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Cold Sores - Does Illness Trigger Them?

Cold sores or fever blisters (oral herpes) tend to occur more frequently when the body is run down, and the immune system overworked. Hence the common name which is associated with oral herpes - cold sores. It is usually in these bouts of stress, or low health, when the herpes virus itself manifests symptoms in the form of cold sores.

My Well-being is Linked to the Appearance of Cold Sores?

In a sense - yes.
Cold sores themselves are actually a symptom of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1. Blisters or sores may break out on the lips as a direct result. It is the virus itself which remains resident in the body, and is passed from person to person.

During times of stress or illness, the body is unable to resist the herpes virus with the same strength as when you are perfectly healthy. So it is usually during this time when symptoms may start to appear. The symptoms, in question, are the cold sores themselves.

Cause of Cold Sores:

There are two types of the herpes virus. HSV type 1 is usually responsible for oral herpes (cold sores, fever blisters). Type 2 is mostly responsible for genital herpes. This is not always true and it is possible for HSV type 2 to cause outbreaks around the mouth, and vice versa, however it is not too common.

The virus is extremely contagious, and caution must be taken to avoid contracting it, or passing the virus on to another. You are the most contagious when there are visible sores. Simply kissing another person, or allowing your saliva to come in to contact with them, can, and most probably will, pass on the virus- and infect them.

So Why do Cold Sores Occur More Frequently When I'm Sick?

Your body has a natural defense against illness and viruses, known as the immune system. Usually your immune system is strong enough to keep the herpes virus from exhibiting any symptoms on a day to day basis. It is when you are feeling run down, and generally not a hundred percent, when the immune system is vulnerable and cold sores start to appear. Obviously this is not true in all circumstances, sometimes cold sores will appear when you are perfectly healthy.


This is in effect the reason we call the sores- cold sores or fever blisters.
They are most likely to occur when you are sick, often with cold or fever. So we refer to them with a simple name which describes when they are most likely to occur. The fact that they appear when we have a cold, has absolutely nothing to do with directly creating the sores themselves. It is in times of illness or stress when your immune system is overworked and is in a weakened state so to speak that your body is unable to effectively control the herpes virus, and sores break out on the lips, or in and around the mouth area.

Go to our Cold Sores page