What Are Cold Sores?

Cold sores can be very painful and discomforting. They are usually caused by an outbreak of the herpes simplex 1 virus in your skin. Once this virus gets into you, it is able to produce outbreaks of painful cold sores known as cold sore outbreaks.

Cold sores - Stock Image - M260/0217 - Science Photo Library

Cold sores can be very contagious, so you should avoid touching them if possible. They are also highly contagious when there are open sores as the virus spreads through your skin. Cold sores can often be healed easily if they are treated early on, as the blisters often heal quickly. Cold sore outbreaks are commonly triggered by being exposed to hot, cold, windy, or other temperature-triggered conditions, a low immune system, changes in hormone levels, and stress. Some people also get these outbreaks after being in contact with the semen of an infected person.

To understand what causes cold sores, you should know what they look like. The first thing that you will notice are small red blisters that will eventually turn into fluid-filled blisters. If the blisters do not heal in three days or so, you should see a doctor to make sure that there is no deeper infection. If you are having regular outbreaks and they seem to occur more often than once a month, you should see your doctor. The virus causes the blisters, not the symptoms that accompany it.

what are cold sores in the first sign of a cold sore? When you have your first outbreak, you will experience a tingling sensation on the lips and around the outside of the mouth. This sensation will usually go away after a few hours or so. Sometimes, if you do not treat the blisters effectively, you might find yourself with open broken blood vessels. This can be very painful, and can sometimes cause swelling.

If the blisters do not heal quickly or well, you may be given some kind of medication that will help you heal. In more advanced stages of cold sores, antiviral drugs are usually given as a treatment. Vitamin C is also sometimes given. The doctor will decide whether to treat you with prescription medication, or with antiviral drugs. Usually, prescription medications are only used when the blisters do not heal within a week or so, while antiviral drugs are usually used if you have frequent cold sores that do not heal over the course of a few weeks.

How are cold sores treated? Many people choose to use home remedies to try to prevent future outbreaks. One way that you may prevent future outbreaks is to keep your hands and fingernails away from your mouth when you are allergic to the substance causing the outbreak. If you find that you always have cold sores that do not heal quickly, or if you find that you have several different types in a short period of time, you may want to talk to your doctor about prescription medications.

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