Cold Sore Information - Information About Cold Sores, Fever Blisters, And Herpes

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Learn all about cold sores here. Cold sores are a form of the herpes virus that appear around the mouth and lips. You can treat them with prescription medications and topical ointments.

  • What are cold sores?
  • How to treat cold sores
  • Cold Sore Information - Information About Cold Sores, Fever Blisters, And Herpes
    Cold Sore Information - Information About Cold Sores, fever blisters, and herpes

    Cold Sores: Whether you prefer to call them cold sores, fever blisters or herpes, you are referring to the same virus.

    Cold sores are lesions that are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Most people carry this virus, but not all of them develop blisters. Approximately 8 out of 10 people have could sores at some time in their lives. Viral infection usually occurs early in life (usually before age 10) but the symptom of cold sores does not usually occur at first. The virus lies dormant inside the body until something causes it to become active.

    Often that event is an infectious disease, fever, or stress (hence the term fever blister). Other possible causes of outbreaks include: sunlight, menstruation, wind, excitement, fatigue, or injury to the affected area. There is no known cure for the herpes virus. As people age the severity and frequency of outbreaks generally declines.

    Outbreaks usually last 10-14 days. During this time sufferers should avoid contacting others with the outbreak area. Medical attention should be sought if the outbreak lasts longer than 3 weeks or if at any time pus-filled blisters form underneath the crust of cold sores.

    Herpes Simplex Type 1 generally occurs on the mouth, but can also be spread to the genitals. A related virus, herpes Simplex Type 2 prefers the genitals but can also appear on the mouth. Both types of herpes can be the result of contact transfer (hand to mouth, oral sex, or other transfer method).

    Treatment Methods:

  • Avoid touching the area.
  • Keep the area moist and clean. An antiseptic mouth rinse might be helpful
  • Wear lip-balm to protect the area from exposure.
  • Minimize stress and emotional tension.
  • Aspirin or other pain relievers can ease the pain and reduce inflammation.
  • A new product called abreva is the first clinically proven (by the FDA) to shorten the healing time and duration of outbreaks. It is definitely worth a try.
  • Avoid contact (especially sexual contact) with the area. Even barrier methods may not be entirely effective.
  • Avoid eating spicy and acidic foods as they can cause discomfort.
  • Use a condom during any sex.

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