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.


Cold Sore Tingle Stage

Stage 1

Cold Sore Blister Stage

Stage 2

Cold Sore Ulcer Stage

Stage 3

Cold Sore 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 world 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 where it may not appear as a visible cold sore.

Up  to 90% of people are affected with HSV1 virus
1 in 4 have recurring cold sores
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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, a sexually transmitted infection.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. Herpes simplex virus. World Health Organization. (2016, January). Retrieved April 27, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs400/en/
  2. Oral Herpes. American Sexual Health Association. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/herpes/oral-herpes/