Cold sores, also called herpes or fever blisters, are groups of small, fluid-filled blisters that most commonly occur around the lips, in the mouth and occasionally on the nose, chin or cheeks.
Caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), cold sores typically begin as a tingling sensation or stinging pain that gives way to blisters that burst, ooze and crust over. It usually takes 7-10 days for cold sores to heal although they can remain for up to two weeks.
There is no cure for cold sores yet. HSV-1 lies dormant inside cells and can be triggered at any time by various factors including, but not limited to, stress, fatigue, a lack of sleep, a weakened immune system, hormonal changes and exposure to the elements, including sun and wind.
For some people, cold sores can be a real nuisance, so it’s useful to know and recognise what triggers recurrences. Stress, fatigue, menstruation, and a weakened immune system can all allow the virus to reappear.
If you have frequent cold sores, you might want to keep a diary or a log, to note things, such as activities, illnesses, and life events to determine what has preceded the symptoms. This can help you to narrow down what triggers your symptoms.
About the survey
Research was conducted and fielded by Dirt & Glory Media via the Prolific platform: 2,140 were polled in total with 82% (1,761) confirming they suffer from cold sores. The survey was fielded online between 21-23 September 2022 and consisted of 30 questions.