Has this ever happened to you? A day or two before an important event, a cold sore appears on your chin and you don’t have a fast remedy or effective cover up. It’s an annoying, sometimes infuriating, set of circumstances.
If you have a cold sore (also called a fever blister) on your chin, chances are that you’re carrying the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). The virus isn’t life-threatening, but your cold sore can make you feel uncomfortable.
Learning more about cold sores can help you address this potentially embarrassing situation. With proper care, the cold sore on your chin should go away within a couple of weeks.
Cold sores are small blemishes that are a symptom of the HSV-1. Carriers of HSV-1 are very common. John Hopkins Medicine states that roughly 50 to 80 percent of adults in the United States have oral herpes.
If you have it, it’s likely that you contracted it as a child. However, you may never show symptoms.
Some people get frequent cold sores, while others carrying HSV-1 never get one.
Cold sores are a viral infection. They make an appearance on your face, mostly around the mouth. They begin as fluid-filled blisters that can be mistaken for a pimple. After the blister bursts, it scabs over.
Prior to your cold sore being visible, you may experience warning signs that a cold sore is about to appear on your chin. Your chin and lip area may feel itchy or tingly.
After the blister appears, you might experience discomfort when moving the area where the blister is located. If the blister is on your chin, you may experience pain when moving your mouth, chewing, or resting your chin on your hands.
Sometimes, you can experience coldlike symptoms along with a cold sore including:
Cold sores are primarily caused by the presence of HSV-1 within your body. The virus can be triggered into recurrence by:
- additional viral infections
- lack of sleep
- hormonal changes
- irritation to the face
Once you have had a cold sore on your chin, it’s highly likely that you’ll have more on your chin. The virus lives in the nerves in your skin and is more likely to occur where it’s already been.
Cold sores may go away on their own in a few weeks if you refrain from picking at or further irritating them.
If you suffer from frequent cold sores, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine to help you prevent or shorten the lifespan of the fever blister on your chin.
There are a number options for at-home care of a cold sore. including:
- applying ice or heat to the blister with a clean cloth
- avoiding food that may irritate the sore if they come into contact
- taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- applying over-the-counter cold sore–relief creams containing docosanol (Abreva)
If the cold sore on your chin is unbearable painful or irritating, your doctor might prescribe an anesthetic gel for pain relief.
To encourage healing and limit the chances for recurrence, your doctor might prescribe an antiviral medication such as:
- acyclovir (Zovirax)
- penciclovir (Denavir)
- valacyclovir (Valtrex)
Cold sores are very contagious. If you have a cold sore, you should refrain from kissing or sharing towels, razors, or utensils with other people.
Don’t touch your eyes after touching your cold sore. Getting the HSV-1 virus into your eyes could result in an ocular herpes infection.
Also, to avoid the chance of developing genital herpes, don’t touch your private parts after touching your cold sore.
Cold sores are common and also very contagious. If you have a cold sore on your chin, make sure to wash your hands often, especially after touching it. With proper care, your cold sore should heal up within two weeks.
If you’re experiencing frequent cold sores — or cold sores that are particularly painful or irritating — you should discuss the issue with your doctor for treatment and identify if there’s an underlying condition.