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It’s easy to mistake canker for cold sores. Cold Sore vs Canker Sore . Flare-ups can occur at any time…, Do you know how to tell the difference between a cold sore and a pimple? Location: On or around the lips, mostly outside of the mouth. They’re both located in or around the mouth and they can look like small white blisters. HSV-1 can be spread through things such as sharing eating utensils or toothbrushes, or through kissing. Here are…. Cold Sore vs Canker Sore: How to Tell Them Apart There seems to be a lot of confusion between canker sores vs cold sores, two very common mouth disorders. Identifying Canker Sores. Here’s how to distinguish them. Three of these types of sore are, by virtue of their name and location, frequently confused—cold sores caused by oral herpes, canker sores, and chancre sores caused by syphilis.. “You wouldn’t find them on the gingival [gum] tissue or the hard palate,” he says, although they can appear at the very base of your gums. They occur outside the mouth and genitalia. Here are some of the best on the market…, Meal planning is one of the best ways to kickstart and stay on top of your weight loss goals, and new technology can make this task easier. The first way to differentiate a canker sore vs. cold sore is by appearance. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. If you happen to touch a cold sore, wash your hands right after, and make sure you don’t touch any other part of your body, especially the eyes, because you can transmit HSV-1 to yourself. They’re caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). However, HSV-2, the strain that causes genital herpes, can also cause cold sores. The pain often reaches a peak in the first 24 hours. Cold sores are caused by HSV infection. If you touch your cold sore, wash your hands right away to avoid spreading the virus to other parts of your skin. Don’t scratch or pick at the blisters, either. Doctors explain how to tell if you have a head cold or something more serious that requires medical attention, such as the flu, strep throat, meningitis, or mono. While these two types of mouth sore are often confused, they differ in several ways. As the Mayo Clinic explains, canker sores — also called aphthous ulcers — appear inside the mouth. Herpetiform canker sores, a less common type of canker sore, occur in clusters and are the size of pinpricks. Small canker sores typically don’t require treatment and will disappear on their own within a week or two. healing of cold sores, typically without a scar, in one to two weeks. The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. There's not much a patient can do for a canker sore except reduce their discomfort until the sore heals. In these cases, there is a greater risk of the virus affecting the brain or spinal cord, and, says Patel, “you’re going to have to treat them a little more aggressively.” That could mean taking an oral antiviral, like acyclovir, on a long-term basis, he says. This is important becomes it is very unlikely that a cold sore is going to be found inside of the mouth. Unlike cold sores, they aren’t contagious. After you’ve contracted the infection, some factors may lead to the development of cold sores, including: You should seek medical attention for any mouth sore that: Your doctor will often be able to tell if you have a canker sore or a cold sore based on your medical history and a physical examination. One of the main differences between cold sores and canker sores is location. Cold sores look like blisters that appear around the mouth or on the lips. For pain, which usually only lasts three or four days, you can try acetaminophen (Tylenol) or use an anesthetic oral gel like benzocaine. Canker sores are typically round or oval in shape. Cold sores usually are self-limiting and generally heal without scarring in 7 to 10 days. A canker sore is typically white or yellow in color while a cold sore is commonly red and at times leaks a clear fluid. A canker sore usually appears as a white or yellow bump, is round or oblong and can have a red irritated border. Credit: Canker sore treatments. Canker Sore. The two sores are also caused by different things. Unlike canker sores, cold sores appear outside your mouth, often on the corner of your lip. Most cold sores go away in their own time, usually seven to 10 days after they appear. In most cases, you can let canker sores run their course. Cold sores usually appear on the lip; canker sores affect the inside of the mouth. After the initial infection, HSV-1 travels up the nerve, staying out of sight until something triggers it. While the exact cause of canker sores is uncertain, you can help prevent them by doing things such as protecting your mouth from injury, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress. Canker sores only occur inside the mouth while cold sores often occur on the outside of the mouth around the area of the lips. Canker sore vs cold sore Canker sores and cold sores aren’t the same. Here are the ones you need to pay attention to, and how to know if you may have an anxiety disorder. Additionally, unlike canker sores, a burning sensation usually precedes cold sores in the area the sore will appear, says Jeffy. Cold Sore vs. Canker Sore. HSV-1 is the strain that most commonly causes cold sores. “Canker sores only occur in the oral tissues inside the mouth, whereas cold sores commonly occur on the outer edges of the lips but also on the skin around the lips or nose,” says Jeffy. Oral sex may spread HSV-2 to the mouth and lips, and may also spread HSV-1 to the genitals. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The core differences between cold sores and impetigo are found in the root of each condition. The symptoms of a cold sore can depend on if you have a new infection with HSV or have had the virus for a while. Cold sores are also known as fever blisters. After all, they’re both pesky, painful mouth sores, right? Canker sore outbreaks usually occur multiple times within a week or two. use of toothpastes or mouthwashes that contain, fluctuations in hormones, such as those that occur during menstruation, a reaction to foods such as chocolate, nuts, or spicy foods, conditions that affect your immune system, such as, changes in hormones, such as during menstruation, irritation to the area where you have cold sores, which can be due to injury, dental work, or cosmetic surgery, recurs frequently, up to several times in a year, causes extreme difficulty with eating or drinking, over-the-counter (OTC) creams and gels that can be applied directly to sores, especially those that contain active ingredients such as benzocaine, hydrogen peroxide, and fluocinonide, prescription mouthwashes containing dexamethasone, a steroid that can ease pain and swelling, oral medications, such as steroid medications, which can help when canker sores don’t respond to other treatments, cautery, which involves using a chemical or instrument to destroy or burn the canker sore, OTC creams or gels containing lidocaine or benzocaine to ease pain, OTC cold sore creams containing docosanol, which may shorten your outbreak by about a day. 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