Developing cold sores in other terms an oral herpes infection, can be painful and very uncomfortable. This condition is attributed to attack by the herpes simplex virus, abbreviated simply as HSV-1. Knowing more about this condition can make you manage it properly because there is no known cure for it.
One of the main pieces of information that will be extremely helpful to you is knowing the cold sore stages. This condition progresses through eight main stages which are discussed in this article.( you might also want to read this cold sore free forever review to learn how to get read of cold sore stages for ever!).
Cold Sore Stages – The Latent stage
This is the first stage whereby the virus enters your body and remains dormant in the nerve ganglia. It can reside in the body for months to years without causing any symptoms in your body.
To become active, the virus has to be triggered by situations which reduce the immunity of your body.Triggers include stress, menstruation, tiredness, sickness, injury or even excess exposure to sunlight.
Cold Sore Stages – The Prodrome stage
When there has been a trigger, the virus starts to actively reproduce at this stage. The HSV-1 virus travels via the nerve fibers to the skin surface. The common area that the virus migrates to is the facial skin, specifically the lips.
As it travels around the body, it reproduces to cause the itchy or tingly sensation that shows the location where the blister will appear. This stage is also characterized by a dry or burning sensation. This phase usually lasts a day or two, sometimes longer.
Cold Sore Stages -The inflammation/blister stage
In this stage, the virus has arrived at the skin surface and the body starts to react naturally to the presence of the virus, which causes the part of the body affected to swell and change the color to red due to inflammation.
This happens because the virus has invaded the cells at that spot and it has started to reproduce actively. The stage may be accompanied by fever and a headache.
Cold Sore Stages – The Pre-sore stage
As the virus reproduces, tiny cold sore blisters start appearing on the lips. These are called vesicles and appear as red, hard pimples which are painful when touched. They are usually grouped together on the lips.
Cold Sore Stages – The open sore/ulcer stage
This is basically the main stage of this condition. The vesicles continue to swell and finally burst to become a big sore. This sore is very contagious and painful. This sore may cause lymph glands to swell or cause a fever depending on how severe the condition is.
The fluid that is produced from the sore contains newly-borne viruses which can easily spread to other parts of your body or other people. To avoid this, avoid sharing objects or wiping the sore with your hands.
Cold Sore Stages – The crusting/scabbing stage
This stage is when healing starts. The healing process starts from the inside of the sore towards the outside. A scab or crust starts forming which is yellowish in color.
The sore is still painful when especially when touched.The crust is prone to cracking when you stretch or move your lips, for example when talking, smiling or eating. The cracking of the crust is usually painful.
Cold Sore Stages – The healing stage
Once the crust forms and hardens, there is a new skin that forms beneath the crust. As new cells are formed, there will be some irritation, itching and little pain. During this the HSV-1 virus is relocating from the lips back to the area of the nerve ganglia where it normally resides.
Here, it will become dormant again until it is triggered again. This stage also indicates that the worst part of the condition is over.
Cold Sore Stages – The Post-scab stage
As new skin forms under the scab, you begin to complete the healing process. The new skin forces the scab to fall off and get replaced by new skin. Before the new skin takes over, tiny red spots on the lips will still be evident.
Though the sore may seem to have healed, the HSV-1 is still residing in the cellular part of your skin and you are still contagious at this point till the spots vanish completely. Therefore you need to avoid any situation that may trigger the condition again.
Knowing what is happening with a cold sore makes a big difference whether you will manage the condition properly or endure it miserably.