Herpes simplex is commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. It is a viral infection of the skin that may occur once or return again and again. This is because when the virus is cleared from the skin by the immune system it hides in the nerves and is never completely removed from the body. Cold sore infections are very common. It is estimated that nine out of ten people have been exposed to herpes. Many people are infected and don't even know it. Unfortunately those who carry herpes can spread the disease without even knowing it.
Herpes simplex begins as a group of small red bumps that blister. Sometimes this is preceded by itching and burning of the area. The blisters begin to dry up after a few days and form a yellow crust. The crust then falls off and the redness slowly goes away. The whole process takes about 10-14 days. Scars rarely form. Some people experience just some itching or burning in the area while most people have no symptoms at all