What You Should Know About Cold Sores
Cold sores are uncomfortable, unattractive, and sometimes they’re downright painful! Below is some information you can use to prevent and treat cold sores this summer.
What Are Cold Sores?
Cold sores, sometimes also known as fever blisters, are small clusters of fluid-filled blisters. They most often appear around the mouth and lips, although they sometimes also appear on or in the nose or eyes. Cold sores will usually clear up on their own after a few days, but some can stick around for as long as 2 weeks.
Cold sores aren’t rare. In fact, around 60-65% of Americans have experienced a cold sore at one time or another and of these, around 25% will continue to experience outbreaks. Absolutely anyone can become infected with the virus that causes cold sores and once you’ve become infected, the virus will remain in your system forever.
Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Cold sores are incredibly contagious, especially when the blisters are still in the active stage. Mostly spread by skin-to-skin contact, cold sores are also spread through the fluid inside the blisters. This is why it’s so important to avoid sharing items like chapstick, razors, straws, or utensils.
Symptoms of Cold Sores
Symptoms of a cold sore include fever, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Before the blisters appear, you may feel an itching, tingling or burning sensation on the area of infection. Generally a few hours to a day after the symptoms begin, the red bumps will appear. These will then become the blisters.
You shouldn’t usually need to see a doctor about your cold sores, as they’ll begin to heal on their own after a few days. However, if they’re becoming too painful or are causing embarrassment, there are a few prescription treatments you can take advantage of. They won’t get rid of the cold sore, but they’ll decrease the size and duration of your cold sore.