Are you experiencing localized itching and tingling around your mouth? You may be developing a cold sore! Cold sores are blisters that develop on the skin around the mouth, nose, and chin. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are highly transmittable. Know that your cold sore will generally get better by itself, and many other people suffer from the same affliction. We will examine further information regarding these blisters below.
Cause of Cold Sores
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus for which there is more than one type of infection. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) occur in different parts of the body and do not have the same effects.
Cold sores on the mouth, also referred to as oral herpes, are generally caused by HSV-1 while most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Oral herpes can cause genital infection during oral sex for those who do not currently carry the infection. Avoid sharing any utensils, personal care products, toothbrushes, drinking glasses, and even kissing others when blisters are present.
Cold Sore Symptoms
In some individuals, the HSV infection causes cold sores which occur following an event such as a cold or illness. Hence the term “cold sore.” For most, cold sore symptoms persist as:
- Localized itching and tingling
- Small blisters form
- Tenderness, pain, and a sensation of burning may follow
- Blisters burst
- Site of the infection develops a crust
- The crust dries and flakes off about a week later
Treatment for Cold Sores
Generally, cold sores are not dangerous. The majority of adults within the US, 50 to 80 percent, have oral herpes. And while many treatments are available, there is no cure for the infection.
In most cases, your cold sore will heal on its own, but we will discuss products that can assist you with pain and discomfort. One common soothing treatment is applying ice to your blisters. Simple painkillers such as Ibuprofen can also be taken. The best way to quickly heal from a flare-up of oral herpes is to avoid picking at your blisters. Re-scarring the area can lead to a deeper infection!
Your general practitioner or local pharmacist can assist you with any questions you may have regarding the presence, or prevention, of cold sores.