What Are Herpes Blisters?

Herpes simplex 1 lesions that occur on the lips are often known as cold sores or fever blisters.
A herpetic whitlow.
A herpes blister.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Herpes blisters are the outward sign of an active herpes virus infection. The herpes virus is transmitted by contact with an infected person, just before or during an outbreak. The virus can remain dormant in the nerve ending for several years, and only reappear during a period of high stress, or weakened immunity. When the virus does reappear, it will typically occur in the same location as previous outbreaks.

There are two classes of herpes, type one and type two. Type one is defined as blisters that occur on or near the mouth. These blisters are also known as fever blisters or cold sores. They are quite painful and can last up to three weeks.

Type one herpes blisters are fairly common, affecting between 15% and 35% of the population in the United States. The first infection typically occurs in childhood, with the onset of fever, pain, swollen lymph nodes, and a sore throat. The virus is spread through contact with an infected person, through their saliva, breath droplets or skin-to-skin contact.

These blisters are typically seen on the outer edge of the lips. They often appear as two to three small sores that quickly blend together. The sores become very tender, develop a crust and then a scab. The average number of outbreaks is between two and five. Individuals with compromised immune systems may have more frequent outbreaks.

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The second type of herpes occurs as a result of sexual contact with an infected person. The sores appear in the genital region in clusters of three to five blisters. The first occurrence of herpes blisters occurs three to five days after contact with an infected person during a contagious phase. It is important to contact your doctor to confirm herpes infection. Anti-viral medication can be prescribed to encourage healing.

Herpes type two is a sexually transmitted disease. Condoms will not prevent the spread of herpes, as the infected sores may be anywhere in the genital region. If you have herpes, it is important to inform with your sexual partner. To avoid spreading this infection, avoid sex when you have an active infection, or when you are experience an prodrome.

Prodrome is a name for symptoms that appear just before an outbreak. During this period, the herpes infection is active and contagious. The most common prodrome symptoms are pain, tingling, and burning in the area of previous herpes blisters. Some people feel very tired and may have a slight fever.

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Discuss this Article

stoneMason
Post 3

@burcidi-- This might sound crazy but I use salt on my blister to quicken healing. It burns very bad but it helps the blister go from the red swollen stage to an ulceration stage almost immediately. So it shortens my healing time about 2-3 days.

ZipLine
Post 2

@burcidi-- Oh yea, you can carry the virus for years and never get a blister. Oral herpes blisters tend to come about in certain conditions. If your immune system has weakened due to another illness or stress or if you get a fever, you can get a herpes blister. The blisters also usually happen in winter and when the lips are dry and cracked.

That's how mine always comes about. It chips and cracks first. And from the crack, the blister emerges.

burcidi
Post 1

When my doctor said that the blister on my lip is a herpes blister, I freaked out. But then he explained to me that this is not the same virus as the sexually transmitted one and that it's fairly common.

I have no idea how I got the virus in the first place. I'm experiencing a herpes blister for the first time. It's so painful! It kind of itches and hurts at the same time.

I keep applying a cold sore lip balm to it to keep it moisturized and help with the pain. But it's been five days already and it still red, swollen and painful.

Is there anything I can do to speed up the healing process because I'm so tired of this herpes lip blister!

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