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Genital Herpes: Who Can Get Them and Causes

Genital Herpes: Who Can Get Them and Causes

Genital Herpes: Who Gets and Causes | Tampa | St. Pete | BrandonAny person who is sexually active can get genital herpes. It is a common condition. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that one in six people in the US who are aged between 14 to 49 years has genital herpes.

Many people with genital herpes are not aware that they have it as they never develop symptoms. This makes genital herpes easy to spread to others.

It is easy to get infected, but some people are at a higher risk of developing genital herpes. Women are more susceptible to get infected during sex.

Individuals with many sexual partners are also at a higher risk of getting genital herpes. A person with a weakened immune system is also at a higher risk.

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 locations.

 

Genital Herpes and HIV

The immune system may weaken due to diseases such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). In case a person has HIV and contracts genital herpes, they can develop serious issues. HIV-positive people who feel that they may have genital herpes should consult their dermatology care provider.

 

What causes Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes occurs due to the herpes simplex virus.

In general, this virus spreads during sex. A person can contract this condition by engaging in anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an individual who has genital herpes. In one sexual partner has a cold sore and performs oral sex on the other, the other partner could get genital herpes as well.

The virus that causes genital herpes resides in genital fluids and herpes sores. The virus travels to the nerves when the sores clear, and remains dormant. Upon being triggered, it travels back to the genitals or skin. Some common triggers that can wake up the virus are fatigue, stress, and surgery.

The virus may not cause any sores or symptoms when on the surface of the skin (or genitals). Irrespective of the fact that nothing is seen on the surface of the skin (or genitals), a virus on the surface of the skin (or genitals) could be shedding some cells.

For this reason, people with genital herpes should always wear a condom during sex if their partner does not have genital herpes.

 

Risk Factors

A person’s risk of contracting genital herpes may be higher if they:

  • Are a woman. The likelihood of women contracting genital herpes is higher than in men. The virus is sexually transmitted more readily from males to females rather than vice versa.
  • Having multiple sexual partners. Every additional sexual partner increases a person’s risk of being exposed to the virus that causes genital herpes.

 

Prevention

The recommendations for preventing genital herpes are the same as those for preventing other STDs — abstinence from sexual activity or restricting sexual contact to an only one-infection free person. To prevent being, a person can also.

  • Use, or ask the sexual partner to use a latex condom during every sexual encounter.
  • Avoid intercourse if either partner is experiencing a herpes outbreak in the genital area or other areas of the body.

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Genital Herpes: Signs and Symptoms

shutterstock 87614344 300x247 - Genital Herpes: Signs and SymptomsMany people with genital herpes never experience any signs or symptoms. A mild case can lead to a few herpes sores that are commonly mistaken for ingrown hairs or pimples.

As genital herpes usually causes no symptoms or very mild ones, a majority of people with genital herpes do not know that they have the condition.

If a person is concerned that they or their partner could have genital herpes, they should try to notice some key signs as described in this post.

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.

 

The Initial Outbreak

This often occurs within two days to three weeks after having sex with a person with genital herpes. The person does not need to have sores to spread the infection.

Flu-like symptoms are the first thing a newly infected person may notice:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the groin

Some people say that they experience tingling or an itch around their anus or genitals, which can last for up to 24 hours.

They may also notice an area of swollen, red skin on or around their anus or genitals. At times, this patch develops on the buttocks or thigh. In case this appears, a person may see:

  • Small blisters develop on the patch
  • The blisters break open, causing painful sores
  • The sores scab and fully heal, typically within two to six weeks

A majority of people develop only a few sores. However, some individuals have widespread sores and blisters. During the initial outbreak, some individuals may also notice that they have pain or difficulty when urinating.

 

If a Person has HIV

Genital herpes is quite common in individuals who have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). If an HIV-positive person gets genital herpes, the outbreaks can be severe.

They may need medication to eliminate the sores. They are also more susceptible to develop complications, such as an inability to empty their bladder or meningitis.

 

Repeat Outbreaks

The virus that causes genital herpes always remains in the body. After the initial outbreak, the virus moves to the neighboring nerves where it sleeps. There may never be another outbreak. But it is also possible that the virus will become active, leading to outbreaks from time to time.

