About Cold Sores

Cold sores, or fever blisters, are small blister-like lesions that usually appear around the mouth, lips, or face and cause pain, a burning sensation, and itching. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, of which there are two types. The most common type is the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, or HSV-1, which is responsible for oral herpes, also known as cold sores; the other type is genital herpes, which is caused by HSV-2.

There is no cure for people infected with the herpes virus, but there are treatments available that can be used to lessen outbreak episodes.

There are no signs to indicate the contraction of the herpes simplex virus. Most people infected with HSV-1 don’t know they’re infected until cold sores appear. HSV-1 is usually severe in very young children. Some of its signs and symptoms are mouth or tongue lesions, mouth blisters and ulcers, mouth or tongue pain, swelling of the lips, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, fever, dehydration, and headaches.

HSV-1 is common among young children. One of the common contraction scenarios is a child being kissed by a person with a cold sore. For those of any age, the sharing of personal items like utensils, razors, and towels may also spread the infection. The virus stays in the nerves and lies there dormant until activated by a trigger. Some of the triggers include mental stress, anxiety, injury, direct exposure to sunlight, and menstruation. Cold sores may appear around 2-3 times per year and the majority of cases are gone within a week or two.