Cold sores are red, fluid filled blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1. The initial infection of the virus can be accompanied by flu-like symptoms and painful blisters that are generally clumped together in patches around the mouth. Cold sores are very contagious and can spread from person to person through close contact, such as kissing. Cold sores usually heal by themselves in seven to ten days.
They go through five stages:
1.Tingling and itching which occurs prior to the blisters erupting
2.Fluid- filled blisters appear
3.The blisters burst and form sores
4.The sores scab over
5.The scab falls off and the cold sore heals.
There is no cure for the herpes virus and blisters can reoccur when an infected persons immune system is weak, such as during illness, menstruation or stress. Exposure to the sun can also trigger an outbreak. Over the counter topical anesthetics can provide some pain relief and antiviral creams can be used to prevent the development of recurrent sores.
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