Cold sores are caused by a virus named herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). There is no cure for this kind of infection, and the blisters may return.

A virus that awakes periodically

You cannot get rid of the virus itself. Unfortunately, after the first infection, the virus lays dormant inside the nerve cells of the face for the rest of your life. Some events can make the virus reawaken and lead to a recurrent infection.

Reactivation: what does it mean?

HSV-1 infections are characterized by three phases:

  • The initial infection when getting the virus from other people or by touching an infected object. You can get infected from as young as 6 months old.
  • A period of latency, when the viral infection is quiet, showing no symptoms.
  • Reactivation or recurrence, when triggering factors such as emotional stress, fever or exposure to sunlight can make the virus reawaken and lead to a relapse.