Repeat outbreaks are usually less severe than the initial outbreak, and the sores clear faster. Any person can have repeat outbreaks, but the following are more likely to have them:

  • Men
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • People who had an initial outbreak that lasted for more than 34 days

If a person gets repeat outbreaks, these are most likely to occur during the initial year. The body builds up immunity to the virus if the patient has a healthy immune system. The outbreaks should become less frequent as the immunity builds. They may even stop altogether eventually.

Repeat outbreaks usually occur due to a trigger such as fatigue, stress, sex, surgery, and illness. Getting their period is a trigger for some women.

During recurring outbreaks, some individuals notice that they develop warning signs, which indicate that the sores will appear. These warning signs include itching, pain, tingling, or a burning sensation. The warning signs can last for 24 hours. Dermatology treatment can shorten the duration of an outbreak and mitigate symptoms.

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Genital Herpes: Overview

Genital Herpes: Overview | Tampa | St. Pete | Brandon | Lutz | LargoGenital herpes refers to a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which is caused by the herpes simplex virus.

A person who is sexually active can catch this virus, and many individuals who catch the virus will never know that they have it as they do not develop symptoms, i.e., they never get painful sores.

In case genital sores develop, the outbreaks tend to be worse during the initial year. Some individuals have four or more outbreaks annually. In time, outbreaks typically become less frequent, and may even stop.

If a person has genital sore and their partner does not, they should not have sex while the sores are present, and for a few days after the sores resolve. When a person has herpes sores, they can easily infect their partner. The virus can be passed through anal, vaginal, and oral sex.

Even when a person does not have sores, they can still infect their partner. Using a condom (when an infected person does not have sores) helps prevent spreading the virus to their partner.

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 locations.

 

Higher Risk of Getting HIV

If a person has genital herpes and has sex while they have sores, they increase their risk of catching HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This virus can easily enter the body via a herpes sore.

 

Myths about Genital Herpes

A common myth is that people with genital herpes also have a higher risk of developing cancer. However, genital herpes does not increase an individual’s risk of getting any type of cancer.

Another myth related to genital herpes is that you can catch it from a toilet seat. In case the virus gets on a toilet seat, it cannot survive long enough to infect anyone. The virus must be inside the human body to survive.

 

Living with Genital Herpes

There is no cure for genital herpes, and it is a lifelong infection. In case a person has outbreaks, drugs can reduce the symptoms. Taking precautions can decrease the risk of spreading the virus to a partner who does not have genital herpes.

 

How Genital Herpes can affect Pregnancy

If a woman has genital herpes, it is possible to spread the virus to her baby. She can spread it to her baby while she is:

  • Pregnant
  • Giving birth
  • Taking care of the infant

In case the baby gets the virus while in the womb, the mother may have a miscarriage or deliver the baby prematurely. If the baby catches the virus during birth, or shortly afterwards, it can be fatal for the newborn.

 

What to tell the OB/GYN

It is important for the OB/GYN to know if the woman:

  • Has genital herpes, even if she has had sores or symptoms for a long time
  • Do not have genital herpes but are having sex with a person who does

Taking precautions under the guidance of a dermatology expert can prevent the infant from catching the virus. At present, there is no cure for genital herpes. Self-care and medicine can reduce the occurrence of outbreaks.

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Types of Contagious Skin Diseases

Types of Contagious Skin Diseases | Tampa | St. Pete | Brandon | LutzIt is never a sagacious idea to ignore any skin condition, and particularly when it is a contagious skin disease. An experienced dermatology treatment provider can diagnose and resolve the condition effectively.

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.

 

Cold Sores

A cold sore refers to a small blister or group of blisters that typically develop on the lip or around the mouth. The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes cold sores. Cold sores are usually not serious, and they tend to resolve within two weeks in healthy people.

However, if a person has a cold sore, they can spread the virus to others who do not have the virus. Even people being treated for cold sores can still spread the virus to others. The patient is contagious until all sores have scabbed over.

 

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Any sexually active person can catch this virus. Many individuals who catch the virus never know as they do not develop symptoms. They do not develop painful sores.

