Telling the Difference Between Cold Sores and Canker Sores

These two ailments are commonly confused. Both cold sores and canker sores occur near the
same location, share many of the same triggers such as stress, facial trauma, and hormonal changes and can be very painful.

But, it is important to distinguish between the two conditions to ensure that you get the best treatment available.

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Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

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Canker Sore

Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

Cause:
Herpes simplex virus (HSV). Outbreaks can be triggered by stress, fatigue, injury, or exposure to extreme conditions.

Canker Sore

Cause:
Not clearly defined. Can be triggered by stress, fatigue, hormones, or facial trauma.

Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

Location:
On or around the lips, mostly
outside of the mouth.

Canker Sore

Location:
Inside the mouth and on the gums.

Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

Appearance:
Red, fluid-filled blisters, typically in groups.

Canker Sore

Appearance:
Typically small open sores with white, yellow or gray center and bright red border. Can be single or in groups.

Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

Contagious?
Yes. Skin-to-skin contact with an active cold sore blister can spread the virus.

Canker Sore

Contagious?
No.

Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

Treatment 
Orajel™ Touch-Free 

Canker Sore

Data on file.