Cold sores or cold sore blisters develop into large painful sores which can easily be spread; not only from person to person, but also from one area of the body to other areas of the body. Hence, they can infect unusual places such as the fingers and eyes.
Formation of the Blisters
The tingling or burning sensation one feels upon the onset of an outbreak indicates where the cold sores will form. This site begins to swell and develops into a cluster of fluid filled cold sore blisters. Even though they are small, they can be painful.
The surrounding skin is tender to the touch and reddish in appearance. Individual blisters that are close to each other will usually rupture and merge, leaving an open weeping sore.
After several days the ulceration starts to dry up and forms a scab which is accompanied by an itching and burning sensation. The dry scab can crack and break and as a result, bleeding may occur. As the blister continues to heal, the itchiness and pain begin to subside.
The scabbing will slowly flake off and reveal slightly pink or red skin. In several days the redness fades, usually leaving no scarring.
Once a person has had an outbreak in a certain area, it is most likely that the cold sores will form at the same location the next time an outbreak is triggered.
Contagion of the Cold Sore Blisters
The virus that causes cold sores can be transmitted to other individuals by coming in direct contact with the sore or by sharing items such as a towel, utensil, tooth brush etc.
The virus can also be transmitted from the sore to other body parts if you touch the blisters and then touch other areas. Therefore, it is very important to avoid contact with the wound. If you do touch the area, be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately or use a hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Objects that come in direct contact with the blisters, like wash cloths, towels, and toothbrushes, should be disposed of or sterilized after use. It is also unwise to share these objects with other people.
Cold Sore Blisters on the Fingers
In the unfortunate event that the virus infects a person’s fingers, blistering will occur. This cold sore outbreak on the fingers is called ‘herpetic whitlow’ or ‘digital herpes simplex’.
The blisters are usually found around the finger nails and pads of the fingers. Infection happens when the virus enters a cut or break in the skin. A torn cuticle at the base of the nail is a good example of a cut that enables the virus to enter the finger tissue and establish an infection.
Cold Sore Blisters in the Eyes
Ocular herpes results when the herpes simplex virus infects the eye – most often caused by self-spreading. Swelling around the eyes and a sore on the eyelid itself is a symptom of this type of infection.
The characteristics are similar to those of oral herpes which start out as red bumps that form blisters and will eventually form scabs. This is the most common form of ocular herpes and it usually heals without scarring or permanent damage to vision.
However, severe and rare cases, wherein the herpes virus infects parts of the eye, can cause blindness.
Although cold sore blisters are contagious and usually form on or around the mouth, they may be spread to other parts of the body such as fingers and eyes. If infected with a cold sore, wash your hands often and refrain from touching it.
There are vitamins and supplements that can help prevent outbreaks all together and thus avoid the pain and embarrassment of cold sore blisters.