It is medically called herpes labialis or herpes simplex labialis.
That nasty sore on your lip can be disturbing and can sometimes drain self-confidence.
It can appear in different areas of your lip and also varies in size.
The blisters are swollen, red and painful to touch.
Since it is a blister, should it break, the fluid would leak and would get drastically worse.
What are cold sores?
A virus causes cold sores or fever blisters, which is the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV: HSV 1 an the HSV 2.
These viruses typically affect your mouth and could also cause gential herpes. Since a virus causes it, it is contagious through body contact.
The heightened period where it is very contagious is when it is in blister form with fluids inside. Once it pops, the risk for it to be transmitted heightens.
According to studies, the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 is the most common cause of the cold sore formation and only about 10-15% are attributed to the HSV2 causes for the oral infection.
What are the causes of fever blisters?
When you have been affected by fever blisters in the past, it never leaves your body. The HSV-1 just becomes latent or dormant for months or years. And it reappears as it is easily triggered. Experts say that about 1/3 of those who are infected experience that problem encounter the blisters happen on the nose, the cheeks and other parts of the face.
Some of the common causes of cold herpes include:
- Local skin trauma
- Recent surgical procedure like lip tattooing, dermabrasion or even dental surgery
- Hormonal changes
Signs and symptoms of cold sores
Before the blisters occur, some people experience the prodrome phase where they feel a tingling sensation a day or two before the blisters appear. The symptoms then build up when blisters form and the surrounding areas become red and painful.
Treatment options for Cold Sores
Anti-viral medications are the most common treatment for a herpes simplex virus. It speeds up healing of the cold sores to 10% by using acyclovir or penciclovir, or stronger anti-viral medications such as Valaciclovir and Famiciclovir. The medications speed up healing, so it requires a prescription by your doctor.
Topical applications can also help heal the cold sores. The FDA has approved Docosanol especially for those who have abnormal immune system. This is another option for drug resistance users in need of treatment.
Preventing Cold Sores
Prevention: To avoid the recurrence of cold sores, one must avoid certain activities or modify one’s lifestyle.
Stress: Since stress is big factor in the recurring cold sores, reduce stress as much as possible.
Vitamins and Minerals: Taking daily vitamin C to boost your immune system helps to avoid the sores from recurring.
Since, fever blisters are contagious, avoid getting in contact with them. Sharing utensils and body contact should also be avoided when cold sores are present since viruses can be transferred easily.