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ColdSoreFacts.net



Cold Sore Facts Overview

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Cold Sore Facts Overview

Cold sores are the most common symptom of the herpes simplex virus (HSV1), and it is estimated that about 80% of adolescents in the United States have HSV1. Because there is no vaccine for curing HSV1, and it is easily spread, the numbers are higher for middle aged adults and continue to grow each year. The terms ‘cold sores’ and ‘fever blisters’ are names for the same symptom or disorder, known medically as oral herpes.

Cold sores are small blisters that appear predominantly on or around the lips; however breakouts can also occur on the chin, nose and even the eyes and eyelids. A typical herpes cold sore outbreak will result in one or two sores, which start out as red, tingling bumps and evolve into larger blisters. Eventually the blisters burst and scab over, and the sore starts to disappear. The average cold sore life cycle lasts about 7-21 days.

If you get a cold sore, you have herpes simplex virus 1. The virus can be easily transmitted from one person to another, and avoiding the virus altogether is virtually impossible. The virus can also lay dormant in the body for days, weeks or years after contraction, making it almost impossible to ascertain where you contracted the virus. In some cases, people with HSV1 never show the symptoms of cold sores - for this reason, the estimates of one in four to five Americans may be significantly lower than the actual infection statistic.

If you think you have a cold sore for the first time, don’t panic. Besides the unsightly and sometimes painful symptomatic cold sores, HSV1 itself is relatively harmless to the average person (an exception would be someone who has an immunodeficiency disorder, in which case a cold sore should be immediately reported to your physician or specialist). The first thing you should do if you think you have a cold sore is refrain from touching the swollen area, and keep in mind that cold sores are contagious. Refrain from kissing, sharing utensil or from touching your lips and spreading the virus with your hands. The next step you should take is to properly diagnose the cold sore. Remember, in some cases cold sores can be mistaken for other ailments such as common mouth sores like canker sores. The difference between cold sores and canker sores are described in a later section. Use the cold sore symptoms section to confirm you indeed have a cold sore.

Once you have confirmed the cold sore, start exploring the many treatment options available in the cold sore treatment section. As mentioned, the HSV1 virus is incurable. However, there have been tremendous breakthroughs in the treating of cold sores, particularly in naturopathy and natural products. In particular, treatments that focus on decreasing the size duration (life cycle) of the cold sore, and decreasing or eradicating the frequency of cold sore outbreaks.

A common misconception is that cold sores, because they are a result of the herpes virus, are the same as genital herpes. In fact, genital herpes (commonly simply called 'herpes') is a different strain of the herpes simplex virus, HSV2. It is important to know the difference between the two, which is discussed in the section Oral Herpes vs. Genital Herpes.

Next: Cold Sore Symptoms


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ColdSoreFacts.net

Cold Sore Facts Overview