Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Cold sores generally clear up without treatment within two weeks. However, if you have lasting or severe sores, have frequent recurrences, or develop eye discomfort along with a cold sore, make an appointment with your family doctor.

What you can do

Before your appointment, you may want to write a list of answers to the following questions:

  • Have you ever had these symptoms before?
  • Do you have a history of skin problems?
  • What medications and supplements do you take regularly?

Below are some basic questions to ask your doctor about cold sores. If any additional questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask.

  • Do I have a cold sore?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend, if any?
  • What self-care steps can I follow to ease my symptoms?
  • Am I contagious? For how long?
  • How do I reduce the risk of spreading this condition to others?
  • How soon do you expect my symptoms will improve?
  • Am I at risk of complications from this condition?
  • Is there anything I can do to help prevent a recurrence?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:

  • Could you sense a cold sore coming before the sore became visible?
  • Do your symptoms include eye irritation?
  • Have you noticed if anything in particular seems to trigger your symptoms?
  • Have you been treated for cold sores in the past? If so, what treatment was most effective?
  • Have you recently experienced significant stress or major life changes?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Does your work or home life bring you into contact with infants or with people who have major illness?
May. 23, 2012