Cold sores – how to keep them at bay

Cold sores – how to keep them at bay

March 10, 2020 11:52 am Published by

Many of us are familiar with the tell-tale tingle – a cold sore is coming! Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are a type of blister that’s caused by a virus. Unfortunately, they are very common, with around two-thirds of the world population having the virus. Cold sores can appear around the nose or the mouth and can be very unsightly as well as painful.

  • What happens?

Usually, it starts with a tingle around your mouth. Then your skin becomes irritated before small fluid-filled blisters form. These break and form sores, which can take up to a week to heal over and disappear. The irritation during that time can be hard to deal with! During this time your cold sore fever blister is highly contagious, so be careful what – or who – your skin comes in contact with. It can be passed on by saliva, so that means being careful with drinking glasses and kitchen equipment also.

  • Where does it come from?

The sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex or HSV-1. This is caught by coming into contact with someone who already has the virus. Some people never catch it or develop cold sores, though no one is sure why. It’s thought to be in your genes. To avoid spreading it yourself, make sure you try not to touch your face and wash your hands with soap and water if you do. It is possible that the cold sore virus can spread to other parts of the body like your eyes or fingers, so practice good hygiene to minimise the risks. Be especially careful if children have cold sores, as thumbsucking can pass on the virus to hands. It is rare though – so don’t worry too much.

  • Is there a cure?

Sadly not! But there are over-the-counter mouth blister treatment creams from your pharmacist that can help ease the symptoms. Antiviral creams, if used as soon as you feel the tingle, can help lessen the impact of an oncoming outbreak. Ibuprofen can help if the sores are really painful, as can a cold compress. Don’t pick, as this can have the opposite effect and spread the blisters. A cold sore will usually go away of its own accord within around 10 days.

  • Why do cold sores come back?

It can feel like cold sores come in cycles – but the truth is that once you have the virus, unfortunately, it never goes away. It lurks behind nerve cells and tends to come back when your defences aren’t at their best. An attack could be triggered by feeling unwell, by stress, hormones or other factors. This is where the name ‘cold sore’ comes from, as it can often happen when you have a cold and don’t feel 100%. Keeping well can be your best tool in fighting off cold sores outbreaks! Surprisingly, bright sunlight like we have in Dubai can be a trigger for some. In this case, it’s best to use sunblock before venturing out of doors.

  • Visiting the dental clinic

If you have a cold sore and are due to visit the dental clinic, such as Drs. Nicolas & Asp – pick up the phone. The dentist may think it better to wait until the sore has healed, to avoid further irritation. They may also want to avoid the risk of passing on the infection. Or, they may just take the chance to put a few extra precautions in place before your appointment.

  • Getting help

If you find you’re developing cold sores more than once or twice a year, or if they take longer than a couple of weeks to heal, then speak to a medical professional, such as at Drs. Nicolas & Asp. They may be able to prescribe mouth blister treatment to help manage the outbreaks. Or, they can help you identify the triggers that bring on the attacks in the first place.

Categorised in:

This post was written by admin