Cold Sore Stages
The Various Cold Sore Stages
Cold sores are caused when the Herpes Simplex Virus 1, that stays initially latent inside the body, suddenly becomes active due to factors like stress, depression, cold, viral fever, anxiety, etc. Usually, it has been found that there are more or less 8 cold sore stages. The full cold sore cycle covers a time span of 3-4 weeks.
The first stage of the cold sore stages is the “latent” stage. During this time, the HSV-1 remains hidden in the nerve cells. Actually, the body’s immunity system keeps the virus in check. However, at times of great stress, the defense mechanism fails to keep the virus inactive and hence the HSV-1 surfaces up to cause fever blisters.
“Prodrome” is the second stage of this disease. At this point of time, the virus moves from the nerve cells to the surface and so the area where the cold sore may come up begins to tingle or itch. A burning sensation and dryness may also be experienced during this stage which lasts a few hours or few days. In the third or “inflammatory” stage, the virus hits the target area causing it to swell and turn red. The “pre-sore” or the fourth stage leads to the appearance of a group of several small blisters near the affected area. These are very sensitive and cause great pain.
Of all the other cold sore stages, it is the fifth stage called the “open sore” stage that is most contagious and painful. The blisters containing fluid in them burst open at this stage. The fluid comes out and merges with the newly born viruses. Direct contact with others or people sharing items used by the sufferer is sure to spread the cold sore virus. The healing process begins in the “crusting” or sixth stage. Cold sores develop a yellowish scab which gradually starts cracking. This could be painful. In the next “healing” stage, cold sores are scabbed over and there is formation of new skin. It causes pain and irritation as the virus returns back to its zone. The last or “post scab” stage means the complete healing of the skin.