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Herpes simplex virus

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Introduction
Cold sores are small blisters that usually develop on the lips or around the mouth. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Symptoms of cold sores
You will not usually have any symptoms when you first develop the herpes simplex virus (a primary infection). An outbreak of cold sores may occur sometime later.
Causes of cold sores
Cold sores are usually caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Occasionally, they can also be caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
Treating cold sores
Cold sores usually clear up without treatment within 7-10 days. However, antiviral creams can be used to ease your symptoms and speed up the healing time.
Complications of cold sores
Infections caused by the cold sore virus are often mild and usually disappear without treatment. However, in rare cases, they can cause complications.
Preventing cold sores
It is not possible to prevent infection with the herpes simplex virus or outbreaks of cold sores, but you can take steps to minimise the spread of infection.