My aim of writing this article is to show you pictures of cold sores and how to identify them. Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are groups of small fluid-filled blisters that usually develop outside the mouth, lips and around the nostrils. These sores are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). In fact, anyone can get a cold sore. Since the virus responsible for cold sores is very contagious, many people contract the virus through physical contact with an inffected person.
Once an individual gets infected with herpes simplex virus, it stays in the person’s body hiding until triggered. However, these virus tends to stay permanently in the body, there is no cure as of now to get rid of HSV virus. Well, am not here to waste much of your time. But for you to understand better about cold sores, you will need to know the stages involved, the symptoms and how they form.
According to studies, researchers discovered that more than half of Americans ages 14 to 49 carry the herpes simplex virus which causes cold sores to develop. It’s important to know that, it’s not everyone that has HSV-1 that will experience cold sores symptoms. Cold sores can only appear if only the herpes simplex virus becomes activated.
Once the virus becomes activated, a cold sores breakout and symptoms become apparent within a few days after. During recurrences, the blisters tend to develop in the same place as previous outbreaks, because the virus reactivates in the same spot each time. Most people experience fewer severe symptoms with a recurrence, as the severity of outbreaks generally lessens over time.
However, if you are just experiencing an outbreak for the first time, you may experience more severe symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, headache, general body pain, swollen lymph nodes and fever. (1)
Pictures of cold sores + stages
During an outbreak, it can take up to two to four weeks for cold sores to heal completely. Cold sores passes through different stages as it develops and heals. Although, the symptoms and stages of an outbreak can vary depending on whether or not this is your first case or a recurrence.
Outbreaks often begin with symptoms such as a tingling, tightness, soreness, or itching around the lips or any area of the face. At this stage, the virus starts to wake up and multiple, the body also begins to fight back. After some few hours, clumps of red, fluid-filled blisters begin to form. The skin around the blisters is often red, swollen, and sore.
On day 4 or 5 of an outbreak, the blisters may merge together and burst open, resulting in small, open sores that ooze fluid. At this point, the sores are extremely painful and highly contagious. Try to avoid close physical contact with others as you can easily transmit the virus to them.
After some few days, the exposed and opened sores will begin to scab over as the body enters the healing process. (2)The sores will begin to dry out and scab. The scabs are often very itchy, may crack open, and can bleed. Avoid biting or picking at these scabs at this point, the sores are actually healing so don’t pick at them.
Once the outbreak is over, the body keeps the virus under control, the scabs will begin to fall off and the affected areas will heal.
Cold sores in mouth
There are numerous oral lesions that can occur in both adults and children. Cold sores only occur outside the mouth, but in some rare cases it can occur inside the mouth. However, cold sore is often confused with canker sore. Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that usually appear in the mouth – either on the tongue, gums, tongue, roof and floor of the mouth, inside the lips or on the lining of the cheeks.
Well, if you suspect that you have cold sores in mouth, you should not hesitate to see your dentist or doctor. There are available medical tests that can be conducted to identify a cold sore whether it’s outside or in the mouth. Learn more about – Canker sores vs Cold sores.