Cold sores, or fever blisters, are only one of many symptoms caused by the herpes simplex virus.
The symptoms of the herpes simplex virus will vary depending on the person and the stage at which they are at in the infection. For example, different symptoms will be seen in children compared to those an adult would experience, while the signs of a primary infection will differ from those seen in a recurrent outbreak.
Primary infection in children
Because a primary infection is often similar to a throat infection, it may sometimes be diagnosed as such. Usually seen in those under the age of five, the primary symptoms presented in children can include all or some of the following:
- Herpes simplex gingivostomatitis – described by the NHS in England as "swollen and irritated gums with small, painful sores in and around the mouth
- Sore throat
- Swollen throat glands
- An increase in the production of saliva
- A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above (fever)
- Feeling sick
Fortunately, as long as the child does not have a compromised immune system, first-time exposure to the HSV virus is usually harmless and no cause for alarm from parents. However, it's always best for parents to take their child to the doctor if they're concerned about complications.
Symptoms are at their worst during the primary infection. When the virus reactivates, cold sores are likely to be the only symptom.
It's important to remember that in the vast majority of cases if a child catches the HSV virus there is usually no need to worry. However, adults should practice a great deal of caution around babies, whose immune systems are yet properly developed. Parents and close family members with active fever blister outbreaks should never kiss a baby. There are unfortunately a number of cases where parents have kissed their child, even when they are not displaying visible cold sores and have caused their child to suffer from neonatal herpes, which can potentially be fatal if the virus spreads to the baby's organs.
Primary infection in adults
It is rare for adults to experience a primary infection. However, when they do, the symptoms are similar to those suffered by children.
Adults may complain of a sore throat, fever, blisters and, potentially, swollen glands. They might also notice bad breath. The blisters around their mouths are likely to develop and will eventually turn into ulcers, typically with grey or yellow centers to them.
Recurring cold sore symptoms
Although some people might suffer from swollen glands during a recurring outbreak, usually the only symptoms experienced following initial exposure are the fever blisters themselves.
The beginnings of the cold sore
The virus lies dormant in the ganglion and is controlled by the immune system. Factors which weaken the immune system, including overexposure to UV light, febrile illness and stress, can trigger the reactivation of the virus.
Sufferers of recurrent cold sores may already be familiar with the warning signs that an outbreak is coming. The telltale signs that a fever blister outbreak is on its way include feeling a tingling, itching, burning, or numbing sensation somewhere around the mouth area. These sensations are caused by the cells dying as the virus replicates itself.
Visible symptoms present themselves
After about a day, the person will notice small, fluid-filled blisters appearing. This is often the most painful stage and will typically last two days before the small blisters turn into larger ulcers.
These usually form somewhere on the outer edges of the lips and tend to reappear in the same place during every outbreak. The usual area affected will depend upon which sensory nerves the virus uses to travel back towards the skin cells, where it reactivates after dormancy.
The repairing time
Normally these ulcers will weep before scabbing over a few days later. They will completely heal without a scar shortly after this period. It's important to remember that cold sores remain very contagious from the first tingle to the time they've completely healed over, so you should take precautions, such as avoiding kissing and not sharing utensils, until the blister has completely healed.
Although cold sores will only last from eight to twelve days without treatment, the amount of discomfort, and potential embarrassment, suffered by an individual during this time is well worth trying to reduce or avoid altogether.
While most sores will heal in a relatively short time, sometimes the sore takes a lot longer to heal. If a fever blister hasn't healed after 10 days, appears to be more severe than your usual outbreaks, or if you're unsure about whether the lesion is a cold sore, then it's a good idea to make an appointment with your GP.
Once you have had a primary infection you might not experience fever, blisters, headaches, nausea, or the other unpleasant symptoms again, but carrying the HSV-1 virus may mean you'll suffer persistent, painful outbreaks of fever blisters for the rest of your life.
While cold sores are rarely serious and likely to heal on their own without treatment in around 12-14 days, they are painful, unsightly, and can cause significant embarrassment. Applying a cold sore ointment can help to ease the symptoms of your fever blister. Herstat Cold Sore Treatment can be applied at any stage of the cold sore outbreak to ease the pain, relieve dryness, help prevent cracked, sore lips and speed up the healing time by around 4 days.
Herstat Cold Sore Treatment has a pleasant smell and taste and is really easy to carry and apply. When the blend of mineral oils, waxes, antimicrobial Propolis ACF® and lanolin ingredients are applied regularly, directly over the affected area, it provides a moist environment that's perfect for speedy healing.
Buy a tube of Herstat Cold Sore Treatment today.