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Cold sores – causes and help

Cold sores

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Many of us are familiar with that tickling feeling on the lip, followed by itching and pain, that make us immediately think: “Oh no, cold sores, again”! But what exactly are cold sores?

Blisters that quickly turn to scabs, usually appearing on the lips or in the mouth, are a typical symptom of Herpes simplex type 1 virus infection. This infection is so common that it is estimated that most of the world’s population is infected, but symptoms might vary and sometimes even never appear.

After primary infection, which manifests through the aforementioned blisters, sometimes with  concurrent symptoms such as fever and swollen lymphatic nodes, the virus passes to a latent, dormant phase. As it lays dormant within the nerve cells there are no symptoms, and the virus doesn’t spread.  Periodically, recurrent infection can appear, usually manifesting with milder symptoms, but almost always on the same spot. These recurrent infections might occur due to a weakening of the immunological system or factors such as stress, excessive sun exposure, in response to fever and so on.

The herpes simplex infection is transmitted through saliva, that is coughing, sneezing, and therefore also kissing, but it is generally possible only when symptoms, i.e. blisters or scabs, are visible.

Most people do not suffer major setbacks due to herpes simplex infection, and symptoms usually fade after five to seven days. Lip blisters can be treated with topical creams and mouth blisters with anaesthetic solutions. In rare cases of extremely reoccurring symptoms, antiviral medication can be prescribed. Nevertheless, in patients with immunodeficiency the disease can attack internal organs and become dangerous, thus in these cases seeking professional help is advised.Request a quote