Causes of Cold Sores

Causes of Cold Sores
by Dr. Kimberly H.
11/18/2011

Cold sores can be embarrassing to deal with and are very uncomfortable. In order to eliminate them from occurring or at least understand how they work, it is helpful to get an idea of the causes of cold sores. They appear as small red blisters or sores with fluid inside. The most common locations for them to appear are on the lips, nose, or mouth. While the cause of cold sores can be a variety of things or nothing at all, it is a good idea to determine the different causes that it could be.

The virus that creates cold sores is recognized as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus is categorized into two types, type 1 and type 2. The occasionally cold sore is typically caused by type 1. The virus is distributed very easily, such as kissing somebody or even physical contact of the infection. Cold sores are the most contagious when there is an active blister-like sore, so it is recommended to stay free of sharing drinks or kissing in this time. Surprisingly, those with the type 1 or type 2 HSV can still spread this virus when there are not present cold sores.

There are many reasons why a person may be more vulnerable to the HSV virus at particular times more than others. A lot of people contract HSV when they have a fever, flu, or cold. The body’s immune system is weakened and it becomes easier for them to acquire a cold sore. While it may sound strange, the body is also more likely to contract HSV when they are under a lot of stress or hormonal changes. This is, again, due to the weakened immune system.

Other reasons for the HSV virus are a little harder to detect, such as frequent ultraviolet radiation through extended exposure to the sun. Using sunscreen on your face and a chapstick with SPF can help reduce the chance of contracting a cold sore, however. Trauma to the skin is another possible cause of the virus, but it is not closely related either.

When your body is lacking in lysine and has more arginine, the herpes virus is very easy to multiply. By reducing the amount of arginine in your body, you can make it almost impossible for cold sores to show up.

A surprising cause of cold sores is actually a low pH level. Those in perfect health are around 7.5 and the number remains stable due to a healthy diet. When you eat an unbalanced diet, your pH level may range quite drastically and begin to cause cold sores to appear.

With all of the different causes and the possibility of the virus getting contracted in a perfectly healthy person make it difficult to determine what put an individual at risk for a cold sore. Since this virus is one that can cause an outbreak anytime from once or twice a month to once a year, it is something that needs to be treated rather than putting in a lot of effort of avoiding the virus all together.

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