Close up of a woman with a cold sore on her lip

Close up of a woman with a cold sore on her lip

WHAT ARE COLD SORES? 

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters or oral herpes, are very common. They can be easy to recognize as they usually appear as red bumps or blisters around the lips and mouth but can also be seen on other areas of the face such as the nose.

COLD SORE STAGES

tingle stage

Stage 1

blister stage

Stage 2

ulcer stage

Stage 3

scabbing stage

Stage 4

What causes cold sores?

Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the oral form of the virus. In fact, 67% of the population under age 50 has HSV-1 because it is so contagious.1 Once you are infected, the virus never leaves your body. Most people aren’t exactly sure when they first encountered the virus. It’s usually contracted in early childhood, when it may not appear as a visible cold sore.

Infographic stating that 67% of people are affected with HSV-1 virus.

UP TO 67%

OF PEOPLE ARE INFECTED WITH THE HSV-1 VIRUS1

Infographic stating that 1 in 4 people have recurring cold sores.

1 IN 4

HAVE RECURRING COLD SORES2 

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Did you know…

HSV-1 is the oral form of the virus and appears as a cold sore or fever blister. The other form is HSV-2.1

What happens when I get a cold sore?

For the majority of people, HSV-1 remains inactive throughout their lives and they may never know they have the virus. Around 1 in 4 people will experience recurrent infections.2 This occurs when the cold sore virus “wakes up,” infects the skin cells in or around the lip or mouth and causes a visible and contagious sore. This usually happens after something has triggered the virus. Find out what your triggers are

  1. World Health Organization. Herpes simplex virus. (2016, January). Retrieved April 27, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs400/en/
  2. American Sexual Health Association. Oral Herpes. (n.d). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/herpes/oral-herpes/

Learn What Causes Your Cold Sores

Take our quiz to discover your triggers