Most of us have had a cold sore at some point in our lives, and consider them nothing more than an inconvenience. However, cold sores are actually a lot more complex than you’d think. What’s more, they can be highly infectious, which is where the real danger lies. It is best to be informed about cold sores so when trouble strikes, you know what to do:
Cold Sores Are Caused By a Strain of the Herpes Virus
Cold sores are caused by the HSV type 1 herpes virus, which is related to HSV type 2, which is the virus that causes genital herpes. Once you’ve contracted the virus, it remains in your body for the rest of your life. It generally remains dormant, but sometimes can emerge in the form of visible cold sores. For most people, cold sores are a rare occurrence, but for some individuals, they can flare up on a more regular basis.
Cold Sores Can Be Brought On By Many Factors
Cold sores can be triggered by a number of things such as fever, chapped lips, stress or infection. While most cases are difficult to avoid, it does help to look after your lips with a moisturizing lip balm that contains sunscreen.
Cold Sores Are Contagious Before They Appear
In most cases, there are signs of a cold sore emerging before it ever becomes visible. You’ll likely feel a burning or tingly sensation. It is important to note that you are contagious from the moment you begin to feel symptoms till the cold sore is fully healed.
Prevent Transmission of Cold Sores
If you have a visible cold sore or even if you sent some symptoms, there are steps to take to prevent transmitting the virus to others. For instance, you should avoid touching the cold sore, wash your hands frequently and avoid any form of contact with others, especially in terms of kissing on the mouth or sharing personal effects such as toothbrushes or coffee cups. It is also wise to avoid oral sex entirely.
Available Cold Sore Treatments
Finally, it is possible for a doctor to prescribe an antiviral cold sore treatment which can help alleviate any pain caused by a cold sore. Another option would be to visit your pharmacist and find out about over-the-counter treatments.
Cold sores are not something you need to become overly stressed about. In most cases, they are just an inconvenience for a matter of days. However, if you do find yourself suffering from them on a more regular basis, it is a good idea to seek the help of a medical professional. In the meantime, it is important for you to take some simple steps such as the measures we’ve discussed to prevent the transmission of the virus to loved ones as it is highly contagious. We hope that now you are a bit better informed on cold sores, you’ll know how best to deal with them in the future.