Herpes Simplex (Cold Sores)

What is herpes simplex? Most people know it as a cold sore. A cold sore is a common condition we see in patients of all ages. Also known as a fever blister, cold sores are caused by an activation of the Herpes Simplex virus. Often times the initial presentation of an oncoming cold sore is pain or tingling on the lip. This feeling is followed by small groups of red bumps that eventually form into blisters. These blisters may cause discomfort as they begin to dry. After a couple of days a yellow crust may appear that eventually falls off to leave behind fading red areas.

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How Do You Get Herpes Simplex?

Initial exposure to the herpes simplex virus usually happens in the early childhood years. Common factors that trigger a cold sore are fever and excessive exposure to the sun. It is common for the virus to cause fever, general illness, and soreness in the body when first experienced. Once a patient has been exposed to Herpes Simplex infection, the virus becomes permanently recognized in your nerve tissue, causing it to recur occasionally.

Is It Contagious?

Like other common viruses, the Herpes Simplex virus is contagious. Cold sores are moderately contagious to individuals who have never had the infection and can cause those prone to cold sores to break out more if they come into contact with one. Close contact such as kissing is necessary to transfer the infection.

Herpes Simplex Treatment

Herpes simplex infections can be treated with topical medication and/or antiviral medicine. Unfortunately, most patients don’t know that the most effective treatment is oral medications. The goal of treating this virus is to speed up the healing process, relieve the discomfort associated with herpes simplex, and prevent future breakouts.

If you have questions concerning Herpes Simplex, call our office and schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Myers. At your visit, Dr. Myers will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for your condition.


Dr. David Myers

Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.

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