Herpes Simplex: A Viral Infection That Causes Cold Sores

The most common infection that occurs on lips is the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The sore from a herpes simplex infection is commonly called a cold sore or fever blister. Studies document that seventy to ninety percent of the U.S. population has been exposed to the herpes simplex virus, usually in childhood.

There is no cure for cold sores. After the first infection, the virus remains in the body. This is why cold sores always seem to come back in the same location.

What to expect during a cold sore outbreak

No matter what triggers a cold sore outbreak, people often first notice a tingling sensation on the face or lip. The lip will then turn red and blister, and pain can occur. The blisters can rupture leaving a scab that usually lasts up to five to seven days. Learn more about the Stages of a Cold Sore.

Some people can experience reoccurring cold sore symptoms or lip sore outbreaks. If you get frequent herpes outbreaks, you can ask your dentist or physician about cold sore remedy options.

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