By Nico Strydom
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and occur mostly in and outside the mouth.
There are two types of herpes simplex virus. HSV-1 causes cold sores, while HSV-2 causes sores on the genitals.
A burning, itchy feeling inside the mouth or around the lips are early signs of a cold sore that is developing. It causes small, painful blisters, followed by scab-covered little sores.
Cold sores usually last for about seven to 10 days and are highly contagious. The virus is picked up through contact with somebody who carries it. You can therefore get it by kissing somebody or using the same dinnerware as a person who has the virus.
A cold sore can take up to 20 days to develop after you had contact with the virus. Your first infection with the virus will probably occur during childhood, whereafter the virus goes dormant to re-emerge later due to stress, fatigue, fever, colds, allergies, sunburn, menstruation and even certain foodstuffs.
How do I treat cold sores?
There are home remedies and medicines that can be used to treat cold sores.
General home remedies
- Use an ice cube to relieve the pain.
- A saline solution will help to keep the cold sore clean.
- You can use white dulcis, vanilla essence or alcohol to help dry out the cold sore.
There are also many medicines for treating cold sores that can be obtained from pharmacies without a prescription.
And if I get cold sores regularly?
If you are prone to cold sores, you can use antiviral medication regularly. You can also take the following steps to try and prevent cold sores from spreading or from being transmitted to other people:
- Avoid skin contact with other people while you have a cold sore.
- Do not share items such as towels or lip balm with others.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before touching yourself or other people.
- Apply a lip balm to prevent your lips from drying out.
- Reinforce your immune system by taking supplements.
- If you suspect that you are getting cold sores due to exposure to the sun, you can apply a sunblock to the area around your mouth or wherever the cold sores appear.
Medical News Today https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172389.php
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20371017