Cold sores are caused by a virus known as Herpes Simplex (HSV1). This Simplex affects the oral region: around and in the mouth, the tongue and nose. Outbreaks of this virus occur periodically and are usually brought on by stress, excessive exposure to the sun, colds and fever.
Commonly, the first sign of an outbreak is a skin irritation or rash. The area then blisters, often oozing a transparent liquid, then becomes crusty. Cold sores are easily transmitted. Here are some simple ways to avoid contagion:
- Do not kiss someone with an active lesion
- Do not share razors
- Do not share towels
- Do not share cups or glasses
It is important to treat this condition with caution, as it can be transmitted to the eyes and the genitalia. When this occurs these conditions are much more difficult to treat and can have long term effects.
There are many ways to treat these lesions. Ointments can be applied directly to the affected area. There are also anti-viral medications that be taken internally, such as Zovirax or Valt
One of the most popular over-the-counter treatments for cold sores is Abreva (10% Ducosanol). Zovirax is a prescription ointment that helps prevent outbreaks. Both these creams should be applied at the first sign of an outbreak.
There exist a variety of home remedies to reduce the length of a cold sore outbreak. Here are a few:
- baking soda paste
- green tea seeped with ground ginger
- zinc paste
There are also natural remedies such as:
The most effective way to treat the Herpes virus is with the use of a diode laser. Laser light kills the virus and the lesion disappears within a day or two. Since the laser eradicates the cause there will never be another outbreak in that specific area. The diode laser promotes healing and lessens the chance of scarring.
Herpes Simplex should not be confused with Herpes Zoster, commonly known as Shingles or Zona. Although they are from the same subviral family, the initial infection is from the Varicella Zoster virus (chickenpox). The varicella becomes latent in the nerve cell bodies and often recur many decades later as a painful and debilitating condition.
If you suffer from the discomforts of this ailment, a consultation with your dental professional will allow you to discover the options that are available and help you diminish the frequency and length of these outbreaks.
For more information regarding Cold Sore Remedies please contact Dr Vivian Rahausen