Canker Sores and Cold Sores

Are Cold Sores and Canker Sores the Same thing?

Many people confuse canker sores and cold sores by thinking they are the same thing; but they are not the same thing. Cold sores are caused by a virus and are contagious. They appear on the outside of the mouth, near the edge of the lips or under the nose. Canker sores are not viral and are found inside the mouth.

Symptoms of Canker Sores

Canker sores and Cold Sores

Canker sores show up in the mouth and can be very painful. Here are some of the most common symptoms of canker sores:

  • Painful sores can be on the tongue, inside the cheeks or on the roof of the mouth
  • Usually people experience a burning or tingling sensation before the sore actually appears
  • Sores are round, gray or white and have a red edge

Some people can also experience fever, swollen lymph nodes and physical sluggishness. No one knows for sure what causes canker sores but things that trigger them might include:

  • A virus
  • Allergic reactions
  • Acidic foods like citrus fruits
  • An injury to the mouth or gums
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Lack of vitamin B12 in the diet
  • Onset of menstruation in women

Symptoms of Cold Sores

Cold sores are little blisters on the edge of the mouth or the lips that are caused by the herpes simplex virus. These little blisters can break open and weep clear fluids before they crust over and disappear. Other symptoms that accompany cold sores may include:

  • Painful mouths
  • Fever
  • Sore throats
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Small children may drool

Cold sores may not develop at the time you are first infected with the herpes simplex virus. The first time you break out with cold sores they may spread to any region in or around the mouth. After you’ve become infected with the virus cold sores can recur at any point in your life. Some people say they feel a tingling, itching, burning sensation in the area before a cold sore appears. There are a few things that seem to trigger the appearance of cold sores such as:

  • If your lips are exposed to direct sunlight
  • Infections like the flu or a cold
  • Allergies to certain foods
  • An injury to the gums or lips
  • A weakened immune system
  • Hormonal changes in women due to their menstrual cycles

Those who have a weak immune system are usually more likely to have more severe outbreaks than those who have a strong immune system.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Usually both of these conditions will go away on their own in a matter of a few days. But there are some times when it is best to get the advice of a medical professional. Call your doctor or dentist if:

  • Sores last a couple of weeks
  • You start running a temp above 100
  • Canker sores or cold sores start to show signs of infection
  • The sores are unusually large
  • Sores that continue spreading
  • Pain that is not relieved by over the counter medications
  • Sores make it difficult to drink adequate liquids

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valid until 22nd July 2017