Cold sore symptoms occur in stages whenever the herpes simplex virus is active in your system.
Let me share with you now how your cold sore symptoms come about and what you can do about them.
Where the virus first enters your body, it will choose a set of nerve fibers nearby that will be its home for life. Your cold sores from this infection will always occur in the same place.
Say, for example, you always get your cold sores (oral herpes) on your upper right lip. That is one infection. If you start getting cold sores on your lower left lip, that is a new infection area.
Following are 5 stages of cold sore symptoms that pretty much tells the whole story of these miserable events.
1. EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
Because the herpes simplex virus lives in your nerve fibers, you will get an early warning before they attack your surface nerve cells to create oral herpes cold sores.
When the herpes virus becomes active, it wiggles up the nerve fiber to the surface of your lip, nose or cheek. That movement you will sense as an itching, tingling or burning of the target area.
Your immediate action is required. As soon as you become aware of these signs, apply ice or some other cold object (can of Coke) to the area. This will definitely slow down the progression of the sore.
Sometimes it stops the virus cold and prevents the sore.
If you miss this opportunity, then the other cold sore symptoms come quickly.
2. PIMPLES AND SWOLLEN LIP.
Painful little pimples will start to pop up. The herpes virus has entered the surface cells and is forcing the cells to create new virus.
Your defenses kick in, and the battle begins. This can cause fever, headaches and swollen lymph glands under the near jaw. Depending on the size of the outbreak, even the lymph glands in your armpit may swell.
As the cells fill up the target area becomes quite swollen and painful.
Applying cold compresses at this point will give great comfort and discourage the virus from further damage.
3. OPEN ULCER COLD SORES.
When the cells are swollen to capacity with new virus, they are destroyed to spill out hoards of new virus particles. This is what creates the typical open ulcer cold sores.
In self-defense, your body floods the wound with a fluid to wash away as much virus as possible. This fluid is teaming with active virus and is VERY contagious.
Wash the wound and wash your hands continuously. Use tissue or paper towels soaked in alcohol to cleanse the sore. Throw away and wash your hands thoroughly. You do not want to spread it to a new site.
4. RECONSTRUCTION OF DAMAGED CELLS BEGINS.
The breaking open of cells (creating the open wound) marks the end of the damage process. Now you body begins reconstructing the destroyed cells and skin.
The first step in this process is the covering of the wound with a yellowish crust or scab to protect from bacterial infection.
Apply olive oil to the scab on a regular basis. This will keep it soft and pliable – and less likely to crack open. You will experience pain if it cracks open – and this slows down the healing process.
During this period, you will still have fever, headaches and painful lymph glands. These cold sore symptoms will decrease rapidly from day to day.
5. FRUSTRATING FINAL HEALING STAGE.
After a few days, maybe a week, the scab is gone revealing new skin. There is usually a red tinge to the skin, which indicates that healing is still taking place underneath.
You may feel normal and completely healed but you are not. The flu-like symptoms are gone, and your lymph glands are back to normal. Your energy and confidence have returned.
Keep in mind, please, that you are still quite contagious until after the redness is gone. This seems to go on forever and is very frustrating. You want your social life back.
Your best bet for comfort, and to really speed along the healing of your sore, is to apply warm compresses as often as possible.
These five stages of cold sore symptoms and oral herpes, may vary from person to person, but are the basic cold sore symptoms you should see. If yours are much different, it might not hurt to see a medical professional.
You should search out and try some good cold sore treatment options. Cold Sores are no fun. The fewer you have, and the quicker you heal them, the less you will have to deal with these cold sore symptoms.