A cold sore refers to a small blister or group of blisters that typically develop on the lips or around the mouth. This dermatology condition is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
It is not uncommon to get cold sores. Over half of Americans aged between 14 to 49 years carry the virus that causes cold sores.
If the virus remains in the body after the cold sores resolve. The cold sores may recur if the virus reactivates, or wakes up. In general, cold sores are not serious and tend to clear within two weeks in healthy people.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides cutting-edge skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding communities.
People with a cold sore can spread the virus to others who do not have the virus. This virus can spread to others even when the cold sores are treated. The person remains contagious until all the sores have scabbed over.
The following precautions can help to prevent the spread of the virus to others:
- Do not kiss people, especially children
- Avoid intimate contact
- Avoid close contact with anyone with a weakened immune system, including newborn infants
- Do not share personal items such as towels, lip balm, or razors
- Do not share food or beverages
- If the patient touches a cold sore or applies medicine to it, they should wash their hands promptly afterwards
- Wash the hands frequently throughout the day
These precautions are even more crucial if the patient is around a child who has eczema or a person with a weakened immune system. In case that individual catches the virus, it could be quite serious.
Cold Sore Prevention
Cold sores occur very commonly and spread through direct contact with a person who has an active lesion. These sores are the most contagious when they are active and oozing fluid.
Once the outbreak resolves, the virus stays in the nerve endings and breaks out at times when the immune system is weak. This could be when a person is sick, has a fever, gets a sunburn, or is stressed.
HSV-1 can also spread through sharing towels, drinks, razors, lipsticks as well as through kissing and having oral sex.
Avoiding cold sore entirely is very hard. Once a person has the virus, they will be vulnerable to future episodes of cold sores, although the virus can go dormant for periods of time.
How to get Rid of a Cold Sore
Keeping the immune system strong is the most effective way to prevent cold sores from flaring up. It is a good idea to get adequate sleep, stay away from sunlight, and avoid direct contact with an individual who has an active cold sore.
People with cold sores should avoid consuming irritating goods (Such as spicy or citrusy foods) that might irritate the region and slow healing, and consider taking a daily multivitamin.
Healthy people typically take one to two weeks to completely recover from a cold sore. Upon healing, cold sores tend to scab over and crust. Cold sores may appear unattractive, but the patient should try their best to let the area breathe.
Dr. Ewanowski’s dermatology practice and medical spa receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas for safe and proven skin care procedures.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.