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Common sense about cold sores

You have been looking forward to your nursing class reunion for months. The day finally arrives; but to your horror, a large cold sore has appeared! It’s ugly and painful. Is there anything you can do?

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is one or a series of fluid-filled blisters on or around the lips, nose, cheeks, or hard palette of the mouth. Often referred to as a fever blister, cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and are contagious. Spreading lesions are a characteristic of herpes, which is an ancient Greek word meaning “to creep or crawl.” The two types that cause infections are HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the most frequent cause of blisters in the facial area; HSV-2 more commonly produces genital sores. However, both may cause lesions in either area.

Canker sores (minor aphthous ulcers) are often confused with cold sores. Cankers are found inside the mouth and are not infectious. Xu, Sternberg, Kottiri, et al (2006), estimated 57% of U.S. adults are infected with HSV-1. In a 2008 study, Hobbs, Jones, Otterud, Leppert, & Kriesel found the majority of Americans are infected with HSV-1, HSV-2, or both; however, HSV-1 is the most common recurring viral infection in humans.

While the exact trigger of an outbreak is not always known, the initial infection results from contact with another person who is actively shedding the herpes virus. You may only experience a fever with the primary infection; however, once acquired, the HSV-1 virus lies dormant in the sensory nerve ganglia until it is reactivated.

Cold sore stages

Cold sores progress through five stages and generally last 7-12 days before the scab falls off and healing is complete:

  • Stage 1 is referred to as the prodrome, or tingling, stage and usually lasts several hours to 2 days. In most cases, the area of tingling will swell and redden, and it may be sensitive to touch and palpable near the previous cold sore. Interestingly, a third of the infected population will experience cold sores in the same area with each recurrence.
  • Stage 2 occurs when the area becomes a fluid-filled blister or a cluster of smaller blisters. This usually happens within 48 hours.
  • During stage 3, blisters break open, leaving a noticeably moist area. Weeping occurs, and the area is generally painful for approximately 3 days. Cold sores are contagious at all stages; however, stage 3 is considered the most infectious due to serous fluid draining from lesions filled with the HSV virus.
  • Scabbing, or stage 4, lasts 2 or 3 days and is associated with cracking, bleeding, and occasional itching and burning at the site.
  • This scabbing process takes place until the sore finally disappears at stage 5.

Diagnosing a cold sore

Many events can cause activation of the virus, such as tissue damage, physical or emotional stress, ultraviolet light, and fever. Reactivation increases with aging and immune suppression, and it may be triggered by fever, systemic infection, cold symptoms, menstruation, increased physical and emotional stress, increased sun exposure, and tooth extraction.

To diagnosis a HSV-1 cold sore, it is important to know when the initial symptoms appeared, if there was pain at the site, and when blistering developed. Additionally, details about predisposing factors are helpful with diagnosis. Healthcare providers should be aware if a patient has a suppressed immune system, lesions that fail to heal within the accepted time frame, developed severe symptoms, or frequent colds.

Treating a cold sore

While there is no cure for cold sores, the clinical symptoms may be treated with over the counter agents, antiviral suppressive therapies, and homeopathic remedies. Some of the more common OTC treatments are topical anesthetics containing benzocaine, lidocaine, tetracaine, and dibucaine. Docosanol (Abreva) is an OTC antiviral drug that has been available since 2000. According to Woo and Challacombe, docosanol has been shown to be an effective treatment for decreasing the healing time of cold sore lesions.

Prescription antiviral medications limit the virus’s ability to multiply. Penciclovir (Denavir) is a topical cream that is used to treat mild, recurrent HSV-1 outbreaks, reducing pain and healing time. Other medications include acyclovir (Zovirax) ointment and two oral agents: famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). Women should avoid acyclovir without physician approval if they are breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant.

Natural remedies are available, including Enzymatic Therapy Cold Sore Relief with allantoin, Montana Big Sky Extra Thick Propolis Tincture, and Quantum Health Super Lysine+ Cream. Reduction of swelling and pain can most often be accomplished by using anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Avoid squeezing or picking the blisters, and keep the area moist to reduce painful cracking and bleeding.

