There’s a lot of misinformation out there about cold sores (also known as fever blisters). For example, are they the same as canker sores? No — the latter is limited to the inside of the mouth, while cold sores can appear on the lips, nose, cheeks, and only sometimes inside the mouth. And are cold sores rare? Definitely not. It’s estimated that 2/3 of people have the virus causing cold sores.
Cold sores aren’t all that pleasant, and no one likes getting them — but there is good news in that they can be treated with medication prescribed by your doctor. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about cold sores in this week’s blog post!
Why Do We Get Cold Sores?
Anyone who falls victim to occasional bouts of cold sores knows they’re annoying at best, and embarrassing and painful at worst. So what’s to blame for these red, uncomfortable, and irritating sores, or blister-like lesions? It’s called the herpes simplex virus, or HSV-1. It’s usually spread through the saliva and skin-to-skin contact.
Most people are exposed to this cold sore virus as children, and some estimates say that up to 85% of older adults have HSV-1. Many people will only ever experience one blip of cold sores throughout their lives. After that, the body builds up antibodies to resist further outbreaks. Fewer people will continue to experience cold sores on and off throughout their lives — but even still, outbreaks of cold sores are not at all uncommon.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cold Sore?
Before a cold sore pops up, you may notice these initial symptoms:
- Tingling lips
- Soreness on the lip
- Burning sensation in the area
After you get the cold sore, you’ll see a red, inflamed, blister-like spot or lesion. Most cold sores last for 8 to 12 days, but they can last for longer in some cases.
How Are Cold Sores Treated?
While there’s no way to rid your body of the virus that causes cold sores once you have it, you can get treatment for an existing cold sore. Your doctor or dentist can provide a prescription to control the blister and help you find relief from discomfort.
So yes, while cold sores are annoying, you can find relief during an outbreak! Don’t hesitate to contact your dentist treating cold sores as soon as you feel one coming up.
Posted on behalf of Envision Dental