Cold sores are highly contagious boils that usually appear on the mouth, chin, cheeks, inside the nostrils and lips. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus type-1. Cold sores are quite common and cannot be prevented, but measures can be taken to reduce the complications associated with it. More than 50% of the people suffer cold sores at some point in their life. Cold sores causes pain and irritation and generally lasts for a few days.
Causes of Cold Sores
The HSV-1 is a herpes simplex virus-type 1 that causes cold sore infection. However, in some cases HSV type-2 virus can also cause cold sores. An infected person can easily pass on this virus infection to a healthy person. Sharing of personal items such as razor, towel, sheets, or clothes can spread the infection. Following are some possible causes that may trigger the virus to cause cold sores.
Symptoms of cold sores may come and go, depending on their type. The most common symptom is burning and tingly sensation that occurs few days before the appearance of cold sores. Other common symptoms of cold sores are:
Diagnosis of Cold Sores
There are no such diagnostic tests
available for the diagnosis of cold sores. You can consult a dermatologist if sores have not healed within a week. In case if a patient has a weak immune system
or is undergoing a chemotherapy or AIDS treatment, should consult a doctor within a day when a cold sore appears. Sometimes a doctor may order a blood test
or take a sample of fluid from the sore to check for the presence of infection and its condition.
Most cold sores fade on their own within a week or two and there is no requirement for medical treatment. Antibiotics and other over-the-counter medicines prescribed by the dermatologist will help alleviate pain and irritation. An ointment can be applied directly on the sore daily for a week. These ointments contain zovirax and acyclovir that can provide relief from burning and tingly sensation. Sometimes vitamin-E supplements and changes in diet are also advised to people with weak immune system. Avoid touching the sores frequently and wash your hands to avoid passing the virus to others. Always keep your body hydrated lack of water levels may also cause cold sores.