Cold sores, not to be mistaken with canker sores, are groups of small blisters that form on the lips and around the mouth. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which usually enters the body through a break in the skin or inside the mouth.
HSV is typically spread by sharing eating utensils or razors, or kissing an infected person. An estimated 90 percent of adults worldwide test positive for HSV even if they haven’t shown any symptoms.
Cold sores naturally disappear within two weeks. However, if your cold sore is particularly painful or irritating, you may want to visit your doctor who will be able to prescribe medications to speed healing and alleviate discomfort.
While there is no sure way to prevent future cold sores, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your number of outbreaks.
- Watch Your Health. Cold sores are often triggered by stress, fatigue, colds and the flu.
- Use lip balm and sunscreen. Too much sunlight can also trigger cold sores.
- Avoid spreading the virus. If you do develop a cold sore, wash your hands often and don’t touch the sore, as you may spread the virus to other parts of your body.
To learn more about cold sore prevention and cold sore treatments, contact Greenspoint Dental today.