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Sign up to stay informed with the latest womens health updates on MedicineNet delivered to your inbox FREE! What You Need to KnowCold sores are proof that life can be unfair: Some people get them, others don't.
After a person's initial oral herpes infection (even a subclinical one) some virus particles (virions) will remain in their system, and will do so forever. Injury (physical trauma) to the lips or surrounding skin, such as a bite, scrape, cut or dermabrasion. 5 to 10% of the general population experiences 6 or more outbreaks per year (Rooney 1993), with some people having as many as 12 or more (McCarthy 2012). Most people probably have somewhere between "less than 2" (Rooney 1993) and 4 (McCarthy 2012) per year.All told, somewhere between 16 to 38% of the general population suffers with these lesions. After a person's primary oral herpes infection, the virions recede, via the sensory nerve fibers servicing the affected area, to their corresponding ganglion.
Frequently correlating with one of the triggering factors listed above, the dormant virus particles become activated. Once reactivation has occurred, the virus travels along nerve fibers from the ganglion to those areas of skin around the mouth that the fibers service. The virus exits the nerve fibers and enters the neighboring skin cells where it starts to replicate (multiply).As the number of virions increases, the infected skin cells ultimately die.
The virus - This includes both the specific herpes strain as well as the number of virions residing in the ganglion. The triggering conditions - Factors include the relative severity of the event and the health status of the host at the time.Host genetics - As mentioned above, recent research suggests that a person's genetic makeup can influence their susceptibility to the reactivation process.
It's thought that during "normal" times a person's immune system is able to keep the herpes virus in check. As you read through the list of known triggers above, it's easy enough to understand how some of them do correlate with time periods when a person's immune system is stressed. That means when virus reactivation is triggered and they travel back down the nerve, they're deposited in the same general location in the skin as with other outbreaks (see illustration).
Since a nerve ganglion (the location where the dormant virus resides) is a type of nerve "hub," it's possible that on some occasions the nerve fibers traveled are different than before.
By observing which factors typically trigger their cold sores, a person can learn when to anticipate an outbreak.
Besides being itchy and painful, cold sores (also called fever blisters) make you feel self-conscious. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.

For some women, cold sores are more frequent around the time of their monthly periods.Immune system weakness or deficiency.
Or extreme dryness, wind or cold exposure that results in chapping.Dental treatment can act as a trigger for breakouts. However, the number of cold sores that a person gets typically diminishes after the age of 35 years (Opstelten 2008).
That seems to make sense considering that it's a time of year when people are often stressed (such as from a hectic holiday season) or exposed to environmental conditions (cold, wind, dryness) that can result in lip chapping.
But when it's compromised (like during sickness) the virus is able to overcome body defenses and cause the formation of a lesion.
That's because for best results it's imperative that any treatment is begun at the earliest sign of lesion formation. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. They're caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), passed on through contact with infected skin or body fluids. In this solution, dip cotton tampons and put on the lips several times a day.SaltSalt is another fast and effective treatment of oral herpes.
Who Gets Cold Sores and WhyMore than half of us have been infected with the HSV-1 virus, usually from well-meaning kisses from relatives or romantic partners. The inner membrane, which is located on the inside of the shell, is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. The result will make you happy.GarlicWe all know about the miraculous properties of garlic, which is used in various diseases, and herpes is not the exception. You will get an excellent homemade cream against herpes, which will lubricate the affected area on the lips. Many people have familiar triggers that tend to bring HSV-1 out of seclusion, causing cold sores. Some people get cold sores twice a year; for others, it's a frustrating, stressful, monthly ritual. Canker Sores Aren't the SameCold sores usually appear on the lip; canker sores affect the inside of the mouth. When You're ContagiousA cold sore is caused by skin damage as the herpes virus reproduces inside infected cells. Herpes should be abundantly lubricated several times, then lubricate the affected area with chamomile cream or marigold oil, so it won’t form a crust.

Cold sores are most contagious when blisters are present and just after they break open, until the skin is completely healed and looks normal again. But some people can transmit the virus through their saliva at any time, even if they never get cold sores. The cold sore virus is usually present on an infected person's lip, even if there's no obvious sore. Because HSV-1 can also live in saliva, sharing kitchen utensils or drinking glasses can also spread it.
Easing Cold Sore PainWhile the first outbreak can last up to 2 weeks, recurrent outbreaks usually last about 1 week. There is no cure for cold sores, but some over-the-counter creams and gels can help with burning and pain.
Antiviral CreamsAntiviral creams can reduce the time it takes a cold sore to heal if applied at the first sign of a cold sore. Prescription Cold Sore MedicationsOral antiviral prescription medications can also reduce the amount of healing time when taken at the first sign of a cold sore -- red or itchy skin, for example.
Another one, a single-dose acyclovir tablet (Sitavig), is put directly on your gums and releases medicine as it dissolves.
They are not as common, but cold sores can appear anywhere on the face, including on the cheek, chin, or nose.
Can You Spread It on Your Body?It's possible, though rare, to spread the cold sore virus from one part of the body to another. It can happen by touching a cold sore, then touching an area of broken skin or a mucous membrane, the moist protective lining of skin found in areas like the eyes or vagina. You can prevent this self-spread -- or autoinoculation -- by washing your hands and not touching the cold sore. When Herpes Infects the EyeOther areas the cold sore virus can infect are the finger (herpetic whitlow) and the eye (ocular herpes). When kids get herpetic whitlow, it's usually because they've spread the virus from a cold sore by finger- or thumb-sucking. Preventing OutbreaksIt can be tough to prevent cold sores, but reducing your triggers can help.

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