Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This is an extremely contagious virus and is spread easily by kissing or touching an active sore. Cold sores can even be spread by using the cup or utensils of someone who is having a cold sore outbreak. Natural prevention and control includes careful hand washing and building the immune system so that the body is able to withstand outbreaks of the virus. There are also several holistic options for controlling the herpes virus.
A cold sore begins with a prodromal period that often involves a tingling or burning sensation on the lips. The next progression is a fluid-filled sac that contains the active virus. Eventually this sac bursts and this creates an open wound that will finally dry up to form a scab.