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Abbreviate your cold sore with Abreva


Facts and Triggers - Cold Sores

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is a recurrent herpes infection. After primary infection in the oral region, the virus travels through nearby nerves and establishes a dormant infection in a nerve-centre (ganglion).

It may stay dormant forever or, in approximately a quarter to a third of people, the virus will occasionally replicate and travel down the nerve again to the body surface, where it begins to replicate in skin cells. This means that the blisters in a cold sore will contain the same infectious virus which originally infected the person. In the immunocompetent person, the cold sore will remain demarcated and will crust over in a few days. Most patients will feel tingling and numbness a day or two before the eruption of the cold sore.

Does the virus disappear from the body when the cold sore is healed?

No, the virus will remain in the body forever.

Why do I get cold sores and some donít?

Little is known about this but some patients may be genetically predisposed to get cold sores.

What triggers a cold sore?

Exposure to extreme sunlight such as skiing, sailing, or tanning on the beach. Stress, menstruation, depression, and skinlaser treatment may also trigger a cold sore.

For more information, please read our article "The Facts About Cold Sores" as seen on Canadian Living.com.

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