Prevention is key

Maintaining your health is important in reducing the number of cold sore outbreaks. If you believe you are developing a cold sore or already have one, avoid kissing and oral sexual contact. Do not share food, drinks, cups, or eating utensils. Avoid sharing razors, towels, lip-gloss, or lipstick. Keep your hands away from the affected area, and do not touch your eyes. If you do touch the blistered or weeping site, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. Identify high stressors, and use strategies to avoid or reduce stressful situations. Keep your lips moist with lip balm or petroleum-based products. Reduce exposure to hot sun or extreme cold, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, and obtain sufficient rest.

Juanita Ebert Brand is an assistant professor in the school of nursing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and nurse researcher at the Marion County Health Department in Indianapolis. Cynthia Thomas is an assistant professor in the school of nursing at Ball State University.

References

Acyclovir, topical. Clinical Reference Systems Advisor Series Web site. http://capbluecross.careenhance.com/portal/site/capbluecross/index.jsp?epi-content=CRS_VIEW_TOPIC&article_id=crs-ma-pma_acyclovir.topical. Accessed January 27, 2011.

Cold sore. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-sore/DS00358. Accessed January 27, 2011.

Emmert DH. Treatment of common cutaneous herpes simplex virus infections. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(6):1697-1706, 1708.

Fatahzadeh M, Schwartz RA. Human herpes simplex labialis. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2007;32(6):625-630.

Hobbs MR, Jones BB, Otterud BE, Leppert M, Kriesel JD. Identification of a herpes simplex labialis susceptibility region on human chromosome 21. J Infect Dis. 2008;197(3):340-346.

Mouth ulcers and cold sores. Pract Nurs. 2008;36(3):34-37.

Pertel PE, Spear PG. Biology of Herpesviruses. In: Holmes KK, Sparling PF, Stamm WE, et al, eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2008:381-397.

Raborn GW, Grace MG. Recurrent herpes simplex labialis: selected therapeutic options. J Can Dent Assoc. 2003;69(8):498-503.

Raborn GW, Grace MG. Treatment modalities and medication recommended by health care professionals for treating recurrent herpes labialis. J Am Dent Assoc. 2004;135(1):48-54.

Raborn GW, Martel AY, Lassonde M, Lewis MA, Boon R, Spruance SL. Effective treatment of herpes simplex labialis with penciclovir cream: combined results of two trials. J Am Dent Assoc. 2002;133(3):303-309.

Rajapaksa R. Straight talk about cold sores, sinus smells, weak arms, and more. Health. 2009;23(1):94.

Siu T. Cold sores: the truth. Curr Health. 2009;32(5):16-18.

Stengler M. Natural help for herpes. Better Nutr. 2009;71(4):18.

The Patient Education Institute, Inc. X-plain cold sores: reference summary. Medline Plus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/coldsores/id449102.pdf. Accessed January 27, 2011.

Whitley RJ, Roizman B. Herpes Simplex virus infections. Lancet. 2001;357(9267):1513-1518.

Woo SB, Challacombe SJ. Management of recurrent oral herpes simplex infections. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2007;103(S12):e1-e18.

Xu F, Sternberg MR, Kottiri BJ, et al. Trends in herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 seroprevalence in the United States. JAMA. 2006;296(8):964-973.

19 thoughts on “Common sense about cold sores”

  1. What else can I say about him, today am very grateful to him as I am finally cured of herpes disease that I have been eating me up for over a year and 6 months.After searching for different means to get my self cure but nothing seems to work out,Behold today i can boldly stand and testify to the world at large that with the help of an herbal medicine,I have found myself back to my feet and healthy again in just after few days that i got in contact with a GOD sent man,through help on a blog which talk about herpes cure,how she was cured through the herbal medicine too which was sent to her from doctor Dr Ebude.So i decided to give this great man a try by contacting him via his email and mobile no,explained to him what my problems his and he told me all would be fine and well by the time he his done with is own work that i just have to believe in him which i did ,low and behold,today i am very happy as it was just all like a magic that is why i have come here to testify to the world at large and also to share my experience because I know there are many people out there who are also in searching for cure to one disease or the other,you can as well get Dr Ebude the great now for herbal medicine help through his contact address on hpvnaturalremedyclinic@gmail.com also on mobile wha’sapp no +2349027752454 as i fully believe he is able and capable also getting rid of disease like
    HIV/AIDS
    HPV
    CANCER
    ALS.,.

