By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute
Cold sores are a contagious disease caused by infection with a virus (herpes simplex). The disease turns out like sore blisters and later sores on the lips. The disease comes repeatedly - often with a strong cold. Call the doctor immediately if the wounds spread to the nose or eyes.
Cold sores are a contagious disease caused by infection with a virus (herpes simplex). About one third of the adults have had cold sores at one time or another in their lives.
Often the disease begins with redness and an uncomfortable tingling or stinging of the skin at the place where the bladders later emerge. After a few days, small fluid-filled blisters develop which quickly break and become sore. The wounds are covered by a crust that usually falls off after 8 to 10 days.
The bladders and wounds sit on the lips and sometimes also in the mouth. In rare cases, herpes simplex can attack the eye, which becomes red and painful.
The worst thing about cold sores is that the wounds tend to come repeatedly. If you have had an outbreak of cold sores, there will always be a risk of the wounds coming back. Typically, the wounds occur in the case of colds (hence the name of cold sores) or other infection. Also, sunlight can cause the wounds to come again. Every fifth will have repeated outbursts of cold sores throughout life.