A blister is a bump that is filled with fluid. Two of the most common types of blisters are fever blisters and blisters on your heel or hands.
Fever blisters, also called “cold sores” are caused by the type I herpes virus and usually occur on the outside of the mouth, on the lips, chin, cheeks or inside the nostrils.
These are often confused with canker sores, which occur only in the mouth. If fever blisters appear in the mouth they form on the gums or roof of the mouth, and are usually smaller than canker sores.
Cold sores are extremely contagious and are usually spread by kissing, but can also spread by touching the cold sore and then touching other people. Only about “10 percent of oral herpes infections in adults result from oral-genital sex with a person who has active genital herpes (type 2).” (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research)
Interestingly, “[m]ost people infected with type 1 herpes ... became infected before they were 10 years old. The virus usually invades the moist membrane cells of the lips, throat or mouth.” (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research)
Only about 15 percent of people who are infected actually develop blisters inside and outside the mouth, usually within three to five days of infection. Other accompanying symptoms may include fever, swollen neck glands and general aches. The sores usually heal within two weeks and without scarring.
Even though the fever blisters might be gone, the virus lies dormant until stimulated, usually by: fever, cold or flu; ultraviolet radiation; stress; changes in the immune system; and trauma to the involved area. Sometimes there is no obvious reason for recurring symptoms. (MedicineNet.com)
So far, there is no cure for fever blisters. Treatment concentrates on alleviating the associated pain and discomfort, including anesthetic and antibiotic ointments. To prevent the spread of the virus, frequent hand washing is recommended as well as limited body contact with other people.
Friction Blisters and Burns