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Cold Sores on Nose Pictures, Causes, Treatments and Remedies

Can you get cold sores in your nose? Are they always a sign of herpes? How can you heal them fast? Find out more in this article.

If you are wondering if you can get a cold sore inside the nose, the answer is a big fat yes. Most people get them in or around the mouth, the lips, specifically. However, they can still affect other parts of the face like the cheeks and the nose, both inside and outside.  In some rare cases, they can also affect the fingers. Cold sores are also known as fever blisters.


Here is what nasal case may look like.

cold sores on nose not looking good
 not looking good
cold sore in nose
Just see 


A cold sore can appear inside the nose, or at the base of the nostril. It will start with a slightly uncomfortable tingling or burning and progress to a red or yellow fluid-filled blister that eventually crusts over in a couple of days.

The blister and the crusty scab it leaves behind can be quite painful. These blisters are visibly raised from the rest of the surface and are very soft to touch.

The sores usually look like a cluster of blisters, if you pay close attention. Once you remove the crusty scab left by the sore, you notice a scar where new skin is forming.

You may notice crusty scabs around your nostrils and inside the nose if you have them in your nose.

Some people get one cold sore in a lifetime; others may get them up to several times a year.

As uncomfortable as it may be when inside nose is not life-threatening. It can be pretty serious though in people pre-existing conditions that compromise their immunity like HIV or cancer.

Typically it lasts for between 7-14 days, that is from the minute it is just an annoying little tingly spot to when it is a fully fledged burst blister in the nose.


You may have heard someone mention that these sores are caused by herpes. This is true. They are caused by an infection of the herpes virus. What may not have been broken down for you is that the strain of herpes that causes them is on the nose and mouth is very different from the one that causes genital herpes.

Cold sores on the nose and indeed anywhere on above the waist are usually caused by HSV-1 while the sexually transmitted herpes are caused by HSV-2.

While nose herpes and really other herpes sore on the face are often the HSV-1,  it is not unheard of for one to contract HSV-2 through oral sex and get herpes sores. A person may also get sores from contracting HSN 1 through oral sex with someone who had it. When this happens, then a person may have them on the nose or lips from the sexually transmitted herpes and another may have sores on the genitalia from hsv1.

When under nose

Here are a few important facts about how you get this problem.

The virus that gives us nose these sores is highly contagious. Most people get it by coming into close contact with someone who has them. The primary kinds of contacts which spread cold sores are kissing, sharing food and drinks with an infected person.  According to  WebMD, “ They are infectious even when you cannot see them”

Because the virus is spread by close contact, most of us are infected when we are very young, as early as infancy. Infection does not always mean you get it immediately.

The virus is known to lie dormant for up to 20 days from when you were exposed to giving you a sore

According to this site,  “The most contagious period is when a person has active blister-like sores. Once the blisters have dried and crusted over (within a few days), the risk of contagion is significantly lessened. However, a person infected with HSV can pass it on to another person even when a cold sore is not present. This is because the virus is sometimes shed in saliva even when sores are not present,”

After it heals, the virus goes dormant for a long time before a trigger sets it off again and you get another episode.

For some, the virus will stay dormant for a long time, meaning they rarely actually get the cold sores in or on their nose.

However some people get only a short reprieve before the fever blister reappears on nose.

Here are some of the more common triggers:

1. Fatigue

Fatigue and stress can trigger this problem on nose or mouth.

2. Hormonal changes

This triggers it in women. Changes in hormone levels are responsible for cold sores inside the nose during pregnancy in some women and also during menstruation

3. Cold weather

Many people complain this problem on their noses in colder weather.  Sunlight and trauma are also thought to trigger it.

Effective treatment

They generally are temporary afflictions that will go away without any intervention. However, they are uncomfortable, can be quite painful for some people.

Because humans we humans do not handle discomfort well, there exist several ways to reduce the worst of their effect on nose

One thing you may need to do to help the cold sore inside your nose heal faster is to avoid touching it. Also always wash your hands in case you get tempted to touch it to ensure you do not spread the sore anywhere else on the face or body, not to mention to other people. Here are the best ways to treat them.

1. Medication

You cannot completely cure a person of HSV-1 virus, which causes these sores. Once you are infected, it is for life. However, there is medication to help fight them itself. Buzzle says “As the causal pathogen is a virus, the obvious treatment for cold sores in the nose is administering antiviral medications. Based on the pathology and overall disease condition, the doctor may recommend any of these oral drugs, acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir. Also, topical ointments will be prescribed to treat sores in nose.”

Some people take lysine. Lysine a supplement made of amino acids which can be taken orally or applied directly to the skin. “Lysine is used for preventing and treating cold sores (caused by the virus called herpes simplex labialis),” according to WebMD.

It is thought that lysine stops the virus from replicating. You can read more about lysine and this issue here.

Home remedies

Here are a few simple remedies you can use to treat this problem.

a). Icepacks

This will be useful in reducing the soreness on both sores that are on the top surface of the nose or under the nose or inside the nostril. To apply this remedy, simply wrap an ice cube in a clean cotton cloth and hold on cold sore site for some minutes. The numbing effect will bring relief especially if the sore is really painful. You can repeat this remedy several times a day.

b). Tea tree Oil

Tea tree oil comes through for most home remedies because it is anti-everything. That means, antifungal, bacterial and also has antiviral properties. It, therefore, figures that some people have found it effective in treating this problem.

Mix  a couple of drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil that does not irritate your skin and apply this mixture on the cold sore twice a day for fast relief.

c). Avoid arginine

Some sources recommend avoiding acidic foods and foods rich in arginine, a protein that the herpes virus needs to thrive if you the nasal cold sores to heal fast. Examples of the foods are red meat like beef, beer, peanuts, and chocolate. Those supporting this approach suggest increasing ilk intake as it is a natural source of lysine.  Lysine is thought to reduce their occurrence.

d). Use milk

Some people use cold milk to treat this problem.  “cold milk has a role in cold sore treatment as they believe it can provide relief and even promote healing. According to some, you could simply soak a cotton ball or swab in some cold milk and dab it or apply gently over the sore,” according to home remedies for you.

e). Witch hazel

There are those who swear that a little dab of witch hazel on them helps with healing it faster.


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