Cold sores can be a real nuisance. And since they're caused by a herpes virus, there's no cure -- just ways to get you through the latest flare-up. How much do you know about their cause and treatments?
"Fever blisters" is another common term for cold sores.
The herpes virus is the culprit behind cold sores.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 is the form of herpes that most commonly causes cold sores, but herpes simplex virus type 2 can also lead to them.
If you have the herpes virus, a number of things -- including viral infections, dental treatments and even hormone fluctuations -- can cause a cold sore to surface. Specific beverages, however, aren't known to spur the development of cold sores.
The herpes virus is with you for life, but it can remain dormant for long periods of time.
Most cold sores go away on their own in a week to 10 days.
Because cold sores are caused by a virus, antibiotics and antifungals are ineffective treatments.
Anesthetic ingredients like lidocaine, tetracaine, dibucaine, benzyl alcohol and benzocaine help dull pain.
Releasing any liquid from inside the sore can cause it to spread.
While not backed by scientific research, many people find that cold or warm compresses help banish cold sores.