By Canada Cloud Pharmacy | Published Thursday 19 November 2020
What are cold sores?
Cold sores, or fever blisters, are tiny fluid-filled clusters of painful blisters. They typically appear around the lips and mouth. They may last for a week or two and eventually heal to form a dry scab.
What causes cold sores?
A cold sore is a viral infection caused by the two types of Herpes Simplex Virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 causes cold sores on lips and mouth, HSV-2 causes genital sores. The infection can spread during oral sex, fever, stress, fatigue, and cold may trigger the infection.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
The symptoms of cold sores appear in the following stages:
1. Lips and mouth feel tingling, itching, and irritation
2. Blisters appear red and swollen
3. Fluid leaks from the blisters
4. Blisters dry to form a scab which may crack and bleed
5. Scab falls off
Additionally, you may experience fever, pain, and sometimes swelling of the gums.
How are cold sores treated?
Cold sores usually go away without treatment. Doctors may prescribe the following medications:
• Antiviral agents such as acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), famciclovir, and penciclovir as tablets or creams
• Over the counter painkiller to relieve pain
• Zinc oxide cream to moisturize and protect the lips
• Creams containing local anesthetics such as lidocaine and benzocaine to manage severe pain
• Aloe vera cream or petroleum jelly to moisturize the lips
• A cold compress may ease the healing process, while a hot compress may reduce the pain
Can a cold sore appear repeatedly?
Cold sores may repeatedly occur in some people. The virus HSV-1 that causes cold sores remains in the body in the dormant condition after the first infection. In people with a weaker immune system or case of some illness, the virus may activate and cause cold sores.
Is it possible to prevent cold sores from spreading to others?
Cold sores are contagious, if you know you have cold sores you may prevent the spread in the following ways:
• Do not touch or rub the cold sore
• Do not share your towels, napkins, lip balms, or cups with other people
• Do not kiss until the sore heals completely
• Clean your hands after touching the sore
• Avoid intimate contact if you have a cold sore
• Use a protective lip balm