If a person has genital sores and their partner does not, they should not have sex while they have sores. They should also refrain from sexual activity for a few days after the sores clear.

When a person has herpes sores, they can easily infect their partner. The virus can also be passed via anal, oral, or vaginal sex.

 

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) refers to a contagious condition caused by a virus. One of several viruses can cause the disease, but the signs are typically the same:

  • Mouth sores
  • An itchy rash on the feet, hands or both

A person can catch HFMD from close contact with an individual who has the condition. This disease can also be caught by touching something, such as a doorknob or toy, contaminated with a virus that causes this condition.

 

Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a common viral infection. If a person has ever had a fever blister or a cold sore, they are affected by the herpes simplex virus. A majority of cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).

Cold sores caused by HSV-1 are also called:

  • Oral herpes.
  • Herpes simplex labialis.
  • Mouth herpes.

 

Nail Fungus

It is easy to catch a fungal nail infection. In case a person has a fungal infection on their foot, the fungus can spread to one or more of the nails. This occurs quite commonly. They can also catch a fungal nail infection in a warm, moist place such as a locker room or deck.

 

Ringworm

The name “ringworm” likely comes from the rash that many individuals see. The rash often manifests on the skin in a ring-shaped pattern with an elevated, scaly border that snakes it ay around the edge, similar to a worm.

Ringworm is a common condition, and a person has already had it if they have had:

  • Jock itch
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Scalp ringworm

 

Warts

Warts are non-cancerous skin growths that appear when a virus affects the uppermost skin layer. Viruses that cause warts are known as human papillomavirus (HPV). A person is more likely to get one of these viruses if they damage or cut their skin in some manner.  

The viruses responsible for warts are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that has been in contact with the wart.

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Cold Sores: Tips For Managing

Cold Sores: Tips For Managing | Tampa | Brandon | St. Pete | LutzCold sores are commonly known as fever blisters. The most common reason for the development of cold sores is the herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1).

However, at times, the herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) can cause it. In the US, between 50 to 80 percent of individuals have oral herpes, which makes them potentially prone to cold sores.

There is no way to prevent or cure cold sores. However, some steps under the supervision of a dermatology specialist can be undertaken to decrease the frequency and duration of the outbreaks.

Compound medicines that are antimicrobial, antiviral, and immune-boosting are typically suitable for treating cold sores. Certain remedies help restrict the spread of the virus. Others decrease the possibility of future infections and reduce discomfort and pain.

Every treatment is not effective for each individual, but a wide array of natural products may help reduce symptoms and prevent future outbreaks.

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.

 

Natural Remedies

  • Lip balms with at least one percent lemon balm
  • Lemon tea and lemon tea compresses
  • Mint, witch hazel, and peppermint oil
  • Aloe vera gel, which helps soothe inflamed sores while providing vital moisture
  • Licorice root, which contains glycyrrhizic acid, is thought to be an antiviral. Licorice powder, mixed with petroleum jelly or water and directly applied to the sores.
  • Echinacea as an immune booster, best taken in tea or supplement form. This is available for purchase online.
  • Lysine cream or l-lysine supplements, as l-lysine may enhance the immune system and help in cell repair.
  • Milk, which contains l-lysine and antibodies
  • Cornstarch paste, made of equal parts starch and water
  • Sage and rhubarb mixtures

Vitamin E aids the body in repairing compromised skin cells and growing new cells. This vitamin is found in foods such as nuts, whole wheat, and leafy greens. Vitamin E oils are available as well.

Vitamin C can enhance the levels of while cells, which are the body’s primary infection-fighting cells. Vitamin C-rich foods are usually orange, red, or deep green in color, including most berries, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and kiwis.  

Over the counter (OTC) drugs are also available to treat the symptoms of cold sores. Many have child-friendly variants.

  • Abreva and Zilactin, both available for purchase online, may help reduce the recovery time
  • Anbesol and Orajel numb sores, reducing pain
  • Zinc oxide creams applied to scabs may eliminate virus cells released from the sore
  • Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol helps keep cold sores clean
  • Pain and inflammation-reducing drugs such as ibuprofen can also be helpful

 

Medications

Individuals with cold sores should seek medical attention if the sores do not improve within a few weeks, if the sores continue to weep, or if the symptoms are severe.

