I was in the 5th grade (see picture below) when I remember getting my first cold sore (about 1973). Since it was my first cold sore, the warning signs (tingling around the mouth) were not something I understood. The next morning, I woke up with a blister on my upper lip. The blisters got progressively worse until 3-5 days later they burst and began to scab over.
My parents took me to the the doctor. He looked at the sore on my upper lip and told them it was a cold sore. They were told to go to the store some Campho-Phenique to put on the scab to soothe any pain but explained there is no known cure for these cold sores.
Now at school, a kid with blisters or a big scab on his upper lip is an anomaly. No kid wants to be different or stand out, I was both with these sores on my mouth. First the kids would ask “What’s that sore on your lip” ? Then I got called all kinds of names to like “VD boy“, “Scabber“, etc. After a couple outbreaks, the teachers sent me to the office to have the nurse check me for a communicable disease such as impetigo and such. I tried to cover up the sores, pop the blisters, pick the scabs… anything to try and make them go away. Nothing worked.
To make matters worse I would get them every 6-8 weeks or so. The typical culprits… stress, spicy foods, sun, hormones. This went on all through my elementary, middle & high school years. Now remember, at this time (late 1970’s) there was no internet to research. If you wanted to look stuff up (do research) you went to an old fashion library with books, film, and research papers. I spent much of the next decade reading everything that was available regarding herpes (cold sores).
It was about 1993 that I found a possible solution. I will describe this in my next post but be assured that you do not have to suffer from embarrassing cold sores. I haven’t had one in over 20 years.