The cold sores are those little blister-like lesions that usually make their appearance on the lips, cheeks, chin, sometimes even inside the nostrils. They can hurt or give the sensation of burning or itching before they form the crust. They’re also known as fever blisters. They happen because of the virus called herpes simplex type 1 (or for short HSV-1). HSV-2 can also cause it, in some cases.
In the USA, about 50 to 80% present oral herpes, the thing that makes them vulnerable for cold sores. There’s no cure for this infection and there’s no way to prevent them. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the frequency and duration of the symptoms.
The main cause of the cold sores is the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2 – they’re contagious and can even be transmitted through close contact. Once the virus gets into your body, it can remain inactive – but if something triggers the virus, then a cold sore can develop. Some can have only one outbreak in their life, while others can have outbreaks every year.
You can get HSV-2 after an oral sex act with an infected person.
What are the symptoms?
Many people can get the virus without having no symptoms. The only way you can find out if you have it is if the cold sores appear. The first time it will happen, it will be really difficult, as the cold sores will be severe. But it’s good to keep in mind that, in most of the cases, there are no signs of an infection.
Symptoms which are more severe are going to affect young children, because they don’t really have enough time to build up the necessary antibodies to fight the virus.
The concrete symptoms are: blisters, lesions and ulcers on mouth and tongue, your lips may swell, the mouth and tongue can hurt, your throat can get sore, and you may have problems when you want to swallow. Also, you may present high-body temperature, headaches, nausea and dehydration.
The gums may get infected, also, and the infection is called gingivostomatitis. It can last from 1 to 2 weeks, and after that, you won’t get it again. There’s also an infection called Pharyngotonsillitis, which has an impact on your tonsils and throat, and it may happen when the first infection appears. This usually occurs in adults.
What are the stages?
Firstly, you’ll get itching or burning sensation in your mouth, thing that shows the start of a cold sore outbreak. The sores will be filled with fluid and will usually appear on the edge of the lower lip. Then, the glands will start to swell.
Remember that the cold sores appear in the same place for every outbreak so that you may encounter irritation and pain in those places.
After this, the sores will break and will start to ooze. Then, a yellow crust will cover the sore and then it will eventually fall off, leaving pink skin that will heal in no time.