Is It Possible to Get a Cold Sore in Your Nose?

Cold sores usually occur on the lips or around the mouth. But they’re also known to appear in other areas now and again. If you’re worrying about getting a cold sore in your nose, doctors say that this is uncommon and can differ from sores in the mouth or the genital area.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It comes in two main types including HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 usually infects the mouth, causing cold sores (fever blisters). HSV-2, on the other hand, affects the genitals, leading to genital herpes. In some cases, HSV-1 can spread to the genitals and cause genital herpes. According to many doctors, the HSV can lie dormant for years in the body. When the virus is activated, it moves along the nerves to anywhere of the skin. This causes at first a tingling, itching or burning sensation, and then a cold sore. It is quite unusual, but you can get a cold sore in your nose. Here is what you need to know.

What Does a Cold Sore in Your Nose Look Like?

A cold sore usually goes through some stages:


This is one of the first symptoms that show a cold sore is coming. Many people may feel a slight tingling, itching or irritation in the nose. It can last for a day before blisters erupt.


Small, fluid-filled blisters will begin to appear in or on your nose. They usually pop up in a cluster or group, rather than grow singly. These blisters can be red, irritated or inflamed. They can last for 2 to 4 days before bursting.


On day 4 or 5, the blisters will begin to burst, leaving them open and sore. During this stage, a cold sore in your nose is most contagious. It can spread to other areas or to other people and even develop a secondary infection.


On days 5 to 8, the sores will dry out and form scabs. These can cause itching and cracking, which is very painful.


These scabs will start to fall off on days 8 to 10, and the new skin will form.

Nose Cold Sores

Signs and symptoms can vary, depending on every patient. They can last several days and begin to heal within 2 to 4 weeks.

If you’re first infected with the virus, you may have some flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Recurrences usually occur in the same place each time. But symptoms tend to be less severe than those in the first outbreak.

Learn more: How Many Herpes Outbreaks Do You Get During Your Lifetime?

How Do You Get It and Can You Spread It?

Most often, getting a cold sore in your nose is actually a sign that you’ve touched a herpes sore. It can be yours or someone else’s. Usually, the sore is present on the mouth or in the genital area. Additionally, it can pop up when there is a cut or a break in your skin coming into contact with the virus. If you touch an active sore somewhere else, you can end up with an HSV infection.

A cold sore is highly contagious. Several factors and behaviors can put you at an increased risk of catching a cold sore. These are:

  • Touching a herpes sore and then touch your nose
  • Sharing personal items such as towels, or nasal sprays with someone who has the infection

Once you have the virus, certain risk factors can cause it to activate again. For example:

Learn more: What Happens if You Pop A Cold Sore?

Recurrence nose cold sore

How to Treat a Cold Sore in Your Nose?

A cold sore in your nose is treated in the same way as it’s in your mouth or genitals. If the condition is not too severe, let it heal without treatment. You can take some of the following tips to make sores go away faster, such as:

  • Wash sores gently with warm water
  • Apply ice or a cool washcloth to ease pain
  • Manage stress, illness, and fatigue
  • Take Lysine supplements or Bulletproof+
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact
  • Avoid sharing items with other people
  • Eat a healthy diet with brightly colored fruits, vegetables and vitamin C

If the cold sore causes you a lot of pain or it gets worse, you should use medications. ProsurX is one of the best topical medications for herpes sores in the market right now. It can help ease pain, speed up healing and prevent new sores. Thus, when you feel an outbreak coming on, apply the cream right away. It’s well-known to stop an outbreak before it occurs, and prevent blisters. To treat the virus, you can take prescription medicines. Ask your doctor about Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir. They are very effective, though take quite long and can cause some side effects.

If you’re worrying about getting something else- not cold sores, make an appointment with your GP.