Scurvy, canker sores or herpes? Know the differences

Throughout our lives, we find different sores around the mouth or face, and that are annoying, unsightly, and painful. However, due to the very similar symptoms, we can think that it is scurvy, thrush or herpes, which, at first glance, may seem the same, but there are notable differences between them. Visiting a family practice Doctor, like is recommended to ensure it is not a symptom of more serious medical conditions

In the face of this quite common confusion, in the following article, we want to share everything about scurvy, canker sores and herpes, in order to take the appropriate treatment and not put your health at risk.

What is scurvy?

It is a nutritional disorder that is caused by vitamin C deficiency. It is also characterized by a difficulty in synthesizing tissues, especially collagen.

Scurvy symptoms

It manifests in the skin (with spots), in the mucous membranes, in the teeth, and in the gums. Internally it manifests as an impoverishment of the blood and sometimes produces ulceration and hemorrhage. Meanwhile, during the first, the symptoms are usually fatigue, pain, stiffness of the joints, and lower extremities.

Scurvy treatment

To prevent scurvy, the best way is to consume vitamin C through different foods such as grapes, limes, lemons, oranges, and vegetables (red pepper, potatoes, spinach, broccoli).

For treatment, it is the prescription of food supplements with high vitamin C content.

What are canker sores?

A canker sore is an open and painful sore in the mouth. Canker sores are white or yellow and are surrounded by a bright red area. They are not cancerous.


Sores on your tongue, on your soft palate, or inside your cheeks and burning to feel before it emerges.


– Use over-the-counter medications that relieve pain in the area.

– Rinse your mouth with saltwater or mild over-the-counter mouthwashes (DO NOT use mouthwashes that contain alcohol, which can irritate the area even more).

– Apply a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water directly on the ulcer using a cotton swab. Then, apply a small amount of milk of magnesia. Repeat these steps 3 or 4 times a day.

– What is Herpes labialis

These are small blisters filled with liquid on or around the lips. These blisters are often grouped together, forming spots. Once the blisters break, scab forms on the resulting ulcer. 

– Symptoms

Tingling and itching. Many people feel a sensation of itching, burning, or tingling around the lips for about a day before a small hard and painful spot appears, and the blister comes out.

Usually appear along the outer edge of the lips, where it meets the skin of the face.


Docosanol ointment for over-the-counter canker sores can reduce the healing time of canker sores. Also, to relieve the discomfort caused by a canker sore:

– Try other medications for canker sores. Some over-the-counter preparations contain drying agents, such as alcohol, which can speed healing.

– Apply analgesic creams. Over-the-counter creams with lidocaine or benzocaine can provide pain relief.

Home remedies for cold sores

Black tea

What you have to do is place a black tea bag directly on the wound and rub it for a few minutes. This remedy can help you reduce pain and heal the blister.


Because of the high lysine content that milk has, it converts it into an amino acid that helps accelerate the recovery process of cold sores. For this, simply dip a cotton ball in milk and apply it directly to the wound. 


This food has a lot of antiviral and antibiotic properties that can help us fight a lot of viruses. For this, the ideal is to cut a clove of garlic in half and put it directly on the wound.

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