Here are 7 commonly asked questions about cold sore:
(1) What are cold sores?
Cold sores are small blisters on or around the lips, or less often around the nostrils. They usually begin as a crop of small, red bumps that turn into fluid-filled blisters.
(2) What causes cold sores?
Cold sores are usually caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1. Exposure to this virus is most common in childhood. The HSV-1 virus enters through small cracks in the skin and travels along the nerves where it can remain quietly inactive for many months or years until, in somepeople, it is reactivated or “woken up”.
The virus then travels down the sensory nerves to the skin, where it multiplies, causing blisters. Once you have been infected with HSV-1, the virus stays in your body for life, and can reactivate at any time. It is for this reason that cold sores tend to recur.
(3) What are the signs and symptoms?
Cold sores can be tender and painful. Many people who get cold sores know when one is coming by a tingling, burning, itchy or painful sensation or redness around their lips or mouth. This first stage can happen very rapidly.
After areas of redness and swelling develop, blisters form, then ooze (weep) and dry. Then a yellow crust forms and eventually falls off, uncovering pink-colored skin that heals without a scar. This whole process if untreated, usually takes 5-6 days with a range of 2-20 days.
(4) What are the triggers for a cold sore outbreak?
Common triggers are thought to be sun exposure, stress, fatigue, menstruation, fever, illness, dry chapped lips, skin trauma or a common cold.
(5) Are cold sores contagious?
Cold sores are contagious. The virus can be passed on from person to person through close physical(skin-to-skin) contact or saliva even when blisters are not present. The infection is most commonly acquired as a baby or child from contact with parents or relatives, often from kissing.
It can also be acquired in later life from activities such as oral sex.Although it is possible to transfer the virus even when there is no apparent cold sore, the risk is much higher when the cold sore is visible, as the virus can be shed making it easy to infect other people.
(6) Can cold sores be treated?
Cold sores can be treated to help reduce pain and speed healing. For the best results, you should commence treatment as soon as possible.
(7) What cold sore treatments are available?
It is not possible to eradicate the virus from the body. However, antiviral treatments for cold sores are available as over-the-counter creams that are applied multiple times a day for 4-5 days.
Your doctor can also recommend a range of tablet treatments. These may be helpful especially if cold sores are frequent or severe.
All treatments should be used in the early stages of a cold sore outbreak, when the virus first starts to multiply. Early treatment can help speed healing and reduce pain and tenderness.
If you get cold sores frequently or if they are severe, seek advice from your doctor about which type of treatment – cream or tablet – is better for you. Always have treatment on hand so you can treat the outbreak early for optimal benefit.
Many people have recurrent cold sore outbreaks, but the good news is these tend to become milder and less frequent with age, and may even stop occurring.…see your doctor about new treatment options for cold sores.
Be well always
Author: Rowell Bulan, M.D.
Your Guide To Home Health Care
See how this guy ‘zaps’ his cold sore. ( personally, I don’t recommend it)