Cold Sore: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Cold sore is also known as fever blister. They are small red swollen blisters in group around the lips and mouth. The blisters may contain clear fluid and they form scab after about 3days.  About 90 percent of adult are infected by Herpes simplex virus antibodies mainly because they have been infected before.
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Causes of cold sores

Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 AND HSV -2) is the main cause of cold sore. When this virus causes sore in the vagina, it is called genital herpes. It is called herpes whitlow when it affects the finger. Genital herpes is commonly caused y HSV -2 while cold sore of the mouth is commonly caused by HSV -1. This Herpes simplex virus usually enters a break in the mouth, lips or skin. It can be transmitted by from one person to another when somebody touches the infected sore fluid. It can also be contacted by sharing razor and utensils with infected person. You can also get infected by kissing an infected person as the virus is carried by saliva. Oral sex also transmits the virus. Cold sore usually spread to different areas of the mouth and body.
In case of mistakenly touching the blister or fluid, immediately wash your hand and ensure not to touch part of your body with the hand.

What are the symptoms of cold sore?

 I have seen people affected with Herpes simplex virus and they don’t show any symptom. Some do not have sore especially at first exposure to the virus. You can see your doctor for examination. He or she will ask you some questions to know if you have contacted the virus. You might not necessarily have to go through any test. You may likely have cold sore if you notice the following signs and symptoms. 
Pain around the mouth or lips
Sore throat
Mouth ulcer
Swollen glands in the neck

Here are the stages of cold sore
Stages of cold sore

You might notice some itching and burning sensation around your mouth on the first day. It is followed by formation of a small hard and painful spot. You will now notice it transforming to blister with fluid inside it. The blisters occur in groups and they start bursting in about day 4. It is followed by crust formations which later dries up and fall off at about day 10.

Complications of cold sore

The common complication of cold sore is bacterial infection and fever. Cold sore affects the eyes, fingertips, organs, and a widespread area of the skin. Organs like spinal cord and brain can be affected. It can cause ulcer of the cornea of the eyes, which can damage the person’s sight. It can cause a painful red eye which can be prevented if medication is given early. People with suppressed immune system are more likely to come down with complications when they have cold sore.  The following conditions can increase your complication risk; eczema, HIV/AIDS and burns.
Some treatments also expose you to the complications and this includes cancer chemotherapy and anti-rejection drugs given for organ transplant.

Treatment of Cold Sore

Cold sore normally starts healing up after 3days and completely in about 2 weeks. Skin cream and ointment can be applied to ease pain and avoid embarrassment. Using skin cream or ointment in treating cold sore will help the sore to heal faster. Do not trigger the sore and when outdoor, use sunblock on your lips and face generally.
Note that cold sore will always reappear mainly because the cause, Herpes simplex virus cannot be cure just like HIV. Once you get infected, Herpes simplex virus remains in your body system for the whole lifetime. Treatment will help reduce the rate of re-appearance.

When to see your doctor

As I have said earlier, cold sore will heal up without treatment. Contact your doctor;
If you have a weak immune system
If your cold sore does not heal up in 2 weeks
In case irritation of the eyes occur
If you experience frequent re-occurrence
If the symptoms is severe an very painful

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