Cold sores are very small, painful, fluid-filled blisters that are caused by the HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus. They are known to occur in the mouth region and may also be found on the nose and lips. While they heal quickly, the virus tends to be resistant and the sores can re-occur. Let us examine and see the causes of cold sores.
The virus typically resides in a dormant state within the body’s nerve cells. The body’s immune system is normally able to keep the virus in its inactive state. When an infected person is exposed to a “trigger,” or if the immune system is weakened, then the virus quickly multiplies and spreads down the nerve cell and out onto the skin, usually on the lips. This produces the characteristic tingling sensation and subsequent clusters of blisters
Different Causes Of Cold Sores
The saliva is the most potent carrier of the virus. The disease is very contagious when the blisters are active and the person may have to be quarantined. There are instances of the infection being passed on even when the sores are not prominent.
A change or decline in immunity can cause the virus to become active. This happens if the patient is on immuno suppressant drugs and has compromised immunity. Flare-ups of fever blisters are also seen in AIDS patients.
Although the reason is not quite known, certain instances of acute stress can also exacerbate the condition of cold sores and may cause the condition to flare up.
Fevers, Colds And Flu
The virus lays dormant in a person for several years and may suddenly become active especially during a phase of normal flu or fever. The virus then travels down to the superficial nerve cells on the surface of the mouth and causes blisters. Certain infections like severe colds may thus precipitate an attack of cold sores. That is why this condition is often termed as ‘fever blisters’.
Excessive exposure to the sun’s rays may also cause cold sores to occur. This usually happens when the sores are in an active stage and the sun light hastens the process of blisters appearing.
Oral trauma like harsh dental treatments can also cause the infection to flare up. The blisters may suddenly appear within a couple of days after undergoing dental treatment. Although this is unusual, it is known to occur.
Menstruation in women is also known to trigger cold sores in women. These are the commonly found causes and triggers of cold sores. While there is no cure for them, they can be prevented through good hygiene and care.
An unhealthy diet and malnutrition can further affect the immunity of a person and this may lead to the recurrence of cold sores. Thus, it becomes important to eat well and take adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals to stay in good health.