Cold Sores? 

Cold Sore

Pictures of a Cold Sore

The fact that cold sores are common doesn’t make it any less annoying when the cold sores break out. Cold sores are a herpes simplex virus. Research suggests that most people have been infected by one type of the herpes viruses ( most commonly the herpes simplex virus responsible for cold sores) before they reach adulthood. But relax!  The virus is not a particularly dangerous condition for most adults!

The greatest problem with cold sores is that they are contagious.

The virus can be transferred through mucous and saliva, so it’s very easy to catch it even from just sharing a drink from the same glass or bottle. When the cold sores virus has been caught, the first episode results in sores and blisters around the lips, mouth and gums and this first exposure can be a very very severe and painful experience. It is often accompanied by fever and general malaise.

Subsequent episodes are not severe and exhibit as common cold sores. Generally speaking – when the sores appear, is the point at which the disease is most contagious – but the sores don’t usually last for more than a week. Cold sore sufferers can find it difficult to eat and drink due to the discomfort.

When the cold sores have disappeared, the herpes virus is still present. In fact, it lodges in the tissue in the spine where it can reproduce. This sounds like it could result in further symptoms. However, in many cases, it is no longer noticeable and the cold sores do not reappear. For some people, however, the cold sores which characterise oral herpes can reappear during times of stress, anxiety and worry.

So, is there anything that you can do to successfully treat cold sores ? 

For most people, the condition becomes something that they learn to live with over time. Various medications exist and your doctor will be able to prescribe an analgesic to help you to manage the pain until the sores become less inflamed. Another alternative is to prescribe anti-viral drugs, which can help the cold sores disappear more quickly.

What can you do?

  • Dehydration can be an instigating factor so drink plenty of water.
  • Stress and anxiety are also a risk factor as are lack of vitamins.
  • Some sufferers find it beneficial to take multivitamins the minute they feel a tingle.
  • On rare occasions, oral herpes can result in sufferers feeling slightly feverish so treat the symptoms of your fever as per usual.

If oral herpes cannot be treated, can it be prevented?

There is no vaccine currently available, so the only route to avoiding cold sores is to avoid coming into close contact with individuals who have visible symptoms. If you have already contracted cold sores and get them regularly, focus on reducing stress so that the sores recur less frequently.

Younger children have weaker immune systems and so can be more susceptible to the virus. In very rare cases the virus can travel to the brain so consult your doctor if you suspect your child has contracted it.

Call 33698300 or book your appointment online.