Cold Sore Blister – Do I Have One?
The cold sore blister is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. Cold sore blisters are a common condition of the skin that affects about 15% to 30% of the population of the United States. Most people will never experience and actual breakout, but I will explain the signs symptoms and general prevention.
The cold sore blister usually develops within 3-30 days after contact with an infected person. Infection generally occurs through saliva, kissing, touching the infected persons’ saliva and then your mouth or other areas on your face; eyes and nose being the most prominent. Also, sharing items such as makeup and razors may spread the virus. Parents often infect their children during personal contact or child birth. The virus can also be transferred from the mouth to the genitals and vice versa and every precaution should be taken.
Signs Of A Cold Sore Blister
A tingling and redness may appear in the infected area, this is known as the “prodromal” or initial phase. This can continue for just a couple hours up to a couple of days.
After the “prodromal” phase the body begins to make anti-bodies to fight off the virus. It is know multiplying at the nerve endings and the infection is beginning. This part of the infection lasts for about 24 hours.
Sacs or clusters of sacs will now form in the reddened area and begin to form blisters, this in known as the “pre-lesion” phase. They are solid and at this point contain no pus, but may be very painful and itchy. The “pre-lesion” phase may last from 24-48 hours.
When pus filled lesions form we are the “lesion” stage which usually lasts for 24-48 hours. The lesions are generally quite painful and will break open secreting a watery fluid. In more severe cases you may experience flu like symptoms and swollen glands
Crusting will occur shortly after the “lesion” stage of the cold sore blister. This is a pre-scab stage where the lesion will begin to heal, but will still crack open due to facial movement; eating, yawning, etc. Fluid will still come from the cold sore blister and still contains the HSV-1 virus.
Scabbing will follow and usually last from 9-14 days at which time the scab will become smaller and less painful. “Herpes Shedding” may still occur during this phase; the virus is still active and may be transferred. The skin of the infected area generally will remain red for sometime as the skin rejuvenates itself.
Many over the counter treatments are available such as Abreva, Dynamiclear and H-Prevention are available and help lessen the affects and duration of breakouts. Stress management and diet can help prevent future breakouts as well as vitamin supplements such as L-Lysine. Before taking on any preventive regimen it is strongly advised that you consult with your physician.