What Causes Cold Sores?: Before we answer that, let’s clear up something first. There are two types of Herpes Simplex Virus – HSV1 and HSV2. While both can spread to other areas of the body when contact is made, HSV1 is what causes cold sores while HSV2 is the cause of genital herpes.
According to estimates, about 80% of the world’s population have HSV1. Most people get the cold sore virus as a child or infant. The cold sore virus is highly contagious – able to spread through skin-to-skin contact.
It usually enters the body through a crack or break in the skin around the mouth ulcer area. * Touching the cold sore or the infectious fluid. * Sharing utensils, face towels, razors. * Kissing and having intimate contact with an infected person. These are just some of the ways one can spread or catch cold sores. And if you’re not careful, they can easily spread to other areas of the body.
How Do You Get Cold Sores?
Believe it or not, most of us have HSV1. You see, once an individual is infected with the cold sore virus, it stays in the body for good. After the first incident of cold sore, the virus retreats from the skin cells to the nerve cells – staying dormant. Usually, it just stays there. However, all it takes is a trigger for the virus to come back and bite. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common cold sore triggers:
Catching A Cold And Getting Sick: Catching a cold isn’t nice, but we usually just shrug it off. However, if you already caught HSV1, suffering from a cold becomes a greater source of concern.
It has something to do with the immune system, which is responsible for fighting off infections and warding off HSV1 outbreaks. Having a cold means your body’s defenses aren’t in good shape, and patients who have weakened immune systems find themselves going face-to-face against cold sores.
Too Much Exposure To Sunlight: Basking under the warmth of sun is great especially during summer. Not to mention a bit of sun everyday is an excellent way to keep your body in tip-top shape – ensuring that you get enough vitamin D.
For people with HSV1 though, too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage the skin around the lips. It takes nothing more than that small chink in the armor so to speak to ‘wake up’ the virus that usually lies dormant in the nerve cells triggering a cold sore outbreak.
Stress: So you’re stressing about cold sores? Don’t, just don’t. Stress is one of the primary triggers for people who have HSV1. It’s not the stress per se that causes another outbreak. Rather, it’s what stress does to the human body that’s responsible. When under stress, the human body experiences chemical and hormonal imbalance, and too much imbalance can weaken our body’s defenses. From there, an active lesion is all it takes for the cold sore virus to break loose.