How to Distinguish Between Cuts and Cold Sores

Cuts and canker sores are very different from cold sores. However there are many people who do not know this and often state they are the same. There are several distinguishable features that can help a person tell the two apart. Of course if you are unsure about whether or not you have a cut, canker sore or cold sore, it’s best to speak with a doctor to get confirmation. Here are some ways to distinguish between cuts and cold sores.

  • Canker sores are located inside the mouth, on the gums or inner cheek. A canker sore, while painful is not something that is contagious. They can be caused by different factors such as stress, hormones, poor diet, or even food allergies. In appearance, canker sores are either yellow or white with a red center. Canker sores usually go away without the need of medication and no one is in danger of catching any type of virus if you kiss or share food. Another thing to take note, canker sores rarely form within the mouth and usually form on the lip or near it.

  • Cuts are caused on the lips or mouth area can have several causes but they are not to be mistaken for cold sores. A cut is caused by trauma to the skin. Sometimes when lips are incredibly dry, you can get cuts or something known as split lips. It’s not a very pretty look but with some care, time, and patience these cuts will heal. Split lips are caused by outside elements and also due to lack of hydration. Drink plenty of water and make sure to invest in a lip balm that will protect your lips against the cold, wind, or dry air. If dry lips that are causing these cuts and lacerations persist, speak with your doctor to make sure this isn’t an effect of something else.
  • Cold sores or fever blisters are associated with the herpes simplex virus. They have a very different appearance compared to a cut on the lip. The cold sore looks like a red dot on the lip area but if you look closely they are usually groups of red, fluid-filled blisters. These blisters can break, leak, and scab over. Unlike cuts and canker sores, cold sores are contagious and contain the herpes virus. So skin-to-skin contact with an active cold sore can usually spread the virus to another person. Sometimes cold sores come with symptoms as well. There may be pain at the affected area, fever, sore throat, or scabbing of the blister. You must remember that the herpes virus is not curable but is most definitely manageable.

Whether you have a cut, canker sore, or cold sore, these can often be treated with over the counter ointments, creams, and gels. Of course if you find yourself experiencing a ton of pain or whatever you have on your lip is taking a long time to heal and go away, it may be time to speak with a doctor to get more powerful medication.