Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections)

  • Medical Author:

    Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP is a U.S. board-certified Infectious Disease subspecialist. Dr. Gompf received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami, and a Medical Degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Gompf completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida followed by subspecialty fellowship training there in Infectious Diseases under the directorship of Dr. John T. Sinnott, IV.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Cold Sores Slideshow

What is angular stomatitis?

Angular stomatitis refers to inflammation, cracking, or irritation at the corners of the mouth. In contrast, herpes infections usually appear on the upper or lower lip margins, not in the corners. Angular stomatitis may be an initial sign of anemia or vitamin deficiency. It can also occur in people who wear dentures, whose saliva can accumulate and lead to the overgrowth of yeast.

What are canker sores?

Canker sores, or aphthous ulcers, are ulcerations that occur inside the mouth along the mucosa. They are found on the inner cheeks and lower lip as well as on the tongue, palate, and the gums. Canker sores are round and very painful. They are gray in color with a distinct edge. They are not contagious and are caused by stress or trauma to the area. They are not related to herpes, although they be may confused with cold sores.

What types of doctors treat cold sores?

Most pediatricians and primary-care providers are very familiar with cold sores and their treatment. Most cases do not need the services of a dermatologist (skin specialist). An infectious-disease specialist is often consulted in complicated cases, such as herpes encephalitis or herpes in a person with a weak immune system. The care of an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) is important in managing ocular herpes, or herpes keratitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/15/2016

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