How Do Cold Sores Spread?
Cold sores are a widespread affliction, with an estimated 3.7 billion people under 50 being affected globally. Cold sores are simply a nuisance for many people, but they can be a painful and debilitating condition for others. While most infected people will experience at least one outbreak of cold sores in their lifetime, some will have regular outbreaks. While there is no cure for the condition, there are treatments that can help to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Because they are transmissible, many people ask “how do cold sores spread?”, “how contagious are they?”, and “what treatments are out there?
If you’ve dealt with cold sores in the past, you are probably wondering “how do cold sores spread?” Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that appear on the lips and around the mouth. They develop in response to a common viral infection. Normal skin is resistant to the virus, but broken mucous membranes like the lining around your mouth, eyes, or genitals allow exposure. The virus lives inside your nerve cells and can remain dormant for years once you have the virus. However, the virus may become active again due to various triggers.
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When reactivated, the virus travels down the nerve to your skin, where it begins replicating. This process usually takes 2-4 days, and during this time, you may experience prodromal symptoms such as tingling, itching, burning, or pain. After another day or two, a cluster of small blisters will appear on your lip or around your mouth.
How contagious are cold sores?
Generally, a cold sore is contagious for around 15 days. The first sign of a developing cold sore tends to be a burning or tingling sensation in the area, and by this point, it may already be transmissible. The cold sore will appear as a cluster of blisters on the skin's surface. Typically, these blisters will burst, resulting in an open and painful sore. Once the scab falls off, and the skin heals, it is very unlikely that the virus can be transmitted.
Once the virus comes into contact with the skin, it can enter the body through a small cut or opening. The virus then begins to replicate, causing the formation of blisters. These blisters eventually break open, releasing the virus into the mucous membranes of the mouth or nose. The virus can then spread to other people through saliva or mucus.
In addition to being highly contagious, the condition is also very difficult to treat. There is no cure for the virus, and it can remain latent in the body for years. It is a very serious health concern, and people should take precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Even when the virus is inactive, and there are no cold sores present, a person can transmit the virus, though it is highly unlikely. A person is far more likely to pass it on when cold sores are present.
Many triggers can cause the virus to reactivate. They may include dental work, emotional distress, fever, hormonal changes, and infections. Fortunately, people who develop cold sores may experience them less frequently as they age. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the condition tends to reactivate less often in people over 35. Reactivation is most common in the first year after the initial outbreak.
Are You Looking for Safe and Effective Cold Sore Treatments?
Quantum Health's cold sore treatments are based on the latest scientific research and can provide fast and effective relief. Lip Clear Lysine+ is a lip moisturizer that contains a blend of herbs and nutrients. Applied at the first sign of a cold sore, Lip Clear Lysine+ can potentially help shorten the outbreak's duration and reduce the severity of symptoms.