Cold Sore is a common infectious disorder that makes us suffer in lips and around or inside the mouth with fluid filled blisters. The blister causes pain and itching on the affected areas and can lead to other symptoms. Typically in spite of its association with cold in its name it has nothing to do with cold weather. It occurs due to a virus carried by most people and often recurs to the once affected person. The disease which is not life threatening and mostly get cured on its own is contagious and spreads through contacts of body fluid. Let us have a closer look at various symptoms and treatments of Cold Sore.
Cold Sore occurs mainly due to Herpes Simplex virus infection. There are two types of HSV virus, namely HSV 1 and HSV 2. While the first one is mainly responsible for majority of Cold Sore cases, second type of infection can also be responsible for sores inside the mouth. Around 80% of people carry the virus and it is said that once affected by the virus it stays inside the body for whole life. Often the affected person experiences recurrence of the symptoms of the disorder.
Symptoms of Cold Sore
When getting affected for the first time the virus can lead to symptoms or can be non-symptomatic as well. Children under the age of five are most vulnerable to such primary infection as they are most likely to have a weaker immune system against any type of viral infections. In case of primary infection children mostly experience the following symptoms.
- Fever and persistent headache
- Sore throat and swollen gums
- Fluid filled blisters on and around the lips or inside the mouth.
The appearance of the blisters may take a week long time after getting affected by the virus. The blisters usually last for 10 to 14 days. In case of recurrent outbreak of the disease the symptoms can be severe than the primary one. Recurrence of the disorder often begins with symptoms like tingling sensation and itching around the lips and around the mouth. Redness and swelling around the mouth is also a common symptom in recurrent cold sore cases. It takes a few days before the blisters begin to open causing a yellow colored crust on them. These scabs take mostly a week’s time to vanish from the affected area. It has been that the recurrence of the symptoms mostly occurs around the same place.
Treatment of Cold Sore
You cannot get rid of Herpes Simplex virus for the rest of your life once you are infected by it. It can often be non-symptomatic as well. When the virus causes Cold Sore in the affected person the disorder is only checked to relieve pain and ease the discomfort. Cold sore vanishes in few weeks on its own but for pain relief or for accelerating the healing process certain medications are used. Apart from controlling the symptoms the treatment of the disorder focuses on preventing the infection from spreading to other persons nearby. Weak or underdeveloped immune system in children makes them more vulnerable to such infectious disorders and hence preventing children from getting exposed to body fluid of others is important. Let us have a quick look at various types of treatment offered to curb the symptoms of the disorder.
- Over the counter painkillers like paracetamol can be effective to curb the pain.
- Anti viral cold sore creams can be applied to the affected area to speed up healing process.
- In case of acute and painful blisters attending physician can prescribe anti-viral medicines.
- Some moisturizer creams can comfort the affected area on skin.
- Prevent spreading of the disorder to other areas of body. So, do not touch cold sore affected area with hands and when touching wash your hands properly.
- Do not kiss anyone, indulge in oral sex or share food and drink with anyone from the same container to prevent spreading of the disorder through saliva.
- Do not share personal toiletries or items that are exposed to body fluid. Do not share your toothbrush, towel, razor, spoon, cream, lipstick, etc. with anyone else.
- Avoid acidic or spicy foods and beverages as they are more likely to flare up the sores.
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight and stay clear off humid places to prevent sweating.
Though cold sore is still a disorderly symptom the root cause of which cannot be wiped off, painful symptoms can be curbed to a great extent and by maintaining good hygiene it can be prevented from spreading.
Author Bio: Joydeep Majumder is a specialist in preventive care for contagious diseases. In article he discussed symptoms and cure of cold sores in details.