  2. Gwyneth says:

    I was diagnosed with herpes virus and ever since then i have been very unhappy, i was so down broken everyday, until one day when i came across a shocking testimony about how Dr Mack cured someone of his herpes virus, without wasting much time i contacted him immediately on his email address: herpestreatmentdoctor@ gmail. com and after i explain myself to him about how terrible i have been, and he assure me that he will help me to cure my herpes virus,after he has prepared the herbal medicine he sent it to me and when i have received it and started using it i was totally cure within 2weeks, i am forever grateful to Dr Mack for helping me out with his herpes prescription that cured my virus.

  3. Natondra says:

    It’s hell to live with the HERPES virus, I lost almost almost everything that made me a complete human and also suffer rejection and pains, My life was drastically going down the drain till I found useful information online that directed me to this website ‘herpesredemption.com’ where I read useful information about the virus and also contacted the email provided and to cut the story short, I was given instructions which I followed and the remedy was given to me, I used it and got healed.

  4. Institutions says:

    I was diagnosed with herpes since I was a child. My mother has them too, and does nothing to stop the spread. it was hard to not kiss my children all the time, but they grow up knowing that “when mommy has a lip owie, she can’t kiss.” They give me kisses on my forehead instead and we have extra hugs. It was also very painful to not kiss my partner. However, I was 100% determined to not pass this on to anyone, especially those I love.I mostly want to thank those who feel the way I do.
    dr henry health herbs home helped me and my family to find happiness and peace ,their herbal remedies for herpes works like miracle,i was totally cured of herpes virus within 5 weeks of usage . for your herpes cure contact them today
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    DIABETES
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    lupus
    god bless us all !!

  5. Janie D says:

    Gabe Frank , menopause is not a disease! lol. “be wise and beware of fake spell casters and fake herbal doctors,”… That’s the only good advice you gave. I hope people will apply it to your herbal doctor as well as the others.

  6. joyshamar says:

    I am really happy that i have been cured from HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS with the herbal medicine of Dr Frank, I have been suffering from this disease for the past 2 years and 7 mouth without solution until i came across the email of this doctor who have cure so many people with his herbal medicine, i also choose to give him a chance to help me and my husband, he told me what to do and i kindly did it, and he gave us his herbal medicine and direct me on how to use it, i also follow his instructions for use and he ask us to go for a check up after 1 week and 4 days which i did, to my greatest surprise our result came out as negative, we are really happy that there is someone like this doctor who is ready to help anytime any day. To all the readers and viewers that is doubting this testimony stop doubting it and contact this doctor if you really have one and see if he will not actually help you. i am not a stupid woman that i will come out to the public and start saying what someone have not done for me and i know that there are some people out there who are really suffering and hurting their family just because of these diseases so you can to mail him on drosemusolutionhome
    Whatsapp him +2348108356068

    He also told me that he has cure for these diseases listed below:
    DIABETES,
    CANCER,
    HEPATITIS,
    HIV/AIDS.

  7. Panshak Zamani says:

    I was diagnosed of herpes 3 years ago, the doctor said there are no possible cure for the virus. But i never gave up hope of getting cured. i have been living with it taking acyclovir to prevent outbreaks. I have been doing everything possible to get cured, so i never stopped doing research about finding a cure, i came across testimonies of people getting cured by Dr. Okasi herbal medicine. I contacted him through his website: okasiherbalsolution. webs. com, we talked on phone and i discovered he was genuine. I gave it a try and got the medicine from him, took it has he has prescribed and i’m so happy to say i’m completely cured, i went back to my doctor to confirm it. It’s so amazing, a thing of joy. Dr Okasi herbs medicine is capable of curing HSV 1&2 completely. contact him today Email: okasiherbalsolution @ outlook. com…..

