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If you must touch your eyes – for example, to remove contact lenses – wash your hands thoroughly first.
In very rare cases, encephalitis, a condition where the brain becomes inflamed and swollen, can be caused by the cold sore virus spreading to the brain.
Cold sores often start with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth.
Small fluid-filled sores then appear, usually on the edges of your lower lip. If you've had outbreaks of cold sores before, it's likely that you'll know what they are if they return.
You only need to visit your GP if you're unsure whether it's a cold sore or if it's severe and spreading further than just the lip.
See your GP if a cold sore hasn't healed after 7 to 10 days.
Dehydration sometimes occurs if drinking fluids becomes painful.
Some people have frequently recurring cold sores around two or three times a year, while others have one cold sore and never have another.