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Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are the small red bumps or blisters that appear around the mouth and lips, but how do you get cold sores? What causes fever blisters on the lips?

What causes cold sores?

  1. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus strain one (HSV-1).
  2. In fact, 67% of the world population under age 50 has HSV-1 because it is so contagious.1
  3. Most people aren’t sure when they first encountered the virus as it’s usually contracted in early childhood where it may not appear as a visible cold sore until later in life.
  4. For most people, HSV-1 remains inactive and they may never have an outbreak or even know they have the virus.
  5. Recurrent cold sores are caused by the virus “waking up” and infecting the skin cells around the lips and mouth.

How do you get cold sores?

Unfortunately, there are many ways to contract the HSV-1 virus. Here is how to get cold sores:

  1. Kissing a person infected with the virus. They don’t necessarily have to have a cold sore at the time to spread the virus to others.
  2. Sharing objects like toothbrushes, water bottles, drinking glasses, silverware and lip balms with a person infected with the virus.
  3. It is also possible to spread the virus from the mouth to the eyes and other parts of the body.

Why do you get cold sores?

Once you are infected, people get cold sores because the virus never leaves your body. You may experience one initial outbreak of fever blisters with no recurrence, multiple outbreaks a year, or you may never experience symptoms.

Reasons for cold sore outbreaks include:

  1. Weakened Immune System: They’re called cold sores and fever blisters for a reason: when your immune system is compromised, you’re more susceptible to an outbreak. So when you feel a cold, fever, or the flu coming on, take the right precautions and rest up.
  2. Stress: Stress can also wear down your immune system, giving that dormant cold sore a chance to launch a sneak attack. Instead, when you feel stressed, breathe deeply and try to relax.
  3. Sun Exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun exposure can trigger cold sores. Always wear an SPF lip balm and try to stay out of the sun.
  4. Injury or Trauma: If lips are cut or dry and chapped, it leaves them exposed to bacteria or viruses to enter. Make sure to keep your lips moisturized and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Abreva for Cold Sores

If you’re looking to get rid of a cold sore faster*, use a medicated cold sore treatment like Abreva. Using Abreva at the first tingle of a cold sore blocks the virus from spreading and infecting healthy cells. Abreva reduces the duration of pain, burning, itching or tingling.

Does Abreva Work?

Abreva gets results faster by shortening cold sore healing time. In fact, median healing time of a cold sore with Abreva is 4.1 days used at the first sign, whereas if left untreated, a cold sore can last approximately 8-10 days.

Abreva cold sore cream comes in a tube or pump and uses the same formula. Of course, to be sure Abreva is right for you, always read and follow the label or ask your doctor or pharmacist.