All About Cold Sores

Cold sores can be a real nuisance to deal with. Not only are they an eye sore and contagious, they can be incredibly embarrassing and cause you a significant amount of pain. The way that cold sores manifest themselves can sometimes vary but they usually show up on or around the mouth in fluid-filled breakouts that are nearly impossible to conceal. There are many myths that surround cold sores, how they can be transferred, and how they are best treated.

Can cold sores last for weeks? Typically cold sores only last for roughly 5 to 7 days, similarly to how long a really bad cold lasts. In specific situations, they can last a bit longer than a week but this type of behavior tends to only show up in people who have a propensity towards suffering from chronic cold sores. The developmental phases of a cold sore vary depending on how long you have been suffering from the sore. They tend to appear differently. They can sometimes ooze or appear crusted or even break open. It all depends on the infection and healing process of each individual sore.

Are cold sores only contagious when you can see a blister? No, this is false. Cold sores are highly contagious and can be transferred through the virus from person to person. However, because the sores are so highly contagious they can be transferred from the very first tingle and long before the sore even becomes obvious to the eye. It's also very contagious through all of the phases until the healing is complete. This is why the sore virus can sometimes be transmitted without any trace because the sore is not yet visible.

Cold sores are a form of herpes? This is correct. To be specific, cold sores are the herpes simplex virus type 1 or HSV-1. While it usually is seen around the mouth and lips, it can be spread to other parts of the body like the eyes or the genitals. In the event that it does spread to these places, the virus can become chronic and start to show up more readily.

Everyone is susceptible to cold sores? Untrue. While the majority of the population does experience a cold sore at some time in their lives - around 90 percent to be exact - usually they only have one or two occurrences. About 40 percent of adults do have repeated or chronic cold sores. If you have a compromised immune system due to an auto immune condition, you may potentially have specific complications tied to dealing with chronic cold sores.

While a cold sore is generally nothing too concerning for most people, if you have a skin condition, it's important to get the sore treated right away. If the infection spreads to the eye, in severe cases it may cause blindness or meningitis if it spreads to the brain. Both of which are incredibly rare, but can happen. 

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