Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cold Sores

Cold sores is also called fever blisters or Herpes simplex, it is characterized by groups of fluid-filled blisters and affects skin and nervous system. Often erupts around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. This type of infection is caused by herpes virus (type 1) is contagious. The initial infection or primary herpes, which often occurs before adulthood, may be confused with a cold or flu and can cause painful lesions to erupt throughout the mouth.

If a person is infected with primary herpes, the virus stays in the body and causes occasional attacks. Sometimes the virus remains inactive.

Causes

Cold sores are caused by the virus known as Herpes simplex type I (HSV-1), which is different from the virus that infects genitals (HSV-2).

After the first infection, the virus lies dormant in the nerves or skin around the original area. The infected person will be at risk of having more outbreaks throughout life.

Typically an outbreak will last anywhere from three days to one week. The blisters on the face and nose are at risk of serious complications from an infection involving the mouth or nose.

In rare cases, the herpes virus can infect the brain and the central nervous system. This can produce meningitis or encephalitis. These types of infections can only occur if the infected person has weakened immune systems.

Some causes of cold sores includes the following:

  • Biting your cheek, tongue, or lip
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Wearing Braces
  • Burning your mouth from hot food or drinks
  • Induced drugs that might cause mouth sores include chemotherapeutic agents, aspirin, barbiturates, penicillin, streptomycin, and sulfonamides.

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