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Cold Sores

Cold sores can be very uncomfortable for a person because of their unappealing appearance and painful feel. Find out what causes cold sores and how to speed up their healing.

The virus that causes cold sores is called the herpes simplex virus type 1 and it is a virus that can easily be transmitted when the virus is active. The virus can be transmitted by close contact like kissing.

What are cold sores?
Cold sores look like small blisters located on the lips, mouth or nose. These painful blisters are filled with fluid and have a red, swollen appearance. The cold sores can appear without warning and can last for about 10 days. A certain ache or tingling can usually be felt before a cold sore emerges, this is why most people can sense that a cold sore is ready to form. The cold sores are most contagious when they appear and they remain contagious until the cold sores are completely covered by a crust. The crust which forms once the cold sore starts to heal will have a dark red appearance.

What triggers cold sores?
What exactly triggers cold sores and how the process happens exactly is still unknown, but there are a few conditions which are know for being related to the appearance of cold sores. Once the virus is contacted, it will start to multiply and a cold sore will appear. The cold sores can be triggered by:

  • fever

  • colds

  • stress

  • ultraviolet light exposure

  • weakened immune system

  • hormones

  • Cold sores can appear often or more rare depending on each person's sensitivity. Some people experience cold sores several times a year, while some experience cold sores about once or twice a year.

    Is medical assistance necessary?
    In most cases medical assistance is not necessary but there are some exceptions. Severe outbreaks in some people should require medical attention to avoid any complications. A complete healing treatment has not yet been discovered but there are certain medications and topical treatments which help speed up the heeling process and reduce the number of outbreaks experienced. A physician will prescribe the treatment and the dose necessary for healing.
    Dermatologists usually deal with this type of skin problem so don't hesitate to seek medical help, to receive the best treatment for you.
    Keep in mind that mouth herpes can easily be transmitted to the genitalia through oral sex so try to abstain yourself from oral sex when you have an outbreak.

    Cold sore treatments
    Cold sores cannot be permanently treated but there are certain ingredients which are known for having a healing effect over cold sores.

  • zinc is thought to be linked to cold sore inhibition so by making sure the recommended daily value of zinc intake is achieved one can help limit the number of outbreaks

  • aloe vera based lip balms can help sooth the cold sore. Apply the aloe vera on the cold sore using a cotton swab or your finger to avoid contaminating the lip balm and getting reinfected whenever the lip balm is used

  • topical creams like Acyclovir or Zovirax applied several times a day over the cold sore can help speed up the heeling process and limit the size of the cold sore. The ointment should be applied directly on the blister

  • oral medication containing Acyclovir can also offer a solution in speeding up the healing process of the cold sores. Usually this type of medication should be taken for about 5 days, during which the cold sore will start to heal

  • Pregnant women whould avoid using medication without medical consultation. Some medications could have side effects like nausea, diarrhea and migraines so consult your physician before turning to oral medication.

    Tags: cold sores, cold sore, cold sore treatment, herpes, herpes simplex, mouth herpes, herpes treatment, herpes

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