Cold Sores Facts

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Common Facts about Cold Sores

  • Cold sores are caused by a common virus which affects an estimated 8 out of 10 people.[1]
  • Cold sores are NOT something that you get from being dirty, careless or going through puberty - they are caused by a widespread virus that is as easy to catch as the flu.
  • Once you catch a cold sore, the virus resides inside the body permanently (just like every other virus) and for some people this can mean that a cold sore may pop up from time to time.
  • Over 75% of adults have been exposed to the cold sore virus at some time in their life.[1]
  • Approximately 30% of people have recurring cold sore symptoms[2]
  • The rate of cold sore symptoms coming back is typically once every three months, or four times a year. However many people never experience symptoms (or very rarely) and some people experience them more regularly than this.
  • It can take a few days for a cold sore to develop when you first contract the virus,
    usually between 2 to 20 days after contact. [3]

Cold Sore
Image of a cold sore and swelling on the bottom lip

View more cold sore pictures here

Facts about Cold Sore Symptoms

How to prevent Cold Sores


1. Cunningham A.L., et al, (2006) "Prevalence of infection with herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 in Australia: a nationwide population based survey", Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre: University of Sydney, Apr;82(2):164-8

2. D. Scott Smith, M.D., (2008) "MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Herpes labialis", US National Library of Medicine

3. Hilton, Lisette., (2002) "Cold Sore", Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health

Other Helpful Resources:| Sexual Health Resource | STD Information | Herpes-Cold Sores (HC) Support Forum | Global Herbal Supplies