Cold Sores: What You Should Know
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What are cold sores?
The first symptoms of cold sores often include: tingling, burning, and itching around your mouth and lips a few hours to a day or two before the blisters appear. The first time you get a cold sore, you may also have a fever, a sore throat, or swollen glands, but these are rare when cold sores recur.
In children, cold sore symptoms can range from nothing at all to severe pain and discomfort. For some adults, cold sores can be very painful while others have the virus but never have any symptoms.
HSV usually enters the body through a break in the skin around or inside the mouth, so if you have a cold sore it is important to avoid:
It’s a good idea to wash your hands frequently if you have a cold sore, to avoid spreading it to others. You can also gently wash the cold sore itself with mild soap and water. You should avoid washing it in alcohol, as this can dry out the cold sore, and may worsen redness.
Stages & triggers
The stages of a cold sore are based on the order that symptoms appear. There are five stages:
HSV will typically wait until your immune system is under stress and it takes advantage of the situation. Common things that can trigger the virus are:
If you get cold sores a lot, try to be aware of what triggers them so that you can treat the cold sore as soon as you feel that tingling stage.
Cold sores usually start to heal on their own in a few days. And the good news is outbreaks don’t last that long and usually heal in several days to 2 weeks.
Even so, they can be painful, ugly, and embarrassing. While there is no cure for HSV the symptoms can be treated with skin creams, ointments, medicated patches or sometimes pills.
Treatment can help heal the cold sores faster, ease the pain from the blisters and reduce other uncomfortable symptoms.
The best time to begin treatment is in the tingling, or "prodrome" stage.
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
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