All you need to know about Cold Sores

What are cold sores?

A cold sore is a small painful blister which usually appears on or around lips area but can also get them around the nose area. Cold sores they last from 5 to 7 days and they can come back.

How do I get cold sores?

Cold sores are caused by Herpes Simplex virus and they are highly infectious and can spread by sharing items that come into contact with the mouth though kissing, oral sex or contact sport. You can avoid outbreak by avoiding touching the site, washing hands frequently.

What causes the cold sore?

  • Cold or flu or low immune system
  • Stress
  • Menstruation
  • Bad diet
  • Excessive smoking or drinking
  • Dehydration
  • Sunlight exposure

Are they infectious?

Yes, cold sores are contagious and can be passed on to another person through contact

How can I treat it?

You can treat them with antiviral creams such as Zovirax or Blisterx or with cold sore patches such as compeed. It will ease the pain and blistering and can help the sores heal quicker.

How can I avoid getting cold sores?

Once you have the virus it stays in your skin for the rest of your life. Sometimes it can cause sores. You can avoid getting them by taking care of your immune system (good diet and vitamins) and by using high UV filter lip balm when you are exposed to the sun.

What can I do for myself?

  • Eat cool, soft food
  • Use mouthwash if it’s too painful to brush your teeth
  • Wash your hands before and after using the cream
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease pain and swelling
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration

Should I see my GP?

Cold sores will go away without treatment within 5-10 days. However if the cold sores don’t heal within two weeks on their own its better to go and see a doctor.

I have a cold and a dentist appointment. Will they be able to  treat me?

Its best to give the practice a call and let them know. It is usually recommended not to treat patients with cold sores as the infection can spread, be painful and blisters may crack or bleed during the treatment.