What is a cold sore? Cold sore, herpes or fever blisters are viral infections that normally affect the tissues of the face and the genitals. It can be due to either of the two strains of herpes virus – HSV-1 or HSV-2. However, HSV-1 is normally attributed to oral herpes while HSV-2 is being linked to genital herpes.
After two to twenty days from the first time an individual contracted a cold sore virus, he/she may be experiencing the visible symptoms of the condition. During the early stages of the condition, whether genital or oral, is referred to as the warning stage or prodrome. In this period, the affected area may become inflamed and tingling sensation can be experienced. Other symptoms may include pain and itching as well. The prodrome symptoms may not be noticeable at first, especially during the initial outbreak of cold sores.
After a day or two from the first time the warning signs are experienced, fluid-filled blisters or sores will start to develop. For oral herpes, the blisters can be seen inside the mouth, on the lips, at the back of the throat, inside the nose or on the cheeks. For genital herpes, on the other hand, the blisters may start to appear on the penis, the scrotum or on the tissues surrounding the genitalia. Women may notice blister formation on their vagina, vulva and the surrounding tissues. Both men and women may experience having cold sores or fever blisters on the thighs, buttocks and anus. These blisters may sometimes appear cloudy or clear and are surrounded by red skin.
Ulcers and Scabs
The development of the fluid-filled blisters is part of the early stages of cold sores. During the later stages of the condition, the fluids will start to burst and release blood or pus. The blisters will then start to look like an open wound and after two more days, crust will start forming on the lesions. This is the signal that the sores are starting to heal. The scabs or crusts will start to fall off in order to reveal new and normal skins.