Having oral herpes or more commonly known as cold sores can be both painful and embarrassing. The fact that the condition does not have a cure or even a vaccine can often make it seem hopeless. This however should not be the case and as with everything else, proper understanding of the condition may help people manage the problem and come to terms with. The best way of doing this is by knowing more about the condition and you can start this off by learning about the stages of a cold sore.
Of the eight stages of a cold sore, you have the Latent, prodrome, inflammation, Pre-sore, Open-sore, crusting, healing and post-scab. Let’s take a closer look into each stage for a better understanding.
The first is the LATENT stage where the virus is simply “hiding” and is kept in check by your body’s immune system. It may take weeks, months or even years before a person infected will show symptoms. When the virus finds an opening in your immune system however, the second stage begins.
The PRODROME stage comes next where the virus travels around your body and reproduces causing intense tingling or itching and the beginning of the third stage.
INFLAMMATION. This stage is what causes the cold sore symptoms where the virus arrives at the surfaces of your body and the natural reaction of your body causes it to swell and redden -the typical sign of cold sores.
The fourth stage is the PRE-SORE stage where your body begins to form small red bumps that are painfully sensitive to touch. This opens the way to the fifth stage.
OPEN-SORE is the fifth stage and is the most painful and contagious stage. Those small red bumps break open and merge into bigger sores and depending on how severe the outbreak it may even cause you to have a fever.
The sixth stage, CRUSTING comes next where the sores begin to turn into yellowish crust or scabs. It’s still a bit painful at this point, however the seventh stage is in sight.
The seventh stage, HEALING. In this stage the cold sores finally heal from the inside out and though it may continue to itch, it’s a clear indication that the virus is retreating back to hiding and that the worst of it is over.
Eighth and final stage, POST-SCAB. This stage arrives and you begin to heal as normal. The scabs will be barely visible and will appear as red spots in your skin. All you have to remember now is that you’re still quite contagious until the red spots completely disappear. However, the worst is over and depending on your personal healing speed; you’ll be back to normal in a few days.
Remember that knowing the stages of a cold sore infection can mean the difference between living in misery with it and managing it properly in order to lessen the severity, discomfort and even the length of the cold sore’s duration.