In rare cases, complications from HSV-1 may occur. People who have weakened immune systems and those with frequent outbreaks should seek medical advice.

Complications may occur when the virus spreads to other body parts. For instance, the virus can spread to the fingertips (in the case of herpes whitlow), or eyes (in the case of herpes keratitis).

Anti-viral tablets and creams are some commonly prescribed treatments for cold sores. The British National Health Service (NHS) reports that creams are typically only effective if applied when the sores first manifest.

Prescribed cold sore medicines include:

  • Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
  • Acyclovir (Xerese, Zovirax)
  • Penciclovir (Denavir)
  • Famciclovir (Famvir)

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Cold Sores: Diagnosis and Treatment

Cold Sores: Diagnosis and Treatment | Tampa | St. Pete | BrandonPeople who have had a previous cold sore outbreak will easily recognize the recurrence. Those who suspect that they or their child may have a primary infection, specifically if the sore has not healed within one week or so should consult their doctor.

The signs and symptoms are typically clear enough for a dermatology expert to make a diagnosis. However, they may also order a blood test. Sometimes the doctor may take a sample of the fluid scraped from the cold sore to detect whether the virus is present.

This is typically done on patients with weakened immune systems, such as those receiving chemotherapy, or people with HIV/AIDS.

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 locations.

 

Treatment

A majority of cold sore outbreaks resolve within one to two weeks without treatment. Some antiviral drugs and ointments may shorten the duration of the outbreak and eliminate pain and discomfort.

 

Antivirals

Over-the-counter (OTC) cold sore antiviral creams can decrease the duration of recurrent infection. Most creams, such as Zovirax and Soothelip, contain either acyclovir or penciclovir.

These creams are effective only if they are applied as soon as the symptoms appear and tingling indicates the development of a cold sore.

The cream will need to be applied up to five times a day for four to five days for best results. This can alleviate the symptoms, but not the virus. Creams cannot help prevent future outbreaks.

If a person wants to purchase antiviral creams, there is a wide selection online with thousands of customer reviews.

 

Oral Antiviral Medications

Oral antiviral meds include valacyclovir, acyclovir, or famciclovir. These can significantly reduce or even stop a cold sore outbreak if taken when the initial signs appear. A patient who has had several recurrent infections in a year may take these daily to prevent outbreaks.

 

Treatments to Relieve Discomfort

Cold Sores Cream

Creams can help treat the dryness and irritation associated with cold sores. Certain OTC creams are available that do not comprise antiviral drugs, such as Blistex, Bonjela, or Cymex. These may help reduce discomfort.

These treatments do not hasten the healing process. However, they may be helpful if the cold sores are itchy, dry, or painful. These creams should be dabbed onto the cold sores without rubbing, then wash their hands thoroughly. Individuals with cold sores should not share creams with others.

 

Painkillers

Tylenol or Ibuprofen, containing paracetamol, may help reduce pain. These are available in the liquid variant for younger patients. Pregnant women with cold sores should discuss their treatment options with their physician.

 

Patients with Weakened Immune Systems

Patients with a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV or AIDS, or those undergoing chemotherapy, may experience complications, as their immune system is weakened.

The infection may spread to other body areas, including the eye, and there is also a risk of inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis.

Antiviral tablets may be prescribed for such patients, and they may need to consult a specialist. The treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms, and the patient’s health condition.

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Cold Sores: Who Gets and Causes

Cold Sores: Who Gets and Causes | Tampa | St. Pete | Brandon | LutzCold sores are tiny sores, or blister-like lesions, that develop on the chin, cheeks, lips, inside the nostrils, and less often on the roof of the mouth or the gums.

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.

 

Causes

Cold sores usually develop due to certain strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV-1 often causes cold sores, while HSV-2 is often the reasons for genital herpes. But either type can lead to sores in the facial or genital areas.

A majority of people who are infected with the virus that leads to cold sores never develop signs or symptoms.

This dermatology condition is most contagious when there are oozing blisters present. However, a person can transmit the virus even if they do not have blisters. HSV-1 may spread by sharing utensils, towels, and razors as well as kissing. Oral sex can cause HSV-1 to spread to the genitals and HSV-2 to the lips.

