Herpes Simplex - or the common "cold sore" - is a common condition. Don't think about cold sores the same way you think about sexually-transmitted herpes (genital herpes). Oral herpes is spread by direct contact with oral fluids from an infected person...or simply someone who might have no sores but have virus in their saliva. The contact can be an innocent kiss, or toddlers who play with saliva-contaminated toys.
In fact, about 80% of all adults have been exposed to herpes simplex virus and have antibodies, and only a portion of them will develop cold sores. Once inside your nerve cells, the virus can remain dormant for long periods of time, and only when it is reactivated can you experience a cold sore. Cold sores most often occur on the lips, but can also occur at any site inside the mouth, appearing as a small cluster of blisters or ulcers that may converge to form one larger ulcer.
Some triggers for reactivating the herpes virus and developing cold sores inlcude sun burn, wind burn, stress, trauma and illness. If you get frequent cold sores, or they happen predictably when you ski or visit the beach, speak to Dr. Sirois...there are effective ways to prevent as well as treat established sores.
Dr. Sirois is a Diplomat of the American Board of Oral Medicine and a recognized authority in the diagnosis and treatment of oral mucosal diseases, including herpes simplex. If you suffer from frequent cold sores, arrange a consultation to get the best information on managing your condition.
For more information on this and other oral medicine problems, visit the American Academy of Oral Medicine web site at http://www.aaom.com, and click on "patient information".