Cold sores is also known as oral herpes, a very common viral infection most often caused by HSV-1. Most people get it as an infant or child and by adulthood most people in the United States have been infected with this virus. It spreads very easily, through personal contact such as touching, kissing and sharing items such as razors, towels and dishes.
Oral herpes symptoms can be mild or severe, and it may include the cold sores or fever blisters along with itching, burning or tingling of the lips or skin around the mouth. Other symptoms may include sore throat, fever, swollen glands or difficulty swallowing. There are often triggers for a herpes simplex outbreak, such as stress, illness, fever, sun exposure or menstruation.
Treatment options for cold sores may include antiviral medication such as acyclovir and valacyclovir.