After a person has an episode of herpes infection, the virus remains dormant in the nerve cells in the skin and may erupt as another cold sore at the same place as earlier.

The recurrence of cold sores may be triggered by the following:

  • Viral infection or fever
  • Hormonal fluctuations, such as those related to menstruation
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Exposure to wind and sunlight
  • Changes in the immune system

 

Complications

Sometimes the virus that causes cold sores can lead to issues in other body areas, such as:

  • Fingertips: It is possible to spread both HSV-1 and HSV-2 to the fingers. This type of infection is usually known as herpes whitlow. Children who such their thumbs may transmit the infection from their mouths to their thumbs.
  • Eyes: At times, the virus can cause an eye infection. Repeated infections may lead to injury and scarring, which may cause blindness or vision problems.  
  • Widespread skin areas: Individuals who have a skin condition known as eczema are at a higher risk of cold sores spreading across their bodies, and this can become a medical emergency.
  • Other organs: In individuals with weakened immune systems, the virus can also impact organs such as the brain and spinal cord.

 

Prevention

In case a person develops cold sores often or are at a higher risk of developing serious complications, the doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to be taken regularly. In case sunlight seems to trigger the outbreaks, the patient should apply sunblock to the area where the cold sore tends to emerge.

The patient may try the following to help avoid spreading cold sores to other individuals or to other areas of the body:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others while the blisters exist. The virus is most contagious when there are moist secretions from the blisters.
  • Avoid sharing items such as utensils, lip balm, and towels when the blisters are present.
  • Ensure that the hands are clean. When a person has a cold sore, they should wash their hands thoroughly before touching themselves and other people, especially infants.

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

Cold Sores: Signs and Symptoms

Cold Sores: Signs and Symptoms | Tampa | St. Pete | Brandon | LutzCold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a commonly occurring viral infection. They are small, fluid-filled blisters on and around the lips.

These blisters typically develop together in patches. Once the blisters break, a crust develops over it causing a sore. Cold sores typically heal in two to four weeks without causing any scarring.

Cold sores spread between people due to close contact, such as kissing. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), which is closely related to the virus that causes genital herpes (HSV-2).

Both these viruses can impact a person’s genitals or mouth and can spread by oral sex. Even if the sores are not visible, cold sores are contagious.

HSV infection does not have a cure in medical dermatology, and the blisters may recur. Antiviral drugs can help cold sores heal faster and may reduce the frequency of their recurrence.

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 locations.

 

Symptoms

A cold sore typically goes through the following stages:

  • Tingling and itching: Many individuals feel a burning, itching, or tingling sensation around their lips for one or two days before a tiny, hard, painful spot appears and blisters develop.
  • Blisters: Tiny fluid-filled blisters usually erupt along the border where the outside edge of the lips connects to the skin on the face. Cold sores may also develop on the cheeks or around the nose.
  • Oozing and crusting: The tiny blisters may merge and then burst, resulting in shallow open sores that will ooze fluid and subsequently crust over.

The signs and symptoms differ, depending on whether this is the first outbreak or a recurrence. They can remain for several days, and the blisters can take two to four weeks to heal fully. Recurrences usually occur at the same spot every time and tend to be less severe than the initial outbreak.

Some people also experience the following during their first-time outbreak:

  • Painful eroded gums
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches

Children below the age of five years may have cold sores inside their mouths, and the lesions are often confused with canker sores. Canker sores involve only the mucous membrane and are not caused by the herpes simplex virus.

 

When to see a Doctor

Cold sores usually resolve without treatment. People with the following should see their doctor:

  • They have a weakened immune system
  • The cold sores that do not heal within two weeks
  • Symptoms are severe
  • The patient has frequent recurrences of cold sores
  • They experience irritation in the eyes

 

Risk Factors

Around 90 percent of adults globally, even those who have never had symptoms of an infection, test positive for evidence of the virus that causes cold sores.

Individuals who have weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of complications from the virus.

  • Severe burns
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer chemotherapy
  • Eczema
  • Anti-rejection medications for organ transplants

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. Pete/ Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.

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