1 Cold sore Source Author Ben Tillman Date 2008-11-28 Permiss
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What are cold sores?
Cold sore causes
Oral cold sores (otherwise known as oral herpes) are caused by the herpes simple virus (HSV-1). The infection is contracted by close, personal contact, i.e: kissing. In rare cases, oral herpes can be contracted by having oral sex with a person who has the herpes type 2 virus (genital herpes).
Oral herpes symptoms
The infection manifests itself in the form of painful, fluid filled blisters upon the lips.These may feel dry and itchy and usually appear between one to three weeks after the initial infection. However, some people can be symptom free as the virus may lay dormant and never manifest itself in actual sores.
Prevention and treatment of cold sores
How to cure cold sores
Cold sores will heal themselves if left alone, within 7 to 10 days. However there are certain creams on the market that are said to heal them more quickly. However these must be administered at the first sign of a tingle, heralding the arrival of a cold sore. These creams contain Aciclovir and, they must be applied 5 times a day for 5 days. These remedies are available over the counter. If the sores are causing pain then applying creams such as Bonjela can provide some relief whilst they are healing. For people with a compromised immune system, perhaps due to chemotherapy or HIV, herpes is a lot more serious and must be treated with anti-viral medication, prescribed by the doctor
Cold sore prevention
Once the HSV virus has been acquired the chances are that your cold sores may recur, as Aciclovir is not a cure. To better the chances of preventing recurrences, try to keep your body and immune system as healthy as possible. This really is the best thing that you can do as cold sores are more likely to reappear during a heavy cold or other illness. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy and varied diet. If you do get cold sores, avoid picking them as this can spread the infection, leading to possible complications. Always wash your hands after applying any cream as oral herpes is highly contagious.