Cold Sores

Cold sores are painful unsightly blisters that form around the mouth or nose due to the Herpes simplex virus. Once infected by the virus it remains permanently within the skin and held in a dormant state by the body's immune system.

Following stress or illness, particularly flu or the common cold (hence the name), the body's immune system is lowered and the virus flares up. Exposure to extreme cold has also been associated with triggering an attack.

Initially the skin is itchy and tingly in the affected area and after a couple of days the skin erupts with tiny blisters. The blisters are hot, painful and inflamed and after a few days will often burst and form crusts. These crusts eventually fall off and the cold sore will usually resolve within two to three weeks without treatment.

Currently, there is no treatment for the removal of the virus from the skin and once infected, future episodes of cold sores are extremely likely. However, anti-viral creams are available that when used at the initially tingly stage, can prevent the cold sore from appearing.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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