PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What causes cold sores?

ANSWER

Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious from the time the blister ruptures to the time it has completely healed. The initial infection often occurs before adulthood and may be confused with a cold or the flu. Once the person is infected with the virus, it stays in the body, becoming dormant and reactivated by such conditions as stress, fever, trauma, hormonal changes (such as menstruation), and exposure to sunlight.

When sores reappear, they tend to form in the same location. In addition to spreading to other people, the virus can also spread to other body parts of the affected person, such as the eyes or genitals.

From: Stomatitis WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Scully, C. Journal of the American Dental Association.

Journal of the American Dental Association , March 2005.

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Mouth Sores: Insight into causes, treatment, and prevention."

Sol Silverman, DDS, professor of oral medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

Medline Plus.

University of Virginia Health System: "Dental and Oral Health."

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center: "Gynecologic Cancer Glossary."

Goroll, A. and Mulley, A. , 4th edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000. Primary Care Medicine: Office Evaluation and Management of the Adult Patient

American Dental Association: "Canker Sores, Cold Sores & Common Mouth Sores."

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on October 11, 2019

SOURCES:

Scully, C. Journal of the American Dental Association.

Journal of the American Dental Association , March 2005.

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Mouth Sores: Insight into causes, treatment, and prevention."

Sol Silverman, DDS, professor of oral medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

Medline Plus.

University of Virginia Health System: "Dental and Oral Health."

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center: "Gynecologic Cancer Glossary."

Goroll, A. and Mulley, A. , 4th edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000. Primary Care Medicine: Office Evaluation and Management of the Adult Patient

American Dental Association: "Canker Sores, Cold Sores & Common Mouth Sores."

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on October 11, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

How are common forms of stomatitis treated?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

    Other Answers On: