10 Cold Sores Symptoms

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By christine
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Reviewed: dr. stavarache
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Articles.' Cedars, www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cold-sores.html
  • 2. 'Oral Herpes.' Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/herpes-hsv1-and-hsv2/oral-herpes
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Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are a common infection around the mouth. They're usually caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and less commonly herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The National Institutes of Health estimates that by age 50, nearly 90 percent of all adults have been exposed to the virus. There's no cure for HSV-1.

For some individuals, the infection stays dormant and never causes an issue. However, others can experience reoccurring cold sore symptoms periodically throughout their lifetime. Signs of herpes simplex virus type 1 vary from flu-like symptoms to lesions, pain and itchiness.1‘Articles.’ Cedars, www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/c/cold-sores.html,2‘Oral Herpes.’ Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/herpes-hsv1-and-hsv2/oral-herpes

Lip Swelling

Lip swelling from cold sores is a typical inflammatory reaction during the initial phase of infection. After the area begins to swell and turn red, a cluster of small blisters form. These blisters are sometimes found on the lip and the skin around the mouth. HSV-1 sores can also form inside the mouth, around the nose or cheeks. These sores appear in the first 24 hours.

To reduce the discomfort, apply a cool, wet towel to the area for about 20 minutes, up to three times per day. Individuals with cold sores can also use ice wrapped in a towel.

Cold Sores

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