  8. gabe frank says:

    All these post about HERBAL MEDICINE and spell caster are scammer and fake trying to collect money all in the name of HERPES cure and when you contact them, they will be asking for your name, pictures, country, phone number, occupation and when you have given them all the information, they will be asking for money. I was once suffering from GENETIC HERPES and i spent a lot of money going from one herbal doctor to another but they all scam and take my money away until i came in contact with this powerful one called Dr Iyoha who cured me from Herpes with his herbal medication ,after Dr Iyoha has finished preparing the herbal medicine, he asked me to send him my residential address, so that he will send the herbal medicine to me via D.H.L so i did. 2 days later, i received the herbal medicine and i had to follow the instructions he gave to me on how i will apply it. 2 weeks later i went to hospital for test and according to the test done by the Medical doctor Matthew it stated that i was cured. So viewers be wise and beware of fake spell casters and fake herbal doctors, they are all over the internet trying to steal from poor people. I will drop you the phone number of this powerful herbal doctor just in case you wish to contact him for help call his number +(407) 337-9869
    Dr Iyoha

    CAN AS WELL CURE THE FOLLOWING DISEASE:-

    1. HERPES
    2. LASSA FEVER
    3. GONORRHEA
    4. HIV/AIDS
    5. LOW SPERM COUNT
    6. MENOPAUSE DISEASE
    7. EPILEPSY
    8. ASEPSIS
    9. CANCER
    10.ANXIETY DEPRESSION
    11.PREGNANCY PROBLEM
    12.SHORT SIGHTEDNESS PROBLEM
    13.ALS
    14.PTSD
    15.ADHD

  9. morry morgan says:

    Must read! My names are Ben Ken from US taxes, for a year now i have been living with this virus called COLD SORE VIRUS and i have been taking some medications from my Doctor and there was no improvement, All thanks to God almighty for using Dr ABILI for curing my Cold Sore Virus with the help of his powerful root and herbs…Well i do not have much to say, with all my life i will for ever be grateful to him and God Almighty for using Dr, ABILI to reach me when i thought it is all over, today i am now happy after the medical doctor have confirmed my status Cured, i have never in my life believed that Cold Sore could be cure by any herbal medicine. so i want to use this medium to reach other persons who is suffering from any deadly disease or Cold Sore you can contact Dr, ABILI on his email, drabiliherbalhome@gmailcom or call/whatsapp +2347036484707

    Thanks.

  10. Joylisa says:

    OMG i am here to tell you all how i was cured from
    Hepatitis B by
    Dr Adigba with his herbal medicine, i once had the problem
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    Hepatitis B which affected my work for years i have been
    using
    different medication but there was no solution,i search
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    i found the contact of Dr Adigba who help me with his
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    curing Hepatitis B problem and other deadly diseases, he
    also
    assured me that it is a permanent cure,so i work with him
    as he ask
    and i took the medication for just 1 weeks and i was back
    to normal.
    for two weeks now i have been doing fine.I give all thanks
    to Dr
    Adigba for helping me out of such problem now am the
    happiest
    person on earth for seeing myself doing better again.you
    can also
    contact him on email drAdigba@gmail. com whatsapp him
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    dr adigba cure the flowing virus
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    4 herpes cure
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    7 Jaundice
    8 pregnancy herbal medicine
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    10 Hepatitis B and many more

  11. celina amber says:

    I am really happy that i and my husband are cured of (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) with the herbal medicine , i have been suffering from this disease for the past 3 years without solution until i came across the email of this doctors who have cure so many people with his herbal medicine, i also choose to give him a chance to help me and my husband, he told me what to do and i kindly did it, and he gave us his herbal medicine and direct me on how to use it, i also follows his instruction for use and he ask us to go for a check up after 3 weeks and which i did, to my greatest surprise our result came out as negative, we are really happy that there is someone like this Dr Agbebo who is ready to help anytime any day. to all the readers and viewers that is doubting this testimony stop doubting it and contact this Dr Agbebo and see if he will not actually help you. i am not a stupid woman that i will come out to the public and start saying what someone have not done for me. dr.agbeboherbalisthome@gmail.or call him and also whatsapp him on +2348156768667,thank you

  12. Catherine Minor says:

    I was diagnosed of herpes 6 years ago, the doctor said there are no possible cure for the virus. But i never gave up hope of getting cured. i have been living with it taking acyclovir to prevent outbreaks. I have been doing everything possible to get cured, so i never stopped doing research about finding a cure, i came across testimonies of people getting cured by Dr. Okasi herbal medicine. I contacted him through his website: okasiherbalsolution. webs. com, we talked on phone and i discovered he was genuine. I gave it a try and got the medicine from him, took it has he has prescribed and i’m so happy to say i’m completely cured, i went back to my doctor to confirm it. It’s so amazing, a thing of joy. Dr Okasi herbs medicine is capable of curing HSV 1&2 completely. contact him today Email: okasiherbalsolution @ outlook. com..

