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photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is responsible for the painful blisters called cold sores. These blisters most often appear on the mouth and lips, but can spread to anywhere on the body. After forming, they burst and ooze until a crust develops over them, normally lasting a week to 10 days.

HSV type 1 virus is spread through kissing an infected person or sharing towels, razors, cups or silverware. HSV type 2, the version of the virus normally behind genital herpes, can also cause cold sores. Performing oral sex with a cold sore can give the recipient genital lesions of HSV type 1. Similarly, someone performing oral on a person infected with genital herpes can become infected with cold sores.

Sometimes cold sores do not appear until 20 days after contraction. Certain foods, stress, fevers, colds, allergies, menstruation, and sun exposure can all trigger a sore. 90 percent of the population gets a cold sore at some point in their lives. Most will develop antibodies and never get another, but about 40 percent have repeated cold sores.

Cold sores are a mild disease. However, if a person has AIDs or an immune system deficiency, the herpes simplex virus could be dangerous. When a cold sore infection spread to the eyes, it can cause blindness. If it spreads to the brain it can cause meningitis or encephalitis.

Do you suffer from frequent cold sores? Consider joining one of IMMUNOe’s clinical research studies on cold sores.