Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The virus is contagious and can be passed on through kissing or touching. It is also possible to get cold sores after having oral sex with someone who has genital herpes, but this is a different strain of the herpes virus.
Once you have contracted the virus, it stays dormant in your skin and you may not know that you have it. Many people who have herpes never experience cold sores. However, when it flares up this is when a cold sore appears.
There are many possible triggers for these flare-ups, including:
Cold sores tend to begin with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your lip. These are the only real ‘symptoms’ of a cold sore beyond the blisters themselves.
The blisters themselves are small fluid-filled blisters that can appear anywhere on the face. Once the blisters burst they will then scab over.
Once the tingling starts, there is nothing you can do to prevent the cold sore appearing. All you can do is take steps to make it go away as quickly as possible.
- Cold sores should start to heal on their own within 10 days but may cause irritation and be painful and unsightly.
- There are a number of creams to ease pain and irritation. Cold sore patches are also useful to help protect the affected area, allowing it to heal more effectively.
- Antiviral creams can be prescribed for larger than normal cold sores that have spread. These creams help to speed up healing time.
- If you would like help getting rid of your cold sores, you can visit one of Ahmeys healthcare professionals who can take a look at the problem, address any concerns you may have and prescribe effective medication to aid healing.