Normally cold sores heal on their own within 7-14 days and don't require medical attention. However, if the cold sore becomes infected with bacteria, lasts more than two weeks, or develops in the eyes, a skin care professional should be consulted as soon as possible. In rare cases, cold sores that develop in the eyes can cause ocular herpes which is a serious eye infection of the cornea. If left untreated, ocular herpes can lead to blindness; so immediate medical attention is necessary.
Before Your AppointmentYou may also want to put together a list of questions to ask your skin care practitioner prior to your appointment. This will help you have a better understanding of how you can prevent future outbreaks. Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask:
• What causes cold sores?
• What are the initial symptoms I should look for before an outbreak?
• How long do cold sores last?
• Can the herpes simplex virus cause any serious problems that I should be aware of?