9 Things You Ought To Know About Cold Sores.

cold-soresItching sensation on the face makes you feel irritated. Especially, when you have an important meeting or any special occasion to attend, right?

Why it burns and itches you on the face?

The real culprit is those fluid-filled blisters, what we called “Cold Sores”.

Other names of cold sores:

– Fever blisters

– Oral herpes

– Labial herpes

– Herpes Labialis

– Herpes Febrilis

1. What are cold sores?

Cold sores are painful swelling that usually appears at the edge of your lips. It is contagious and it shows its symptoms within two to 20 days, if you come into contact with an infected person.

2. Symptoms

– Viral infections (tiredness, fever, headache)

– Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

– Tingling and burning sores.

– Blisters around mouth or lips.

Cold sore recalls me of bad memories. One among those was the day before my job interview. It was itching and burning sensation around my lips. And later, it turned into swollen, sensitive gum of deep red color. Because of pain, I could not talk properly. And this spoiled my whole interview.

Many of you guys might have suffered or still suffering from painful blisters. You can’t even drink or eat properly. This might lead to dehydration. It annoys you more when blisters attack your lips frequently.

Eventually, I figure out the main reason provoking such horrible blisters and even the remedy as well.

3. Main Cause of Cold Sores

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is the real culprit behind such fever blisters.

What is HSV?

Human herpes viruses are of 8 types. But the only Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type-1, causes cold sores. Virus mostly causes herpes lesion on the lip or area around your mouth.

How HSV attacks a person?

The virus mostly attacks a person having a weak immune system. It enters through the skin or mucous-coated surfaces and persists in your nerve cells.

Such herpes virus annoys you more because,

HSV is latent virus, which once infected remains dormant between outbreaks. This damages your nervous system badly.

Prior two days of an attack, you might feel itching sensation on any part of your face, usually on your lips. And slowly, the virus turns into cold sores.

4. Life of Cold Sore

Cold sore pass through several stages like,

– Birth stage. (Itching and burning sensation)

– Growth stage. (Blister grows into bulbous mass)

– Weeping stage. (Mass breaks and may ooze)

– Healing stage (skin flakes off and reveal pinkish)

Lesion last 7-10 days if not treated in time. Good news about cold sore is, it didn’t leave scars. But it is contagious throughout all stages, especially during its weeping stage.

5. Cold Sore Triggers

Different conditions provoke cold sore. But the most common cold sore triggers are,

– Fever/illness

HSV-1 virus catches easily to a person suffering from fever. High fevers are dangerous. Must be treat in time.

Cure: Fever reducer like Advil avoid the chances of a cold sore outbreak.

– Sun Exposure

The sun emits harmful UV rays that trigger many a lip lesions.

Cure: Use plenty of lip balm at highest concentration SPF.

– Cold Weather

During winters, your lips crack. HSV-1 easily attacks your cracked lips.

Cure: Moisturize your lips with prescribed ointments and keep them covered during cold weathers.

– Stress

Emotional stress contributes to skin lesions. Especially in woman, the emotional stress of PMS triggers cold sores.

Cure: Meditation and deep breathing can reduce your stress level.

– Other triggers

Allergies, injuries to delicate facial tissue and even your regular dental work triggers cold sore.

Which of these causes you a cold sore? Limit the cold sore flare-ups by knowing your triggers and avoid them in time.

6. How it spreads?

Cold sores are contagious and spread rapidly. If you don’t want to get infected, you must avoid…

– Kissing an infected person

– Sharing food and utensils

– Touching your cold sore

– Squeezing, picking and pinching blisters

When it becomes FATAL?

Cold sore infection becomes life-threatening and may cause,

– Blindness (If attack eyes)

– Encephalitis (If spreads to brain)

– Bell's palsy. (Facial paralysis)

An easy target of HSV-1 is,

– Children

– HIV infected patients

– Pregnant woman

– Person under medication

Why they become an easy target of cold sore?

Answer: Weak Immune System

Yes, HSV-1 virus catches easily, if a person has a weak immune system. Keep your immunity strong through healthy diet and regular exercise.

Suggestion: Protect kids from HSV-1 virus because young kids are more likely to get infected.

7. How to diagnose cold sore?

Oral herpes can be easily diagnosed by its symptoms. Doctor tests your blood for antibodies to herpes simplex virus. A positive test confirms HSV-1 virus.

Prior making any assumptions, you need to see a doctor first. Because cold sores are often confused with canker sores.

Suggestion: Must seek medical advice, if diagnosed.

8. How To Treat Cold Sore?

Oral herpes cannot be cured. Only the effect of symptoms can be reduced through proper medication. Antiviral drugs decrease the length of herpes virus and reduce the number of outbreaks. Drugs like Famvir, Zovirax, and Valtrex treat the symptoms of herpes.

Which food to avoid?

– Salty and citrus food.

– Alcohol

– Caffeine

– Excessive sugar.

What to include in your diet?

– Vegetables

– Fruits

– Whole grains

Care During Treatment

– Wash hands frequently before touching an infant.

– Use warm, soapy water to wash the sore and pat gently to dry.

– Use ointments that help to relieve the cold sores.

– Place a bandage over the sore that prevent from spreading over another part of your face.

– Take a drug, Acetaminophen which reduces pain and fever.

9. Prevention

Avoid contact with infected person, is the only way to prevent oral herpes. People may get infected if comes into contact with cold sores patient.

No herpes vaccines are available for HSV-1 virus prevention. Several herpes vaccines are being tested. But, only symptoms can be reduced.

Have healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise to minimize the chances of flu that is responsible for cold sores.

Keep your immune system strong and fight against HPV-1 virus that brings those blisters. Be healthy and say good-bye to cold sores!

Cold sores, contagious disease with fluid-filled blisters that make a patient in a worse condition, if left untreated.

Joydeep Majumder, a healthcare blogger at ranzynn have highlighted on its real cause and even suggested the best cold sore remedies.

If you have any questions, please ask below!