The factors that favor cold sores are several. After a first infection, the herpes virus remains inactive in the body and reactivates in certain situations.
Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is estimated that this virus may affect more than a third of the world’s population at some point in their lives.
This virus can remain dormant in the body for years. After the first infection, the virus remains in the body inactively, multiplying, and may reappear at any time.
The Different Types of Herpes
Different types of herpes differ by the place where they come out:
Herpes Type I
This virus is the cause of cold sores. It affects about 67% of the population, frequently in children and adolescents. As age increases, so do antibodies to HSV.
The virus remains dormant in ganglion neurons to reappear in cold sores. It manifests with an inflammation of the mucosa of the mouth and gums. Cold Sores are not a severe condition except in immunocompromised patients.
Not everyone who has been in contact with the virus develops the lesion. The virus is transmitted through saliva and direct contact with the lesion and can affect other body parts.
Herpes Type II
This type of herpes most often affects the genitals. Hence it is known as “genital herpes.” It is estimated that it affects 11% of the population between the ages of 15 and 49.
It produces a lesion similar to the vesicles of the lips that causes cold sores and is considered a sexually transmitted disease.
Its highest incidence is seen in adolescence, with the onset of sexual intercourse. After being dormant in the body, specifically in the nodes of the sacrum area, the virus is reactivated under certain circumstances.
The chickenpox virus causes Herpes Zoster. When a person contracts chickenpox, primarily children, the virus migrates to the sensory nerve fibers, remaining dormant in the dorsal root ganglia.
The rash it causes appears unilaterally, following the path of the nerve where the virus has remained dormant. This rash is usually quite painful, and it is common for it to appear in the trunk area, although it can also manifest on the face, being dangerous if it manifests near the eyes. Shingles are estimated to affect around 20% of the world’s population.
Factors that favor cold sores
Several factors favor cold sores. One of the moments with the most incidence is summer because the sun stimulates the reproduction of the virus.
The factors that favor cold sores are usually:
During the summer, specifically in July and August, cases of cold sores increase by 20%. This is because solar radiation stimulates the reproduction of the virus.
To avoid this, it is recommended to moderate the hours of sun exposure and apply sunscreen on the face and a specific one for the lips.
On the other hand, low temperatures can also trigger a herpes outbreak. The recommendation to avoid this is to protect the face and lips from exposure to cold.
Flu and colds
Colds, flu, and fever are one of the primary triggers of cold sores. When we suffer from a viral infection of this type, our body is low defenses and becomes more vulnerable. In this case, drinking plenty of fluids and rest are advised to strengthen the immune system.
Nervousness, stress, and anxiety also weaken the immune system making us more susceptible to infections. Stress is thought to be the primary cause of a herpes outbreak.
The recommendation to avoid it is to stay relaxed, exercise, eat a healthy diet and ensure a good rest to strengthen the immune system.
Some hormonal changes, such as those that occur with menstruation and pregnancy, cause our defenses to weaken. In the case of pregnant women, it is necessary to go to the doctor to make sure to put the baby at risk.