Friday, September 26, 2014

Causes and Symptoms of Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by a virus. They are usually blisters that appear around the mouth and lips; they are highly contagious, but not dangerous. Around 60% of the population has suffered this kind of herpes at some point in their lives. On average, infected persons experience 2 to 3 episodes per year, but this figure can vary significantly from one individual to another.


The virus that causes it is called herpes simplex 1, relative of herpes simplex type 2, which is causing the known sexual disease. About 80% of people in North America have herpes type 1 latent (inactive) living permanently in their agencies.

This normally is a dormant inside nerve cells, and the immune system is normally able to maintain it in its inactive state. When an infected person is exposed to a "detonator", or if the immune system weakens, then the virus multiplies rapidly and extends from nerve cells abroad in the skin, usually on the lips. This produces a characteristic tingling sensation and subsequent groups of blisters.

Specific triggers include:

- Sunlight or sunburn
- Mental or physical stress
- Physical irritation of the lips (e.g., after a visit to the dentist)
- Fever, for example, because of the flu or other infections
- Cold climates
- Fatigue
- Menstrual periods

The virus is contracted to come into direct contact with herpes blisters or the liquid inside, which contains abundance of virus. This can easily pass through the hands of someone who has touched the blisters. It can also occur by sharing toothbrushes, vessels, cutlery, towels, lipstick or other personal items that are contaminated. Once the wounds left from ooze or crust has formed, the person is no longer contagious.

Symptoms and complications

People with cold sores may feel unusual sensations around the mouth in the 24 hours before appearing blisters, such as tingling, burning, pain, or numbness. This is called prodrome or warning that herpes will appear in that place. The skin becomes red and blisters are formed. They exude a liquid clear for a few days, which dries leaving a yellow crust for a period of 3 to 5 days approximately. Usually feels some pain the first day after the blisters burst, but often disappears as the crust is formed. Complete recovery takes 10 to 14 days.

The disease usually causes these lesions or blisters anywhere around the lips. Other areas, such as the inside of the mouth, the nostrils, or even the surface of the eye, can also be affected. It is possible that the virus is transmitted to other parts of the body if the blisters and then other places touched. Cold sores in the mouth may cause difficulties for example to speak or eat. If the eyes are infected can damage their surface, which could lead to losing sight. On very rare occasions, you can reach the brain, causing viral meningitis or encephalitis. The virus that causes cold sores can also be transmitted to the genitals during oral sex, causing genital herpes.

Herpes simplex type 1 never disappears entirely; It can be activated again and return. The majority of canker sores do not leave scars; However, if an open blister becomes infected with bacteria, or lesions are returned in one place, you can form scars. People with weakened immune systems tend to have more deaf pain and heal slower.
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