from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small blister occurring on the mouth, lips, or face and caused usually by herpes simplex virus type one.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A herpetic eruption about the mouth and nostrils, often accompanying a cold in the head.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a small bump on the lips resulting from infection by the herpes virus

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)


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  • Herpes simplex type 1 is usually the cause of common nonsexually transmitted cold sores.


    Herpes is a disease of the nerve endings and the frequent blowing or whiping of the nose during a cold can irritate the skin around the mouth and nose which can irritate nerve endings already afflicted with the dormant virus and cause it to become active. Sunburns can have the same effect.(My personal observations.)

    While both oral and genital herpes are characteristically "nuisance infections" that are not life-threatening, cold sores (on the face) can cause rare severe or fatal disease if they travel to the eyes or brain.


    (I say that it is for this reason that one should be careful that one's doctor does not misdiagnose a cold sore as impetigo as happened to my ex-husband.0

    February 6, 2008