Although both strains of herpes can infect any type of skin, type 1 herpes simplex virus (HSV) normally causes cold sores, while type 2 normally causes sores in the genital area. Type 2 infections usually lead to sores two to 20 days after you have contact with an infected person, normally through having sex. Symptoms include minor rashes, itching, painful sores, fever, aching muscles and a burning sensation when urinating [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Fever Blister Treatments
Although there's no cure or vaccine for the virus that causes cold sores, certain medications can help relieve your symptoms.
For mild cases, doctors normally recommend waiting out the painful sores, which usually last for about a week. If the blister is particularly painful, applying a topical treatment such as lidocaine or benzyl alcohol on the area can help [source: Mayo Clinic]. However, you should know that over-the-counter products may only provide temporary relief; many only work for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. A general pain reliever, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can assist in relieving pain [source: MedicineNet].
If you have a more severe case or your cold sores return frequently, your doctor can prescribe an antiviral medication designed to reduce symptoms and dry up the sores. For those with the worst cases, this can be a medication that is prescribed for daily use to prevent blisters from appearing in the first place [source: Pennsylvania State University]. But even many prescription products only shorten your healing time by less than one day [source: MedicineNet].
Medications aren't the only way you can prevent or lessen the intensity of your fever blister outbreaks. There are plenty of simple steps you can take at home to jumpstart the healing process. Read the next page to find out more.