Cold sore

Cold sore
A small sore situated on the face or in the mouth that causes pain, burning, or itching before bursting and crusting over. The favorite locations are on the lips, chin or cheeks and in the nostrils. Less frequented sites are the gums or roof of the mouth (the palate). Cold sores, also commonly called fever blisters, are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1. The virus lies latent (dormant) in the body and is reawakened (reactivated) by factors such as stress, sunburn, or fever from a wide range of infectious diseases including colds. Recurrences are less common after age 35. Sunscreen (SPF 15 or more) on the lips prevents recurrences of herpes from sunburn. The virus is highly contagious when fever blisters are present. It is spread by kissing. Children become infected by contact with someone who has a fever blister and then they spread the virus by rubbing their cold sore and touching other children. A person with fever blisters should be careful not to touch the blisters and spread the virus to new sites, such as the eyes or genitals. There is no cure for fever blisters. Medications that can relieve some of the pain and discomfort include ointments that numb the blisters, antibiotics that control secondary bacterial infections, and ointments that soften the crests of the sores. Acyclovir, an antiviral drug, prevents the herpes simplex virus from multiplying and, in pill form, has been reported to reduce the symptoms and frequency of recurrence. Fever blisters have plagued people for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, an epidemic of fever blisters prompted Emperor Tiberius to ban kissing in public ceremonies. Today, fever blisters still occur in epidemic proportions. About 100 million episodes of recurrent fever blisters occur yearly in the United States alone. Cold sores (fever blisters) are also called labial herpes (in Latin, herpes labialis) and febrile herpes (herpes febrilis).

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cold sore n a vesicular lesion that typically occurs in or around the mouth, that initially causes pain, burning, or itching before bursting and crusting over, and that is caused by a herpes simplex virus which remains dormant in the body and may be reactivated by a variety of factors (as stress, fever, or sunburn) called also fever blister compare CANKER SORE

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herpes febrilis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cold sore — Cold Cold, n. 1. The relative absence of heat or warmth. [1913 Webster] 2. The sensation produced by the escape of heat; chilliness or chillness. [1913 Webster] When she saw her lord prepared to part, A deadly cold ran shivering to her heart.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cold sore — n. a sore, caused by a viral infection, consisting of little blisters that form in or around the mouth during a cold or fever; herpes simplex …   English World dictionary

  • cold sore — cold ,sore noun count a sore area near your lips that is caused by an infection …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cold sore — n a painful spot on your lip or inside your mouth that is caused by a ↑virus …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cold sore — cold′ sore n. pat See under oral herpes Also called fever blister …   From formal English to slang

  • cold sore — ► NOUN ▪ an inflamed blister in or near the mouth, caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus …   English terms dictionary

  • cold sore — noun caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV 1) • Syn: ↑oral herpes, ↑herpes labialis, ↑fever blister • Hypernyms: ↑herpes simplex * * * noun Etymology …   Useful english dictionary

  • cold sore — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms cold sore : singular cold sore plural cold sores a sore area near your lips that is caused by an infection …   English dictionary

  • cold sore — cold sores N COUNT Cold sores are small sore spots that sometimes appear on or near someone s lips and nose when they have a cold. [mainly BRIT] (in AM, usually use fever blister) …   English dictionary

  • cold sore — noun Date: 1870 a group of fluid filled blisters appearing about or within the mouth that are caused by a herpes simplex virus and upon rupturing form crusts called also fever blister compare canker sore …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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