Cold Sores / Herpes Simplex/ HSV-1
Cold sores are small, blister-like lesions that usually appear around the mouth. In most cases these are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus with Type 1 (HSV-1) being the strain that causes them around the mouth.
HSV-1 is a persistent and problematic pathogen. Typically, it infects through oral secretions (eg. kissing, contaminated toothbrush or lip-brush) or through openings in the skin. It is therefore relatively easy for the virus to find a point of entry into the body.
For those who carry the virus, it lodges at the root of the facial nerve and will manifest itself at times of low health, trauma or sun exposure. In healthy people, this may result in visible cold sores or fever blisters. However, in those with compromised immune systems, (eg, babies or those suffering illness) HSV-1 can pose more serious and chronic health problems.