Woman looking at her reflection checking for cold sore.

Identify your

Not everyone’s cold sore or fever blister is triggered by the same thing. But there are seven common factors that may cause your outbreaks.

Knowing general cold sore triggers can help you identify personal triggers and take the necessary steps to manage them.

What Causes Cold Sores?

Tired eye representing fatigue as a trigger of cold sores.  Fatigue

Like stress and illness, fatigue can sap your immune system, creating a situation that increases the potential for a cold sore outbreak. In today’s hectic world, feeling “beat” can give cold sores the advantage. So relax. Exercise. Sleep. And give your immune system a fighting chance.

Rope tied in a tight knot representing stress as a trigger of cold sores.  Stay Calm

Sure, stress messes with emotions. But stress can also wear down your immune system, allowing the dormant cold sore virus to resurface. Fight the urge to stress out. Instead, breathe deeply and relax.

Scarf representing the cold as a trigger of cold sores.  Keep Warm

Protect yourself from the cold. Wear a scarf or pull up that turtleneck to avoid exposure to cold weather, dry air and winter wind that can dry out lips.

Umbrella and sunshine representing the sun as a trigger of cold sores.  Shade Yourself

Sure they are called cold sores, but the sun can also trigger them. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin and lead to a cold sore. Use a good sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and a beach umbrella.

Female symbol representing hormones as a trigger of cold sores.  Know Your Hormones

For women, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can trigger an outbreak. Pay attention to your own hormonal cycle to manage stress. Keep a tube of Abreva handy when you’re feeling that your hormones may trigger an outbreak.

Bandaid representing mouth injuries as a trigger of cold sores.  Protect Your Mouth

Trauma to your mouth or lips can launch a cold sore outbreak. Could be an injury. Could be a dental procedure that pulls at the sensitive area around your mouth. If this is one of your triggers, talk to your dentist about it.

Box of tissues representing viruses as a trigger of cold sores.  Stay Strong

A fever, a cold or the flu can leave you feeling run-down and on the defense against a cold sore outbreak. When you feel a cold, fever or flu coming on, listen to the experts and get plenty of rest and fluids.