Cold sores

Fact Checked

Cold sores are small-sized blisters that develop on the lips or skin surrounding the mouth, nose as well as the chin. In most cases, they are brought about by infection from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Individuals are typically sick in childhood or young adulthood and usually persists for life.

Some adults have herpes simplex antibodies within the bloodstream. It simply indicates that they have acquired the virus at some point. Nevertheless, the initial infection does not usually trigger any symptoms.

Some individuals develop cold sores which are a recurrence of the earlier infection and do not indicate a recent infection. Many individuals do not usually have any symptoms from the initial infection.

Cold sores
Many develop localized itchiness and tingling sensation 1-2 days before the sores form.

What are the potential triggers?

In some individuals, the herpes simplex virus infection causes sores that manifest after a trigger such as a cold. Other usual triggers that might trigger the formation of cold sores include:

  • Sunlight
  • Feverish ailments such as the flu or chest infections
  • Exposure to windy conditions
  • Emotional or physical stress
  • Hormonal changes such as the menstrual period

Cold sores are an indication of a current infection instead of a primary infection. The sores typically recur in the same spot.

Indications of cold sores

Cold sores typically develop as follows:

  • Many develop localized itchiness and tingling sensation 1-2 days before the sores form.
  • A small group of blisters forms.
  • The blisters can be accompanied by tenderness, pain and sensation of warmth and burning.
  • Blisters rupture after a few days.
  • The site of the blisters form a crust.
  • The crust starts to dry up and falls out after 10 days.

Possible complications

It is important to note that cold sores can be annoying for many individuals but they eventually settle without any specific treatment. Nevertheless, individuals with certain forms of immunosuppression might end up with cold sores that rapidly spread with severe symptoms. In such cases, medications are needed.

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional