Cold sores are small fluid filled blisters, also known as fever blisters, that are develop on or near the mouth and the lips. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). Cold sores are highly contagious and are spread by coming in close contact with secretions from the blisters or sharing utensils or other personal hygiene items with an infected person. It is important to keep in mind that the virus can spread even when an infected person does not have a cold sore.
A cold sore usually develops in several stages during an outbreak. The stages of a cold sore are:
1 Tingling and itching
near the mouth
2 Formation of a fluid filled blister
3 The blister breaks
4 Scab forms
5 Scab falls off and sore heals
Additional symptoms a person may experience during an outbreak include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
There are several factors that can cause a cold sore to develop or reoccur if a person has already had an outbreak in the past: These include:
- Eating certain foods
- Having a cold
- Allergic reaction
The diagnosis of a cold sore can usually be made by visual inspection. It is also possible to do a blood test to see if the virus is present.
There are no cures for a cold sore but there are ways to treat the symptoms. Antiviral medications are often prescribed and there re over the counter medications treatment available to purchase.
Speak to your physician if you think you have a cold sore and it doesn’t start to heal in two weeks. You can also schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.