Cold sores

Cold sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are characterized by small fluid-filled blisters around the mouth which may feel itchy or tingly.

The virus that causes them is highly contagious and many people contract the virus when they are young after coming into close contact with someone who has the virus. Unfortunately there is no cure – the herpes simplex virus remains in the body for life, occasionally making itself known via a cold sore although some people never experience symptoms. An outbreak usually coincides with a trigger. Fatigue, illness or even sunlight can all trigger a cold sore, depending on the individual.

Although annoying, cold sores typically are not dangerous, although caution should be taken around newborn babies, pregnant women or those with a low immune system such as people undergoing chemotherapy.

A cold sore usually clears up by itself after about a week but antiviral creams, available from a pharmacy, can speed the process up. These creams are best applied as soon as you feel the characteristic tingle on your lip that means a cold sore is coming.

Remember, it’s your life, your future, Your Health First.