In some people, the virus that causes cold sores can cause problems in other areas of the body, including:
May 15, 2015
- Fingertips. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be spread to the fingers. This type of infection is often referred to as herpes whitlow. Children who suck their thumbs may transfer the infection from their mouths to their thumbs.
- Eyes. The virus can sometimes cause eye infection. Repeated infections can cause scarring and injury, which may lead to vision problems or blindness.
- Widespread areas of skin. People who have a skin condition called eczema are at higher risk of cold sores spreading all across their bodies. This can become a medical emergency.
- Other organs. In people with weakened immune systems, the virus can also affect organs such as the spinal cord and brain.
- AskMayoExpert. Cold sores. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Habif TP. Warts, herpes simplex, and other viral infections. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Herpes simplex. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/herpes-simplex. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Herpes simplex. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. www.merckmanuals.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Cold sores. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Wolff K, et al. Viral diseases of skin and mucosa. In: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Rakel RE. Dermatology. In: Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Herpes simplex virus. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Klein RS. Treatment of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in immunocompetent patients. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2015.
- Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: W.B. Saunders; 2011. http://dorlands.com/index.jsp. Accessed March 25, 2015.