Causes of Cold Sores on Lips

Are you aware of the causes of cold sores on lips or elsewhere on the body? Here is an article which will take you through an easy-to-understand explanation for your queries about this disease.
Also known as fever blisters, cold sores is one of the painful and most contagious infections. The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) is known to be the main culprit which triggers this infection. According to surveys, around 50%-80% of people in the entire world is affected by this virus. However, not all of them experience the outbreak of cold sores. Lips, nose, cheeks, mouth, eyelids and fingers. These are the parts of the body which mainly suffer from the fever blister outbreaks. Apart from being a painful ailment, cold sores is also a cosmetic concern for many people.

Signs and Symptoms of Cold Sores on Lips

Before cold sores hit you, you may have a tingling sensation or pain on your lips. Post 1-2 days of this sign, the blisters would occur. The blisters are small, painful, filled with fluid and the skin around these blisters become red and raised. Although cold sores may affect any part of the body, as described above, lips are the ones which are typically traumatized. In some cases, nostrils and chin may also be the targeted areas.

What Causes Cold Sores On Lips?

As mentioned earlier, the herpes simplex virus type 1 causes cold sores on lips and on other parts of the body as well. The herpes simplex virus type 2 is associated with what is known as genital herpes. However, either type of the virus can cause fever blisters on the genitals or in the facial area of the affected person. After the virus affects a person, it may switch onto a dormant stage for many years and the infection may be asymptomatic. However, factors which may trigger an outbreak of cold sores on lips may include dry and injured lips, stress, menstruation, insomnia or sleep disorders. Even, tooth extraction, digestive problems, common cold, flu and over exposure to sunlight are known to trigger the outbursts of the fever blisters. So if such conditions are kept from occurring, chances are few that anyone may suffer from a cold sore outbreak.


Unfortunately, scientists have not been able to come up with any remedy for cold sores. However, there are enough measures which when followed properly, one may reduce the frequency of the outbursts and duration of the occurrence. These blisters are known to clear up on their own within about two weeks and without any treatment. However, to relieve the symptoms, medications such as Lidocaine and Benzocaine may provide some help. One can even avail oral antiviral medications which help in shortening the duration of cold sores and decrease the pain. These are, however, effective when taken early. Some patients may be prescribed antiviral medications to prevent any future recurrences.

Apart from taking the required medications at home, you can use ice or warm compresses to the sores to relieve pain and avoid the urge to picking at or irritating the blisters. Also, pay heed to the importance of keeping your lips and skin, well hydrated and moisturized.
By Rajib Singha
Published: 8/7/2010
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