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What Are Cold Sore & Its Causes?

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Cold sores are a type of skin disorder caused by Herpes Simplex virus that is characterized by small fluid filled blisters on and around the lips or in some cases inside the mouth. A majority of people carry the virus though only few actually show the symptoms pertaining to cold sores. This blister like lesions causes pain, burning sensation or itching on the affected skin area before getting burst out into crust. In majority of cases cold sores are seen appearing on lips, chin and cheeks, close to the nostrils and in few cases in gums or inside the mouth.

Cold Sore

There are 2 types of Herpes Simplex virus causing this discomforting skin disorder. HSV type 1 is the cause of majority of cold sore cases while HSV type 2 may cause the disease in people who engage in oral sex with a person having genital herpes. Though the source of the virus infection may differ, the nature of cold sores and their outbreak in people often carries the same symptom. Normally cold sores are dried down on their own within weeks and can be relapsed in the affected person anytime thereafter. No medication can actually cure cold sores though adequate preventive measures and few topical medications can actually prevent the disorder from spreading and relapsing frequently. The disorder is common among adolescents and children. Though it cannot be cured permanently it can be medically addressed to minimize the duration and frequency of recurrence.

In primary cases of cold sore where the virus is affecting for the first time the symptoms often can be milder and quicker to vanish. In cases of recurring outbreak often the sores take longer to dry and crust over before fading out from the skin. Herpes Simplex virus is very contagious in nature and spreads between people mainly due to contacting body fluid, mostly from saliva. Naturally for preventing the disorder from spreading it is extremely important to take precautions in regard to such possibilities. Entering human body the virus mostly becomes dormant and continues to stay inactive without causing any symptom. It is said that 80% of people carry the virus but in majority of cases it remains in a dormant or inactive state. The recurring outbreak of the disease happens due to some triggers and these triggers vary from one person to other. While some individuals may only experience a single outbreak in their life, some may continue to suffer from the outbreak in every 2 or 3 years.

Signs and symptoms of cold sores

In many cases the virus simply remains non-symptomatic in the affected people. In few cases the typical blisters come out as symptoms. As per the area affected, acuteness and other accompanying difficulties the symptoms can be described as the following:

  • Small red fluid filled blisters on the lips or around the mouth

  • Blisters inside the mouth, particularly on gums or palate

  • Ulcers inside the mouth

  • Sore throat, swollen glands and difficulty in swallowing foods

  • Light fever or raised body temperature

  • Dehydration, nausea and headache

All the symptoms mentioned above may not be common in all cases of cold sores. The sores often take longer to heal in cases of recurring outbreak than in primary cases.

Author bio: Joydeep Majumder is a skin disorder specialist who discussed here about the clinical definition, causes and symptoms of cold sore. To heal cold sore in time you need to refer top treatment of cold sores.