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Cold Sores, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention of Cold Sore

Cold sores

Cold sores are mostly caused by the HSV-1. Although HSV-2 can also cause infection of mouth but it is mostly known to cause the genital herpes. Almost eight out of 10 infected individuals have HSV-1 antibodies which means that they have virus. If you get HSV in your life then the virus stay in your body after that for rest of life.

cold sore

Symptoms of cold sores

The symptoms of cold sores vary among individuals. It may cause no symptoms or mild symptoms in some individuals. Children below five year age are most likely to be infected by cold sore. Common symptoms may include:

  • Headache with high fever
  • Painful gums due to swallowing
  • Stomatitis characterized by blister inside the mouth


The blister start appearing after 2 to 3 weeks of getting virus and may last for 2 weeks.

In adults it may cause the glandular fever type illness which is characterized by the swollen tonsils and sore throat with headache and high fever. After infection the virus remain in your body and can be reactivated and are known to cause blisters on the lips. The recurrent outbreaks may start with the tingling sensation, swelling and redness around the lips. It is followed by small fluid which is built by blisters which may open and then develop a yellow crust. The scalp may fall off within 7 days. The recurrent attacks usually appear on the same area. The range of outbreaks may vary but usually you have 2 to 3 outbreaks in a year.

Complications of cold sores

The cold sores may also be infected by bacteria and can cause impetigo. They can be easily spread to other parts of the skin as well such as eyes, fingers and genitals. In case when it infect your eyes then you may lose your vision. The infection in the genitals leads to genital herpes. The virus can be spread in to areas where skin is broken due to dermatitis or eczema which leads to serious skin infections.

In case of primary or recurrent HSV infection or if you have weekend immune system due to HIV or you need medicines to suppress your immune system then you must visit your doctor other it may cause serious illness. Although it is rare but you may pass on the HS infection to new born baby during pregnancy. This specific condition is known as neonatal herpes and your baby may ill seriously.

Causes of cold sores

The cold sores are normally caused by HSV-1 and infection can be easily transfer through body contact such as kissing someone having virus or sharing daily usable items such as lipstick or razors. There are a number of factors which are known to trigger the cold sores which may include:


  • Occasional emotional stress
  • Feeling tiredness
  • Menstruation may cause the cold sore
  • Irradiation falling directly on the lips
  • Injury caused by dental operation
  • High fever

In most of the cases real cause is unknown

Diagnosis of cold sores

In most of the cases your doctor can diagnose the cold sore easily by looking at your mouth and your doctor may also take a swab from the blister and characterize and investigate it for herpes virus.

Treatment of cold sores

There is no treatment known to get out virus from your body. After infection it will remain in your body throughout your life even if don’t develop any symptoms.  The cold sores can be easily clear in a week or two. There are few step which can be followed to get relief against pain.

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  • You can take ibuprofen or paracetamol which will aid you against pain and discomfort.
  • The antiviral cold sore creams may assist you in clearing cold sore more quickly and these are very much effective if you apply them at initial stage soon after you have identified your symptoms. But keep in mind that don’t share your creams with anyone else.
  • Once the cold sore develop you can also use moisturizing creams and some liquids which help to reduce irritation.
  • In case of severe infection your doctor may also prescribe anti-viral tablets.
  • Don’t touch your sore and in case you do I then wash your hands at the spot to avoid the spread of sore.
  • Avoid kissing or oral sex in case if your partner is suffering the cold sore. Avoid it until he or she get out of it completely.
  • Avoid sharing daily useable things with your friends or partners like lipstick, razors, cutlery or face towel.
  • If you are using contact lenses then wash your hands properly before putting in contact lenses. This will help to prevent the spreading of infection to your eyes.

It is necessary to read the leaflet that is provided with medicines and in case of any query feel free to ask from your doctor.

Treatment to Cure blisters of mouth and gums

In case of severe blistering in your mouths following step will help you to get rid of discomfort.

  • Use ibuprofen or paracetamol to get rid of it. Little angles may take liquid painkillers.
  • To stop dehydration drink enough fluid, this is the pre-requisite condition for children.
  • Try normal and cold foods and avoid taking acidic, spicy foods.
  • To stop your lips from sticking together use a lip barrier cream.
  • Visit your doctor he may prescribe different kind of creams which will help you in getting rid of pain and may also prescribe a mouth wash.

Prevention of cold sores

You can easily prevent the spreading of cold sore. You can use sun block or lip balm having sun protection factor of SPF 15. Avoid kissing and oral sex with partner having cold sore. Avoid sharing your creams and daily used items with other.  Poor hygienic habits are known to spread the disease more frequently you can easily minimize risk factor by improving your hygienic conditions. It is easily curable disease and you don’t need to worry a lot because treatment are available to get rid of it through proper medications.


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