Cold sores are small, and somewhat painful, blisters that usually show up on or around a person's mouth area. This includes both inside and outside the mouth, lips, nose or face. It is not uncommon for the blisters to break open and leak clear fluid. A scab forms over and within several days to 2 weeks the cold sore will heal.
The cause of cold sores is coming into contact with a herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus usually enters the body through cuts or open wounds on the skin. Cold Sores can be spread with the sharing of common items like razors and eating utensils, or by kissing or touching a person’s infected fluid.
Cold Sore Symptoms
- Pain around your mouth and lips
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
Cold sores will usually start to heal on their own within 2 weeks. The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores can't be cured. After you get infected, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. If you get cold sores often, treatment can reduce the number of cold sores you get and how severe they are.
If they are causing severe pain and discomfort you can be seen for treatment to speed up the healing process.
Tips to Avoid Cold Sores
- Avoid coming into contact with infected body fluids, such as kissing an infected person.
- Avoid sharing eating utensils, drinking cups, or other items that a person with a cold sore may have used.
Tips to Avoid Recurring Cold Sores
- Avoid the things that trigger your cold sores, such as stress and colds or the flu.
- Always use lip balm and sunscreen on your face. Too much sunlight can cause cold sores to flare.
- Avoid sharing towels, razors, silverware, toothbrushes, or other objects that a person with a cold sore may have used.
- When you have a cold sore, make sure to wash your hands often, and try not to touch your sore. This can help keep you from spreading the virus to your eyes or genital area or to other people.
- Talk to your doctor if you get cold sores often. You may be able to take prescription pills to prevent cold sore outbreaks.
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