Cold sores (fever blisters): Causes, symptoms and treatment
Have you ever seen small lesions around your lips and cheeks?
They are quite a nuisance and can be irritating.
Some people even have them appear on their gums and chin.
These are called cold sores.
Everything you need to know about cold sores is covered in this post.
What are Cold Sores
They are quite painful. Giving a burning sensation, they itch and if they are on the face for a long time, the sores can become crusty too.
Cold sores are also known as fever blisters.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is one of the main reasons you can get it.
Sometimes they can happen because of a stubborn infection.
While there isn’t a way in which you can cure this infection, you can try some steps which will reduce the frequency in which they take place and the time duration of the outbreaks.
Stages of a Cold Sore
Your cold sore will go through five stages:
Stage 1: This is when it sets in. You will feel a certain itch and tingling. It continues for a day till the first blister appears.
Stage 2: The blisters will start to show. They are fluid-filled and affect your confidence.
Stage 3: This is when the blisters become painful. They will ooze and sometimes burst too.
Stage 4: At this point, these sores completely dry out but they lead to extensive itching and cracking of skin.
Stage 5: The scab then falls off and this is a good sign. It means your cold sores are healing.
We will now talk in detail about the risk factors that are associated to this skin condition:
Cold Sore Risk Factors
Adults who develop herpes simplex type 1 virus are likely to face the condition again if they are subjected to certain risk factors like:
- A complicated infection or high fever
- A strong cold which needs medication
- Sun exposure for long duration
- Stress which is leading to anxiety and depression
- Being subjected to HIV/AIDS
- Having a weakened immune system
- Facing severe burns
- Eczema diagnosis
- Chemotherapy in progress
- Dental work is consistent
Also, if you come in close contact with someone who has a cold sore and you are sharing the same drinks, food, kissing the person or sharing other personal items. Sharing the same virus raises your chances of being infected.
Cold Sore Symptoms
Since they are created when you contract the herpes virus, the place where they form is from where the virus enters.
Anyone who is above 20 years old who is likely to get infected by the virus will have cold sores.
In case you are getting the infection for the first-time, you will experience the following:
- You feel a burning sensation
- There is severe pain inside your mouth
- Getting subjected to sore throat
- You feel strong pain when trying to swallow
- Headaches become frequent and you need medication for relief
- An upset stomach
When to see a doctor
Cold sores aren’t a major cause of concern and they usually clear up on their own.
However in certain cases, you will need to see a doctor when things get worse.
Get an appointment when: