Cold Sore Stages

Active Stages of a Cold Sore
by Denny Bodoh

Cold sore stages occur in specific order beginning with the initial itching stage to the final healing. During this time, you are considered contagious and must use caution. During some of the stages, you will be more contagious than others. Let's take a look at the different cold sore stages.

Prodrome Stage of a Cold Sore:
Normally the herpes virus is latent - hiding in the nerve cells in the nerve ganglia, where the various nerves come together. When conditions are right, the herpes virus wakes up and begins its journey to the surface along the nerve fibers. This movement and arrival at the surface causes the target area to begin to feel irritated and itchy. You may also feel a burning or dryness sensation.  Your cold sore could be only one to two days away at this point.

Inflammation Stage of a Cold Sore:
This is the beginning of the herpes virus reproductive cycle. Once the virus reaches the surface, each one infects a nerve cell and starts forcing the cell to create copies of the invading virus. This causes swelling and redness at the cold sore site. Cold sore vesicles appear at this stage of a cold sore. These vesicles are tiny, hard, pimple like red bumps that are sometimes mistaken for acne type pimples. There is no relationship between cold sores and pimples.

Open sore stage of a cold sore:
Of all the cold sore stages, this is the stage people remember. This is the most unsightly, painful and contagious period of the cold sore stages. All the vesicles now break open and merge together to create one big open, weeping ulcer. Depending on how severe this outbreak is for you, you may have headaches, fever and swollen glands under your jawbone. The clear fluid that weeps from this sore is teeming with new virus and is extremely contagious and dangerous. You can spread this virus to other parts of your body with contaminated fingers or towels. If you get it in your eye, you can cause vision loss or blindness. The virus can live on objects like faucet handles for a day or two. Use extreme caution.

Crusting Stage of a Cold Sore:
Now you begin to mend as your cold sore develops a yellowish crust or scab. This is still a painful and very contagious period of your cold sore stages. The scab cracks when you eat or move your mouth causing pain. Keeping it oiled with olive oil or tea tree oil helps keep it flexible and less likely to crack. There is still fluid under the scab which you will see ooze out when the scab cracks. The sore is healing under the scab and is very irritating. Applying ice can give you blessed relief at this time.

Final Post-Scab Healing stage of a cold sore:
The scab has fallen off now. Your swollen glands should be just about back to normal. Your skin may still appear reddish and feel irritated. Healing is still going on under the new skin. Use caution as you are still contagious and the cold sore could return for an encore presentation. You are not totally healed until the redness disappears. This part of the healing process is very frustrating. It can take from 2 days to 14 days.

How to Shorten Your Cold Sore Stages:
Cold sore duration time varies depending on your health and your choice of cold sore treatments. On average cold sores last about 3 weeks to 4 weeks without treatment. The cold sore remedies that you get at the store are primarily comfort treatments. Many have numbing agents to relief pain and ingredients to prevent secondary infection. Also, they may have oils to keep the scab soft. It is good to use these for the comfort they provide. But, none have shown to speed healing by more than 2-3 days.

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Cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters, are clusters of small blisters on the lip and outer edge of the mouth. The skin around the blisters is often red and inflamed. The blisters can break open, weep a clear fluid, and then scab over after a few days. Complete healing may take ...
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Disclaimer : The text presented on these pages is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns. 2005 - 2011 be-cold-sore-free.com

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