July 02, 2013

What Is A Cold Sore?

Signs and symptoms for cold sores

Cold sores--also called fever blisters--are fluid-filled lesions caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 infection.  If you've had one before, you may sense a new one coming by a telltale tingling on your lip.  Sure enough, in a day or two, red blisters appear on your lip.  It's another cold sore, probably happening at a bad time, and there's no way to hide it or make it go away quickly.  Cold sores are quite different from canker sores.  Though you can't cure or prevent cold sores, you can take steps to reduce their frequency and to limit the duration of an occurrence.  They are small, painful, raised fluid-filled blisters.  Tingling often precedes them, and they usually last 10 to 14 days.  

Signs and symptoms may not start for as long as 20 days after exposure to the herpes simplex virus, although more typically they appear within about one week of exposure.  The blisters form, break and ooze.  Then a yellow crust forms and finally sloughs off to uncover pinkish skin that heals without a scar.  

Source:  Mayo Clinic    

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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