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Posts for tag: Cold sores

By WESTGATE DERMATOLOGY AND LASER CENTER, P.A.
January 25, 2021
Category: Skin Conditions
Cold sores are small, painful blisters that develop on the lips and around the mouth. These sores are caused by a viral infection known as herpes simplex. More specifically, Herpes Simplex Type 1 is typically the cause of cold sores. This condition is very common, affecting around 67% of the global population. Here’s what you should know about cold sores, including how to treat them when they surface.
 
How did I get cold sores?

Cold sores are highly contagious, so it is possible to get a cold sore from,
  • Kissing an infected person
  • Sharing utensils and drinking from the same glass as an infected person
  • Oral sex
While the herpes simplex virus is typically considered a sexually transmitted disease when it comes to cold sores many cases of HSV1 are passed between family members. If you have a parent or grandparent who has cold sores who has also kissed you or shared food and drink items with you, then chances are good that you got your cold sore from them.
 
What are the symptoms of a cold sore?

Before a blister even develops, you may notice burning, tingling, pain, or itching around the affected area of the lip. If this is your first time dealing with a cold sore, it is common for the first outbreak to be the worst. In this case, you may develop a fever, body aches, or other flu-like symptoms.
 
The cold sore itself may look like a cluster of blisters or an inflamed, open sore. Eventually, the blister will scab over and go away, usually in about two weeks.
 
How can I treat a cold sore?

When it comes to treating a cold sore, you can find simple over-the-counter creams that help to ease symptoms. If you deal with severe cold sore outbreaks you may wish to talk with your dermatologist about a prescription antiviral medication, that can help to reduce the length of your outbreak and reduce symptom severity.
 
Are cold sores and canker sores the same thing?

Cold sores and canker sores can often be mistaken for each other, but they are not the same. First, cold sores usually develop on the lips while canker sore cause painful sores to develop in the mouth. Secondly, cold sores are due to a virus while we still don’t know exactly what causes canker sores.
 
If you are dealing with cold sores your dermatologist can provide you with both over-the-counter and prescription options, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you have questions about cold sores, call your dermatologist today.
By WESTGATE DERMATOLOGY AND LASER CENTER
June 29, 2018
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Cold sores  

Cold Sores can appear on the outside of the lipWhat are cold sores and what can you do to relieve your symptoms?

Most people who have had cold sores often know when they are about to appear. The tingling and burning sensation around the mouth is often the first indicator that a cold sore is imminent. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV­1), which causes cold sores. If you have cold sores then you are probably wondering more about this condition, how to treat it and what it means for your health.

What are the symptoms of cold sores?

Symptoms often stick around for about two to three weeks. Besides experiencing oral sores around the mouth, people may also experience flu­like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue. These oral sores will often appear as tiny blisters that break open and scab over.

When should I see a doctor about cold sores?

While cold sores often don’t warrant a trip to the dermatologist, there are certain times when it might be advisable. These sores can be painful, so if you find it difficult to eat or talk then you will want to talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate the pain to make eating easier. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration on top of an outbreak.

If these oral sores look different from other cold sore outbreaks, then it’s also worth seeing your dermatologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Those with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or chemotherapy should also see their dermatologist to prevent further complications.

What treatments are available for cold sores?

While many cold sores will go away without the need for treatment, if you are experiencing pain we may prescribe a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. There are also over­the-counter treatments that speed up healing and reduce pain. However, for those with severe infections your dermatologist may also prescribe an oral antiviral medication.

Those with weak immune systems and those who become dehydrated as a result of cold sores may need to go to the hospital to prevent further problems and to receive oral antivirals.

While you cannot cure the virus that causes cold sores, there are certainly ways to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist to find out more!