What are sores?

A sore is a blister, bump, lesion or ulcer occurring anywhere on the body. The sore may be painful, itchy, red, swollen, or tender to the touch. The sore may be hard or filled with fluid. The surface of the sore may be broken and bleeding. Some sores may not be associated with pain.

There are numerous causes of sores, which range from mild to serious. Sores may occur as the result of a single incident or recur frequently. The type and severity of the sore varies with the underlying cause.

The herpes simplex virus is a common cause of recurrent sores on the mouth, fingers or genitals. The resulting sores on your mouth and lips are commonly called cold sores or fever blisters. Extended bed rest or use of a wheelchair may cause pressure sores. These sores develop due to limited blood flow to the part of the body that is always under pressure from the bed or chair.

Other common causes of sores include allergic reactions, insect bites, eczema, and infections such as chickenpox. Injury may also result in sores. Sores may also occur as a symptom of an underlying disease or serious condition, such as diabetes, leukemia or skin cancer.

Sores are rarely associated with a medical emergency. However, sores may be a symptom of a serious condition such as an infection. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, experience sores with other signs of infection, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit). In rare cases, infections can spread throughout the body, resulting in shock and organ failure.

If your sores are persistent or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with sores?

Sores may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the skin may also involve other body systems.

Skin symptoms that may occur along with sores

Sores may accompany other symptoms affecting the skin including:

CAUSES

What causes sores?

Sores have many causes. The type and severity of sore varies with the underlying cause.

Common causes of sores include the herpes simplex virus (resulting in a cold or genital sore), allergic reactions, eczema, and chickenpox. Extended bed rest or use of a wheelchair may cause pressure sores. Sores may also occur as a symptom of an underlying disease or serious condition, such as ... Read more about sorescauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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