  13. John rocky says:

    Good Day, I am here to express my profound warm gratitude to the Doctor medicine, which I got from the Doctor, I am now leaving a healthy life since the past 4 month I am now herpes disease free after the application and usage. You can contact for your medication. Via WhatsApp +14702851757 or arthurmoon01@gmail.com

  14. You are right, there is no cure for cold sores because it is a viral disease. However, having a strong immune system will help protect you from the infection.

    Eat more of immune boosting foods/fruits like garlic, ginger, turmeric paw-paw and others to remain fit. for more information on how to get rid of a cold sore, visit https://www.healthbid.net/how-to-get-rid-of-a-cold-sore-overnight/

  15. Dr Oduduwa says:

    AM HERBALIST DR ODUDUWA, I Cure Different Types Of Human Infections And Diseases Using Natural Roots And Herbs. I’m also a professional spell caster and my major areas of concentration are Sexually transmitted infections (STI), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STD) e.g; herpes 1&2, HPV, diabetes 1&2, Hepatitis B, HIV and venereal diseases (VD)” contact me on whatsapp +12028166211 and here is my website oduduwatraditionalherbalremedies.wordpress.com

  16. Sophia says:

    Thanx for sharing this useful information with us. One of my friend suffering from this disease. I want to help her. So, I will start the research on how to get rid of cold sore. I came across one website. Their products are very helpful. She is absolutely fine now after using their products. I also want to help others, because it is really painful.

  17. sarah says:

    I am really happy that i have been cured from HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS with the herbal medicine of Dr Frank, I have been suffering from this disease for the past 2 years and 7 mouth without solution until i came across the email of this doctor who have cure so many people with his herbal medicine, i also choose to give him a chance to help me and my husband, he told me what to do and i kindly did it, and he gave us his herbal medicine and direct me on how to use it, i also follow his instructions for use and he ask us to go for a check up after 1 week and 4 days which i did, to my greatest surprise our result came out as negative, we are really happy that there is someone like this doctor who is ready to help anytime any day. To all the readers and viewers that is doubting this testimony stop doubting it and contact this doctor if you really have one and see if he will not actually help you. i am not a stupid woman that i will come out to the public and start saying what someone have not done for me and i know that there are some people out there who are really suffering and hurting their family just because of these diseases so you can to mail him on Drfrank1238@GMAIL.COM
    Whatsapp him +2348100367800.

    He also told me that he has cure for these diseases listed below:
    DIABETES,
    CANCER,
    HEPATITIS,
    HIV/AIDS SIPHILIS,
    Human papillomavirus(HPV),
    cerebrospinal meningitis,
    Chagas Disease,Alzheimer’s disease,
    Schizophrenia,or any kind of Disease…

  18. Paige Newton says:

    I want to give all the glory to God of Doctor Zakuza for changing my life by destroying the yoke of Herpes Simplex Virus from my blood. I have lived with Herpes Simplex Virus for two (2) years now, myself and my husband continued to pray to God for divine intervention for my healing, but each time i go for test the result remains positive. I then stopped going for further tests and i was directed to Doctor Zakuza by my friend in Africa and i got connected to the Doctor and i dived at the instructions that was given to me by Doctor Zakuza and he assured me that the virus is going to leave me within 7 days. I believed and had faith in him for i really needed his help. Lo and behold i went for test after 7 days and for the first time, the result was NEGATIVE and all the symptoms had disappeared. I’m so thankful to God for using Doctor Zakuza to heal me. You can also get cured from any type of diseases to such as HIV & AIDS, CANCER, HEPATITIS, E.T.C. For urgent help of any type, contact Doctor Zakuza now via Email: Doctorzakuzaspelltemple @hotmail. com or WhatsApp him on + 1 (740) 573-9483.

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