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How long does it take for symptoms of a cold sore to appear?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Watch this video to learn more from our experts about cold sores.


Cold sores go through several stages, and generally last anywhere from one to three weeks. The first symptom you notice will probably be a tingling or itching sensation on your lips, chin, nose, or cheek. This is a sign that a cold sore is forming. This stage lasts one or two days, after which a blister or cluster of blisters will form. About a day later, the blister will weep, or ooze; this typically lasts about a day. Afterwards, the blister will scab over and slowly heal. This stage can last several days to several weeks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.