Cold sores can be incredibly embarrassing. These facial blemishes seem to always appear at the worst time for a person around the lips.
These fluid filled blisters are quite unsightly and many people feel very embarrassed when viewed by other people due to them. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for cold sores.
Cold sores go by many names. Some people call them fever blisters, and slang terms can call them “mouth herpes”. The reason for this is simple. The virus that causes cold sores is one in the herpes family, though it’s not the same virus that causes genital herpes. Cold sores may disappear and be dormant for a while, but that does not mean that they are gone. Cold sores are contagious even when they are dormant with no visual signs.
Causes of Cold Sores
While told sores are technically caused by a different virus than genital herpes (HSV-1 instead of HSV-2), it should be noted that both can cause sores in the mouth area and the genital region. People can be infected easily through skin to skin contact with other people or from shared items like lip balm or utensils.
Beyond the cause of getting the virus is the cause of outbreaks. For many, once they get the virus it lays dormant for a long time within the nerves of the body. Other infections, getting a fever, suffering from stress, problems with fatigue and hormonal changes can all spur the recurrence of cold sore outbreaks.
Stages of a Cold Store and Symptoms
When a person gets a cold sore, it will go through a few different stages. The first is before it really erupts. The first stage consists of tingling feelings and itching around their lips. This can happen about a day before a cold sore appears. From that painful spot will appear. It starts small and feels hard to the touch. The second phase is when the blisters erupt from this location. These are fluid filled blisters. They usually are located on the edges of the lips where they meet the skin. Sometimes they can be located on the lips directly. The third stage can occur if the smaller blisters merge together into a larger one. This may ooze fluid out. Eventually it will crust over, but it can be uncomfortable and unappealing to the eye during that time. Timelines will really vary. Cold sores can clear in a few days or last weeks. When cold sores flare up in the future, they tend to reappear where they did the first time.
The first outbreak of cold sores tends to be the worst and may have additional symptoms. It’s possible for people to experience fever, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes. Another symptom of the first experience is that some people may have gums erode rather painfully.
Remedies and Treatment
The good news is that in most cases, cold sores will clear up with minimal treatment. They simply require time. In some cases, they can become more severe or cause complications. People with weak immune systems or who have frequent cold sores should check with their doctor to formulate a plan. For severe cases, there are some antiviral drugs which can be prescribed by doctors to help reduce the severity and length of a cold sore outbreak.
Many people choose their own home remedies to assist with cold sores. Some pick up some over the counter remedies or lip creams. Using sunblock can be very helpful as the sun can aggravate the feeling of a cold sore. A simple cold compress can help reduce the swelling and redness and is said to sometimes promote healing. Herbal remedies are sometimes used and some people use a cream made of sage and rhubarb.