What Causes Cold Sores?

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By amara
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. Tan, J. (2017, August 18). Is stress causing your cold sores? Www.Avogel.co.uk. https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/immune-system/cold-sores/is-stress-causing-your-cold-sores/
  • 2. World. (2020, January 5). Herpes simplex virus. Who.Int; World Health Organization: WHO. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus
  • 3. Hall, O. J., Klein, S. L. (2017). Progesterone-based compounds affect immune responses and susceptibility to infections at diverse mucosal sites. Mucosal Immunology, 10(5), 1097–1107. Nature Research. https://doi.org/10.1038/mi.2017.35
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Cold sores refer to a group of blisters that can appear on the outside of the lips, nose, or cheeks. This condition is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can be categorized into type 1 herpes (HSV-1) and type 2 herpes (HSV-2). Most often, sores that appear on the mouth are caused by HSV-1, which contributes to 90% of all herpes cases.

Cold sores can be very painful and embarrassing for people, and some individuals have recurrent cases that are hard to tackle. While this condition is not typically harmful to adults or children, it can be dangerous if passed on to young babies. While the virus that causes cold sores does not ever go away completely, there are several triggers that can cause cold sores to form.

1. Stress and Fatigue

Both stress and fatigue can place a major toll on a person’s immune system, which can lead to the activation of dormant herpes within the individual and cause cold sores to develop. However, a weakened immune system only triggers the blisters in people who already have herpes in their body.

There has been much research done on the severe effects stress has on the body, from slowing down the immune system to making restful sleep nearly impossible to achieve. Being under constant stress or consistently not getting enough sleep at night makes it difficult for the body to fight off herpes, so that symptoms such as cold sores may get out of control.1Tan, J. (2017, August 18). Is stress causing your cold sores? Www.Avogel.co.uk. https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/immune-system/cold-sores/is-stress-causing-your-cold-sores/

Cold Sores

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