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Cold sores

A cold sore is an infection which is caused by the herpes virus. A cold sore is an inflamed spot on or near the lips, with one or more blisters. Cold sores may itch or burn. After a few days, the blisters dry up and scab over. This means the skin under the scab is starting to heal.

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Once infected with the herpes virus, it stays in your body forever. Cold sores are passed on through skin-to-skin contact such as hugging and kissing. The virus typically reappears and can cause an outbreak when people have a lowered immune system, are stressed or exposed to too much sunlight. Cold sores are also common around the time of menstrual periods. If you have a cold sore, you are contagious. Touching the blisters with your fingers may cause the virus to sprea

If you have a cold sore you should avoid touching it. It also helps to protect your lips from exposure to bright sunlight. In addition, there are a number of products that can help prevent or treat cold sores. See below for more information.

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