Cold sores are the most common clinical manifestations of a herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. This virus can cause a multitude of symptoms but it most commonly leads to localized blistering and pain that lasts days to weeks. Cold sore refers to orolabial herpes which is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Type 1 where as genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease, is caused by HSV Type 2.
Did you know…
that herpes simplex is one of the most common infections in the world? Nearly all adults have been affected on one or more occasions. Once it has infected the body, the virus remains dormant in the nerves that supply sensation to the skin. It is a life-long infection, and attacks can be triggered by stress, illness, trauma, intense sun-exposure and immunosuppression.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can cold sores be treated?
Mild cold sores that a minimally symptomatic do not require treatment. Moderate to severe eruptions can be treated with topical or systemic anti-viral therapy. These treatments can shorten the length of the attack if started early enough, but they cannot eradicate the virus.
Can cold sores be prevented?
Minimizing triggers can decrease the frequency of attacks. If indicated, antiviral medications can be taken continuously to prevent frequent attacks.