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Cold Sores – What are They and How to Avoid or Minimize Them

Contrary to its name, a cold sore does not come from a cold. They come from the herpes virus. In fact, it is one of the easiest herpes viruses to transmit to other people. The reason many people confuse cold sores with an onset of a viral infection is because of the name and also because they originate from a virus. However, the virus is a not something you can take a prescription drug for and expect it to go away in time. Once you catch a cold sore the virus stays with you because it is a form of herpes.

What Happens When You Get a Cold Sore?

Many times people who experience the symptoms of a cold sore will not see a reoccurrence for the rest of their life. However, there are nearly half of those who do, who will see another outbreak at some point. What happens when you get a fever blister, which is another name for the cold sore, is that a large pimple-like abscess pops up on the skin. More commonly, these are on the lips and around the mouth region, but they can appear inside the mouth, such as on the inside of the cheek. Also, you can get them on your nose or finger.

Once the cold sore has developed, quite possibly it will bust open and seep a nasty substance from its bubble. After that, like any other injury, it will scab over and normally fall away from its location. The whole process, from the first sight of the blister, to the scabbing, will be about 7 to 10 days. In that period of time, you can give the virus to someone else if they come into contact with that infected area.

Who Can Get a Cold Sore?

The good news is that cold sores are very common. You probably know several people that have them, or have had them in their lifetime. It has no age limit, so it is important that you are careful not to let your cold sore come into contact with children because it causes a very severe illness in their little bodies. After an illness, the body builds an immunity to most of the past viruses it has encountered. However, that is not the case for everyone.

It is especially devastating for someone with an autoimmune disease, such as AIDS. Their body will not fight the virus very well and this interacts with the AIDS virus and causes a serious sickness or, even death. Eczema is another disorder that can have adverse side effects for the infected when they get a cold sore. The cold sores can attack the entire body and spread throughout it.

You must pay attention when you touch your face or wherever the infection is on your body. If you do not wash your hands after touching your cold sore, you run the risk of spreading it to other parts of your body. Infecting your eyes can cause vision issues and even worse, if the infection makes its way to your brain, you can contract meningitis, among other things.

Why Do People Get Cold Sores?

The cold sore is something that comes from an HSV virus or Herpes Simplex Virus. There are two forms of herpes. The first one is HSV Type 1 and that is what a cold sore falls under. A person first gets HSV Type 1 from an open sore that secretes a pus or something similar. The infected person then kisses another person or someone touches the person with that sore. This turns into Type 1 Herpes.

It is possible to get genital herpes from Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1. However, it is much more common to get it from Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2. People with HSV Type 2 will see these blisters in the lower parts of their body but it can result in a mouth cold sore as well.

How to Prevent Getting a Cold Sore

To avoid getting a cold sore yourself, ensure that you do not kiss anyone when they have a cold sore. Look for a blister that might look like a large pimple. It could be white in color, but don’t expect it to be white every time. Also, make sure you do not share hygienic items that you put into your mouth, such as a toothbrush, or mouth guard. Anything that you can put inside your mouth or on it should not be shared.

What to Avoid Doing When You Have a Cold Sore

The most preventative measure you can take to not spread a cold sore is to not come into contact with anyone where the infection is. For example, if you have a cold sore on your lips, you should not kiss anyone until the cold sore falls off. You don’t want to have oral sex, even if you don’t have Type 2. Also, do not share anything with anyone, such as your chap stick, fork, or anything of the like.

What to Do to Avoid a Breakout from Happening

Cold sores have certain triggers that can make an outbreak more likely. Some of these triggers include getting your period, stress, having a cold, having a fever, allergy season, sleep deprivation, and even sunburns. Any food products that contain amino acids should be cut out of your diet while you have a cold sore and to also prevent an outbreak. Products such as beer, soda, chocolate, pudding, peas, nuts, and seeds are some of the things to take out of your diet.

What Treatments are Available?

There is no cure for cold sores at this time. However, you can speed up the whole process of the cold sore itself and receive temporary relief while you have them. You can take pills for this relief and depending on how bad your cold sore is, an injection might be able to give even better results.


Cold sores are nothing to ignore. They have the potential to end your life, depending on your health status. Just remember to be careful when kissing someone and, do not share other people’s personal items.

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