Cold Sore (Fever Blister)

Cold sore or fever blister is a painful cluster of sores that occur on or near the lips, caused by the herpes simplex virus.

Symptoms of Cold Sore or Fever Blister

The symptoms of cold sore include:

  • Tingling sensation and itching before the outbreak of sores
  • Small cluster of sores
  • Sores are most often on or near the lips, but can also be on the face (chin, nose, and cheeks) or elsewhere on the body
  • Pain

By touching the sores and then eyes, the virus can be transferred and create a serious infection in the eye's cornea. Left untreated, this can lead to permanent loss of vision.

Causes of Cold Sore

Cold sores are caused by outbreaks of herpes simplex virus. Although the sores usually disappear within 1 to 2 weeks, the virus itself remains dormant in the body (quietly living in nerve cells), until the next recurrence.

Outbreak of cold sores are often trigerred by:

  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Common cold infection
  • Fluctuation of hormonal levels during menstruation.

Who Gets It?

The herpes simplex virus is contagious and can be transmitted by direct contact with, such as by kissing, an infected person.

Prevention of Cold Sore

Cold sores can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding stress and anxiety
  • Avoiding excess sunlight
  • Treating infections, such as the common cold, early
  • Exercising regularly to boost the body's immune system

Treatments of Cold Sores

Cold sores usually go away by itself within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, self-treatment of sores include:

  • Cold or ice compress on sores on the lips
  • Warm water compress on sores elsewhere
  • Avoiding sun exposure
  • Using sunscreen and lip balms if exposed to sunlight
  • Applying over-the-counter topical antibiotics on the sores

Your doctor may prescribe oral and topical antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, to be used in the early stages of outbreak.

Can Cold sores Be Permanently Cured?

No - this is because there is no drug to eliminate the herpes simplex virus completely from the body.

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