What are Cold Sores

Fever blisters also known as cold sores are a group of small blisters that appear on the lips and around the mouth. These are often red, painful to touch and swollen, when they break open a clear liquid is produced. The broken blisters often form a scab which heals in a matter of days to a maximum of about two weeks. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus which comes in two types known as HSV-1 and HSV-2, these two cause sores on the area around the mouth or around the genitals.

The virus gets access in to the body usually through a break in the skin. Usually this happens when a person touches or comes in to contact with an infected person or utensils such as when kissing, touching an infected person or razors. The sores can be spread to other parts of the body apart from genitals and around the mouth; however they are more common around the mouth and genital than other parts of the body. Parents who have been infected are highly likely to pass the infection to their children due to close contact especially if the children are at a young age. Infected partners also run the risk of infecting their spouses if they come in to contact with any of the infected part or saliva which is quite a common occurrence.

Cold sores present by first by soreness around the mouth and on the lips which may be followed by swollen glands, a fever and a sore throat. Children especially at a very young age may drool before the appearance of the cold sores. The small sore blisters appear for some days and then break open releasing a clear liquid, after they form a scab which will disappear after a few days or weeks. Oftentimes cold sores can be diagnosed without any tests by the medical personnel questioning the patient whether they have come in to contact with any infected persons. A physical examination also helps in determining on whether the person has cold blisters.

The blisters heal in a matter of days and hence may not require medication however at times the may be too painful or cause embarrassment, in such circumstances they should be treated. Cold sores may be treated by use of creams, pills or ointments, the treatment gets rid of the sores faster than when they are left to heal on their own but can also be used to ease the pain of the sores.

One important thing to note is that the virus that causes the condition cannot be cured and once you are infected it will remain in the body for the rest of your life. For people who get frequent sores it’s wise to get medication in order to reduce the occurrences of cold sores. Prevention of infection is a better method with cold sores than managing them when they have already occurred. Avoiding contact with infected people is the main aspect of protecting oneself from the infection; this includes avoiding utensils that a person who is infected may have used. 

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