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Cold Sores

How to get rid of cold sores

Cold sores are embarrassing, painful and difficult to manage, but more common than you think. Many people have gotten cold sores. They are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), one of two viruses that also cause genital herpes. The sores usually heal by themselves in the course of a week or two, but HSV1 is preventable. The resulting mouth sores are also easily treated with non-prescription and prescription medications.


Symptoms of cold sores are blisters on, around and sometimes in the mouth. The other symptoms for cold sores are a sore mouth and sore throat which makes eating and drinking difficult, fever and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Around two days before the cold sores develop, there may be itching, tingling, burning or other pain near the lip line.


Many non-prescription cold sore medications are available on the market to eliminate the pain and swelling of outbreaks. A prescription can also be written by a doctor for the treatment of cold sores. Treating cold sores at home is possible at home with the use of cold compresses on the affected area three times daily for a half hour at a time, as well taking over-the-counter pain relievers and avoiding highly acidic or spicy foods.


Preventing cold sore outbreaks can also be relatively simple. Apply sunblock to the face regularly, especially to areas where outbreaks occur. Use lip balms containing sunblock to specifically protect the lips. Avoid close contact with people who have cold sores or genital herpes. Do not share personal items such as towels, forks, lipstick or lip balm.

HSV1 never leaves the body once contracted, but lies dormant until breakouts occur. Although it's a minor health issue for most people, it can be more common in those with immune deficiencies.

There are multiple sources of information on cold sore diagnosis, treatment, or prevention. Of course, the best thing to do for any treatment of a cold sore is to see a medical professional.

By Jennifer Burss

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