Cold sores look much like blisters. These reddish (or white if inside mouth), sometimes elevated spots appear on and off of the face, though most people associate cold sores with the red, scab-like marks that appear on the mouth. Although these often small red marks rarely lead to major medical complications, they do cause discomfort and an unappealing visual.

Cold Sore Basics

Most cold sores start small but spread rapidly if other areas of the body become infected. People tend to understand their individual symptoms overtime, and therefore, have the ability to decrease the ability of spreading the herpes outbreak.

All cold sores results from an individual possessing the Herpes Simplex Virus. The Simplex Virus will either cause basic cold sores which will sometimes spread off of the face to other parts of the body. The Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 will cause more severe outbreaks, usually near the genitals.

Stages of Cold Sores

Although the actual cold sore does not go through many physical stages, people who frequently suffer from outbreaks know the common symptoms, which include fevers, sore throat and a painful mouth when eating or talking.

Usually, cold sores have a limited life of only a week, but severe outbreaks will sometimes last multiple weeks. An outbreak often gets triggered by a common illness or stress. Things like the cold and different types of the flu will cause a cold sore outbreak in some people.

Once the cold sore develops, the small legions will slowly grow in size. However, simple cream based medicines help reduce the inflammation and cause a decrease in size.

If a cold sore goes untreated, the legion will eventually scab over and decay from receiving little moisture. If the sores exist in moist areas, they will often last longer.