What are cold sores ? Are they Herpes?
Cold sores are also known as fever blisters which are caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV, Type I is associated with infections of skin and oral mucous membranes, where as type 2 virus is associated with genital infection. Normally Cold sores are caused by HSV Type I. Cold sores is a recurrent infection and there is no permanent cure , so once you are infected with herpes simplex virus, it will remain in your body with or without symptoms. Transmission of virus can still occurs from a person who is infected with herpes simplex virus but without any visible symptoms. Reactivation of virus maybe is due to various stimuli, such as ultraviolet light, menstruation, stress, immunosuppression, and etc. You can get transmitted with HSV virus through droplet spread or contact with the lesions , such as activities like kissing, or sharing utensils.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
Prodromal symptoms are malaise and fever during 5 days of incubation period. Within one or two days time you will feel uncomfortable and there are small vesicles developing on any part of the your oral mucosa or your lips, your gums will be red and swollen. Then the vesicles will soon ulcerate, new vesicles will again develop over the days. Symptoms will subside over the days and outbreaks take around 10 – 14 days to resolve. Other symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, sore throat can also takes place. For recurrent cold sores, you will not get systemic symptoms as you gain immunity after the primary infection. But, you will still get vesicles on your lips and skins which will heal in a week’s time.
Can cold sores appear in other regions of our body?
Yes, extra oral lesions can be present, predominantly in children on the skin of chin or fingers due to drooling or thumb suckling.
When are fever blisters contagious?
Cold sores are contagious and is easily transmitted from one person to another person. The most contagious stage of a cold sore when it is in the weeping stage when the vesicles are starting to rupture and fluid which are flowing out from the vesicles are containing a lot of viral particles that can be transmitted to other people or infect other regions of your body. It is possible for people who are infected but without any visible symptoms to transmit herpes simplex virus to others.
What is the treatment for oral herpes lesion?
There is no predominant cure for cold sores and herpes simplex virus remains in ur body for a life time. Some of the ways to treat oral herpes lesion are mentioned below:
– Through antiviral medication such as Acyclovir , Famciclovir, Penciclovir . They helps to shorten the duration of outbreaks and speed up the healing process. Topical medications which are available in pharmacies are Denavir ® cream 1% and Zovirax ® cream 5% .
– Lysine supplement . Amino acids Lysine suppress growth of herpes simplex virus where as amino acid arginine promotes growth of the virus. You can consume 1250mg of lysine supplement to prevent reactivation of virus.
– Vitamin B and C. Vitamin B plays a role in reducing stress. A daily dosage of 25mg Vitamin B12 can be consume.
– Other treatment options/ home remedies which are available :
– Place ice on the areas where cold sores are going to appear. It might help to relieve the itchy kind of feeling but it will slow down the healing process.
– Tea bags as alternative to ice on the areas where cold sores are going to appear.
– Supplements such as zinc and calcium . Calcium is used by our body system to prevent from being acidic and thus promoting an anti virus environment in your body.1000 mg of calcium is essential to prevent reactivation of herpes simplex virus.
– Protect lips from the sun as ultraviolet light is a stimuli that can promotes reactivation of the HSV virus.
You can prevent transmission from others by:
– Avoid sharing utensils, towels cups.
– Wash hands frequently.
– Live a healthy lifestyle.