Cold sores are a common issue characterized by the small blisters on the lips and around or corner of the mouth. Usually, they are caused due to infestation of herpes simplex virus. The sores often clear up with 7 or 10 days without any specific treatment.
You may not experience any symptoms when you are exposed to the virus. After some time, you will start feeling itching, tingling and burning around the mouth. Eventually, you will notice small fluid-filled blisters on the edges of your lips or on the corners of the mouth. The recurrence rate of cold sores is high.
Causes of cold sores
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is responsible for cold sore. However, the strains of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) may also cause cold sore. The mode of transmission could be oral sex with somebody who has history of genital herpes. Other plausible causes are respiratory infection, fever, stress, fatigue and menstruation.
Cold sore virus i.e. herpes simplex virus is highly contagious. It can pass from one person to another through close contact. The virus remains dormant for most of the time after infestation. It gets activated by certain triggering factors – such as injury, sunlight, fatigue, infection and menstruation. Many people suffer from frequently recurrent sores, while others experience it rarely. In some people, the virus is not activated at all.
Cold Sores Treatment
Many people do not require any treatment, as it is a self-limiting disease. However, in severe cases, one requires antiviral creams that are available over the counter. Another alternative is using a cold sore patch that contains hydrocolloid gel. The whole aim is to heal the sores. In advanced cases, oral antiviral medicines are prescribed.
Cold Sore Prevention
Usually, you cannot prevent the infection or an outbreak of cold sore. You need to take the steps to stop the infection from spreading. As said earlier, cold cores are highly contagious, so it is important to avoid close contacts until the sores are totally healed and disappeared. You can minimise the risk with the below-mentioned steps –
- Avoid touching the blister, apply cream with a cotton swab and wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap and warm water
- Do not share your personal items with your family members
- Stay away from oral sex and kissing until the cold sores are completely healed