BSIP, CHASSENET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, CHASSENET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cold sore. Young woman applying a cream to a cold sore on her upper lip. Cold sores are infections caused by the herpes simplex virus. The type that infects the mouth and lips is known as herpes labialis (HSV-1 or herpes simplex virus type 1). This is a common and troublesome viral infection characterised by painful fluid- filled blisters. It is contagious and usually spread by direct contact with the blisters or the fluid they contain. Herpes simplex cannot be cured, but treatment depends on its type, site and severity. Antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, can be used to reduce the severity of an attack.
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