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Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Cold sores which are also often known as fever blisters are those small sores which appear on and above the upper lip, the corners of the mouth as well as on the face. Cold sores are very common and can be easily spread.

There are about 100 million recurring infections annually in the United States alone. Many people wrongly believe that cold sores are as a result of a head cold. They are a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex one virus - HSV1. The virus tends to remain dormant in the nerve cells and it is there for life. There are certain elements that may trigger cold sores and these include:

  • - Overexposure to the sun
  • - Illness and injury
  • - Fever
  • - Weakened immune system
  • - Emotional stress and fatigue
  • - Hormonal changes among pregnant women and women in their menstrual cycle

    There is no cure for cold sores but they do eventually go away.

There are several stages in the life of a cold sore. When a cold sore is about to appear, there will be a tingling sensation in that area and then redness. Then the cold sore will start to form as very small blisters or these may group together and appear bigger. The third stage is the cold sore becoming a red sore which is most noticeable even by those who have never had a cold sore. These become painful blisters and are very contagious.

Towards the end, the cold sore starts to heal when a brown scab may form over the area. However, if this scab cracks open it may bleed. In the final stages of healing, the cold sore goes from brown to yellow. The whole cycle takes about ten days.

Cold sores do occasionally occur inside the mouth and then normally on the gums or the roof of the mouth. These cold sores in the mouth are quite small and often begin as a blister. They can heal quickly. The first sign is often a tingling and itchiness around the tongue, gums or the inside of the cheeks. A soft, bland diet is recommended to avoid irritating the sores and surrounding sensitive areas of the mouth.