister can be caused by both HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses whereas a cold sore is majorly caused by the HSV-1 virus. The two terms are often interchangeably used as there is only a slight difference between the two.

Fever Blister vs Cold Sore

Fever Blister is a skin infection caused by viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV stands for Herpes Simplex Virus, the two forms of which are the major cause of fever blister.

The infection results in tiny and painful blisters around the lips and on the mouth. The infection mostly occurs in groups, which makes the condition likely to spread to other areas of the skin.

Cold Sore is a skin infection caused by HSV-1. HSV stands for Herpes Simplex Virus, one form of which is the major cause of the cold sore. The infection results in red and swollen wounds around the lips and mouth.

The infection mostly occurs in groups by HSV-1, but can also be accompanied by HSV-2. In such a case, the infection develops into a fever blister.

Comparison Table Between Fever Blister and Cold Sore

Parameters of ComparisonFever BlisterCold Sore
VirusIt is caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2.It is caused by HSV-1.
CausesStress, cold, allergies, etc.Food choices, Allergies, etc.
SymptomsTiny, painful blisters.Red and swollen wounds around the mouth.
TypeIt is a chronic condition.It is acute.
RemediesL-lysine, Zinc therapy.Applying alcohol, Ice for compression, etc.

What is Fever Blister?

Fever Blister is a skin infection caused by viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV stands for Herpes Simplex Virus, the two forms of which are the major cause of fever blister.

The infection results in tiny and painful blisters around the lips and on the mouth. The infection mostly occurs in groups, which makes the condition likely to spread to other areas of the skin.

After a few days of infection, clear fluid or pus is released from the area which includes the two viruses. After the fluid is released, scabs are formed on the affected area.

During this stage, fever blisters are the most contagious as the virus is likely to spread. After the scab is formed, it seems that the infection is healing. However, the already spread viruses can continue to be contagious, which results in further complications.

In the early stages, fever blister seems like a cold sore as the symptoms are mostly the same. Fever blister can only be identified in its later stages as the virus causing the two conditions is the same.

Therefore, it is necessary to get the condition medically checked. The treatment includes drug-based medicines such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir, etc.

What is Cold Sore?

Cold Sore is a skin infection caused by HSV-1. HSV stands for Herpes Simplex Virus, one form of which is the major cause of the cold sore. The infection results in red and swollen wounds around the lips and mouth.

The infection mostly occurs in groups by HSV-1, but can also be accompanied by HSV-2. In such a case, the infection develops into a fever blister.

After a few days of infection, the area itself starts to heal and sometimes it releases a clear fluid or pus which includes the virus. HSV-1 itself is not as contagious as when it is accompanied by HSV-2.

In the early stages, it is unknown if both viruses are present or not. When the infection starts to spread, or the symptoms get worse, it is a sign of both the viruses being present.

A few home remedies can provide relief from symptoms and pain such as ice compression, applying small amounts of alcohol, and cream painkillers, etc.

If home remedies don’t work or the infection starts to spread to other areas of the skin, then the infection must be diagnosed immediately. In such a case, a fever blister can be the infection.

Main Differences Between Fever Blister and Cold Sore

  1. Fever blister is caused by both HSV-1 and HSV-2 whereas cold sore is caused by HSV-1.
  2. Fever blister is a chronic condition whereas cold sore is an acute condition.
  3. The symptoms of fever blister are more painful and visible whereas the symptoms of a cold sore are intermediate and less visible.
  4. Fever blister can lead to other complications as infection can spread to other areas of the skin. On the other hand, a cold sore itself is not anything complicated.
  5. Fever blisters need to be professionally treated whereas cold sores can be healed with home remedies.
Difference Between Fever Blister and Cold Sore

Conclusion

Fever blister and cold sore are two terms that are interchangeably used with each other. Not only in general reference, but even in medical studies, the two are mostly similar.

Both the infections are caused by HSV viruses. While fever blister is caused by both HSV-1 and HSV-2, a cold sore is caused by HSV-1.

In most cases, the infection caused by a cold sore later develops into a fever blister. This is because the two viruses always co-exist side by side. Each of these individual viruses can regenerate the other virus.

Even if someone is affected by only HSV-1, the virus develops HSV-2 alongside, thus causing fever blister as well. Due to this, it cannot be identified if the patient has been affected by one or both viruses.

Practically, there is no differentiating factor that can separate the two infections. In one way or the other, the condition is likely to get worse if not medically diagnosed.

Therefore, it becomes necessary to not ignore the symptoms of both fever blister and cold sore. A hygienic environment, balanced diet, healthy and stress-free lifestyle, etc., are a few of the precautions that help prevent such infectious diseases.

References

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/500659
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/hgv201424?proof\u003dtrue
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