What is a Cold Sore?

Things to know about Cold Sores

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is a common condition caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus that manifests itself in liquid-filled blisters around the lips, nose or chin.

How do we get it?

The virus is often contracted during childhood, usually without our knowledge. It then remains dormant in our bodies until triggered by one of a variety of factors.

Who gets them?

Approximately 80% of people have the virus while 20% suffer from regular cold sores outbreaks, experiencing 2 to 3 outbreaks a year. Men and women are equally likely to suffer from cold sores, at any age.

What triggers cold sores?

Cold sore outbreaks are generally a result of psychological or physical stress.

Common triggers include:

  • Low immune system
  • Cold or flu
  • Fatigue
  • Cold weather
  • Exposure to sun
  • Menstruation
  • Hormones
  • Fever
  • Stress

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The 5 Stages of a Cold Sore outbreak

A cold sore outbreak lasts 7-12 days and generally follows five distinct stages. 
However, some people don’t experience the initial ‘tingle’ stage that signals the arrival of the sore.

5 stages graph

COMPEED® TOTAL CARE™ Invisible Cold Sore Patch treats all five stages of the outbreak fast and invisibly, delivering comparable healing* efficacy to acyclovir 5% creams as well as a variety of other benefits.

Tingle Blister Weeping Scab Heal
Move the mouse cursor over the images for more information about each stage.

Tingle: The first symptoms appear- usually a tingling, burning or itching sensation in the area around the mouth or nose. This usually lasts for around six hours and is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety and worry about the cold sore's impending arrival.

Blister: In as little as a few hours – or as much as a few days- the area becomes reddened and a cluster of small, fluid-filled blisters develops. This may eventually merge into a single large blister. The throbbing feelings that are common at this stage are often quite painful.

Weeping: The blisters swell and then burst, leaving a shallow, reddish ulceration. This is the most painful and contagious stage of the cycle and it is also when sufferers feel most self conscious.

Scab: A dry scab with a brown crust forms. If this cracks, itching, burning and bleeding can occur.

Heal*: The scab flakes off and the cold sore is completely healed*.

*healing of the Cold Sore lesion

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