Cold Sore Causes
Cold Sore Causes - Overview
The herpes simplex type 1 and sometimes type 2 virus causes cold sores.
Normally, HSV1 occurs above the waist and HSV2 occurs below the waist.
However neither genital nor oral herpes are site specific.
This means that both types can infect any part of the body via:
For example, a toddler with a cold sore may get a painful herpetic whitlow on the fingers by sucking its thumb, or a person may contract genital herpes by picking at a cold sore and then touching their genitals while going to the bathroom, and so on.
In rare cases, Herpes Keratitis could even infect the brain.
The good news is that autoinoculation only occurs in newly infected people during the six to eight week period following the first or “primary” HSV1 or HSV2 virus infection.
During this time the immune system develops antibodies to the virus in a process called "seroconversion."
Approximately six weeks after the first signs of a primary infection, the resultant antibodies prevent a person transferring an additional form of their herpes virus to another part of their body.
The lessons?To avoid transmitting the virus to yourself and others:
How the Herpes Virus Becomes Dormant
After the primary infection, the herpes virus retreats down the nerve to the nearest neural junction known collectively as a “ganglion”.
In the case of genital herpes, the ganglia is located at the base of the spine; in the case of a cold sore or fever blister, at the tip of the jawbone behind the ear.
Once there, the virus goes into a dormant state.
It can remain inactive for months or even years, until something triggers it back into activity.
It then travels back up the nerves to the surface of the skin where it either causes a cold sore outbreak or indulges in viral shedding.
Known Cold Sore Causes and Triggers
Other factors related to cold sore causes:
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