Cold Sores: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

cold sore

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are tiny, blister-like lesions that appear on the lips, chin, cheeks, or nostrils, as well as the gums or roof of the mouth. They are caused by a herpes simplex virus infection. Antiviral drugs may aid in their management.

Symptoms of cold sores:

Depending on whether this is your first outbreak or a recurrence, your symptoms will differ. Symptoms of a cold sore may not appear for up to 20 days after being exposed to the virus for the first time. The sores might continue for a few days. And it might take 2 to 3 weeks for the blisters to heal fully. If blisters reappear, they will frequently develop in the same location and will be less severe than the original outbreak.

You may encounter:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Gums that hurt
  • Throat ache
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Lymph nodes that are swollen

Cold Sores Causes:

Close contact, such as kissing, spreads cold sores from person to person. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and, less often, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) cause them. Both of these viruses can harm the mouth or genitals and are transmitted through oral sex. Even if you don’t notice the sores, the infection can spread.

Treatments:

You can apply lotions or ointments straight to the sore. If you start using these lotions as soon as you sense tingling or itching — before the cold sore appears — you may be able to avoid it.

Your clinician may prescribe an antiviral medication that you use orally to treat cold sores.

Preventions:

Take the following precautions to avoid transmitting cold sores to others:

  • Keep your hands clean at all times. When you have a cold sore, wash your hands well before touching yourself or others, particularly newborns.
  • While blisters are present, avoid kissing and skin contact with others. When blisters release fluid, the virus spreads most quickly.
  • Items should not be shared. When blisters are present, utensils, towels, lip balm, and other personal things might transmit the infection.

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