Cold Sore Treatment
Ever get a cold sore out of nowhere? You’re not the only one. In this article, experts at Greeley Dental Care discuss cold sore treatment, signs, symptoms, and prevention. Use this information to take the right steps to minimize the chance of a recurrence or its severity.
What Are Fever Blisters and Cold Sores?
Fever blisters and cold sores are caused by HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1). This virus is transmitted from one individual to another through saliva (this can happen directly, such as when a person with the virus kisses another person who doesn’t have it, or indirectly, such as when one drinks from a glass which was used by a person with HSV-1).
Approximately 80 percent of all people have the virus, which causes cold sores, and most of them first get exposed to it before they are 10 years of age.
Cold sores manifest as clusters of very small blisters on your lips. After the initial infection, the virus stays dormant within the nerves in the face of the infected person. Dr. Taher Dhoon, a dentist in Greeley CO, explains that HSV-1 can become active again when the person carrying it develops a cold or a fever. Even stress can trigger the virus to become active again.
Sun exposure, dental treatment, or trauma to your lips can also trigger cold sores or fever blisters. If this viral attack finds when you have another health complication, HSV-1 can cause you to be seriously ill.
Symptoms of Fever Blisters and Cold Sores
The dental care professionals at Greeley Dental Care reveal that individuals who have the herpes simplex virus type 1 could develop a sore throat, headache, nausea, and vomiting, fever or painful swellings and sores in the mouth. For most people, these symptoms start approximately a week after they have been exposed to the virus.
After this initial attack, subsequent reactivation of the virus will just trigger cold sores to develop. Oftentimes, this comes after you have recovered from another illness or stress, and your immunity is low. Exposure to sunlight or poor nutrition can also reactivate HSV-1. The virus can also reactivate for no apparent reason.
Cold sores usually develop on the borders of your lips, so any dental procedure that involves stretching the lips could also trigger an attack of this virus.
Just before the cold sores develop, many people feel a tingling, itching, or burning sensation. Thereafter, swelling and redness follows. One or two days later, fever blisters develop on the lips or inside the mouth.
Painful sores develop once the crusts that formed at the top of the fever blisters burst. New crusts form as the cold sore heals. This cycle of a crust forming, then bursting and another taking its place continues until the sore heals completely. Complete healing takes about 10 days.
Diagnosis of Fever Blisters and Cold Sores
The physician or dentist in Greeley will start by looking over your medical history. Dr. Taher Dhoon will then examine you to assess whether what you are experiencing are cold sores and fever blisters. Additional tests may be done if you have another medical condition and the doctor suspects that this other condition has triggered the cold sores. If you are healthy, no additional test will be done to diagnose the cold sores.
Prevention of Cold Sores
HSV-1 is very common, so it is nearly impossible to avoid being exposed to it in your lifetime. However, you can protect your kids from early exposure by preventing anyone with signs of a herpes infection, such as fever blisters, from kissing them.
We asked our friend, Dr. Matt Laurich, a dentist in Livonia, MI, about preventing cold sores. Dr. Laurich says that sunscreen can also avert the cold sores resulting from exposure to sunlight. He also suggests that antiviral medications may also prevent the cold sores from forming. If such medicines are taken before an anticipated exposure to this virus, then the cold sores will be forestalled.
Several vaccines are also being tested, but these have been found only to help those who have never got their first HSV-1 attack.
Cold Sore Treatment
Dr. Taher Dhoon can give you one of several medications to make your cold sores to heal a little faster. These medications include famciclovir, valacyclovir, and acyclovir. Note that such medication will not eliminate the virus from your body. The medication is best taken when you feel an attack developing, such as when you feel the tingling sensation. Once the sores develop, the medication will hardly help.
Avoid touching the area with cold sores, and don’t try to remove the crusts. It is also wise to refrain from kissing anyone (or sharing anything which touches the lips, such as cups, forks, and towels) when you have fever blisters or cold sores.
You should also keep the affected area clean and apply some lip balm to keep the affected skin from cracking as the sores heal.
When to Visit Greeley Dental Care
While cold sores are common, they aren’t dangerous in most cases. However, you should contact Dr. Taher Dhoon at Greeley Dental Care or see your physician if the cold sores persist for more than a week, or they make it hard for you to swallow or speak. If the second outbreak of cold sores develops immediately after the previous one or you develop a fever, contact Dr. Taher Dhoon immediately. The professional will assess your condition and recommend the best way to suppress the activity of the HSV-1 virus.