Cold Sores

What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sores can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose cold sores, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "cold sores" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Stress
  • Herpes Simplex Type I
  • Mercury Toxicity

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
having trouble concentrating
difficulty getting out of bed
high systolic blood pressure
occasional sore throats
showers cause fatigue
high diastolic blood pressure
coated tongue
eating during sleep hours
stiff neck
moving white lines across nails
severe afternoon/evening fatigue
being very easily irritated
... and more than 70 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of cold sores:
Cause Probability Status
Herpes Simplex Type I 96% Confirm
Stress 18% Unlikely
Mercury Toxicity 3% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate mouth problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you experience Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)? These usually appear as small blisters on the lips but sometimes appear on the face or inside the mouth, breaking down to form small ulcers and finally scabs. Note: These are different from Canker Sores.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ One outbreak, not repeated since
→ Infrequent outbreaks
→ At least one outbreak every two years
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no history of cold sores, past cold sores or cold sores, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
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