Do you suffer from the embarrassment and inconvenience of cold sores? If you do, you’re not alone. A recent WebMD article explores cold sores, triggers, and solutions.
What Are Cold Sores?
Cold sores are uncomfortable, sometimes painful, fluid-filled groups of blisters. They are most commonly found on the mouth or lip area. A virus, the Herpes Simplex Virus, causes cold sores to appear.
If you ever felt self-conscious when you experienced a cold sore outbreak, you are not alone. Believe it or not, almost 90% of people worldwide carry the Herpes Simplex Virus.
How Do You Get the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)?
HSV is a very common virus that is easily spread. Any time you come into contact with a person or touch something with the virus, it is possible for you to become infected. Kissing, sharing eating utensils or cups, or even using the same towels can spread HSV.
What Are the Symptoms of Cold Sores?
If you feel you may be experiencing a cold sore outbreak, especially if this is the first time, definitely inform your dermatologist. Contact one of our staff at Park Avenue Dermatology to evaluate your condition.
The initial appearance of cold sores can be particularly severe. Subsequent outbreaks are often milder. Sometimes the body creates antibodies that prevent any recurrence of cold sores. In most patients, cold sores periodically return.
Cold Sore Symptoms:
- Burning, tingling feeling on the mouth
- Within 12 to 24 hours, the first signs of the blisters appear
- The blisters often become painful
- The blisters ooze or break open for about 2 to 3 days
- You may feel achy or have swollen glands
- An unsightly scab forms
- The scab falls off or disappears
What Triggers Cold Sore Outbreaks?
If you already have cold sores or fever blisters, you may realize you are more likely to get them at certain times. Here are some common cold sore triggers:
- Menstrual Cycle
- Lack of Sleep
- Bright Sunlight
- Dental Procedures
Triggers may be different for every person. Call Park Avenue Dermatology for an appointment if you have cold sores, especially if you are running a high fever or you notice the blisters spreading.
Cold Sore Treatments and Prevention
You can’t always prevent cold sores. Be sure to always wash your hands thoroughly after touching your mouth or cold sore blisters. Use a new toothbrush after an outbreak, and always apply sunscreen.
Talk to your dermatologist about cold sore treatments. There is no cure, but you can place a cold compress over the blisters or take an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen to relieve the discomfort. There are also creams available that keep the cold sores soft as they heal.
Cold sores are a nuisance, but rarely cause complications. Remember to contact Park Avenue Dermatology for concerns about cold sores or other skincare needs.