Dr Sam answers how to get rid of cold sores fast. She explains what are the best cold sore treatments, how to use cold sore treatment?
What are Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)?
Cold sores are small blisters on your lips or around your mouth, they're are also known as facial herpes and fever blisters.
Who gets Cold Sores?
About 1 in 5 people have recurring cold sores.
What causes Cold Sores?
They're caused by the herpes simplex virus. Usually, people catch their first cold sore in childhood and often have no symptoms. When someone contracts the virus, they will have it for life and cold sores may come back. Generally, this is more likely to happen when a person is run down, stressed, or when their immune system is weakened due to having another infection such as the flu. Other factors, such as alcohol consumption, smoking and the menstrual cycle can also contribute to reactivations of the virus. However, recurrences will tend to become less frequent and severe over time.
What are the symptoms?
Often they start with a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth. Small fluid-filled sores then appear, usually on the edges of your lip.
There are treatments available. Aciclovir and Valaciclovir tablets are used to stop the virus from multiplying. They have little effect on existing blisters but may prevent them from becoming worse. If you get lots of colds sores, you could talk to SwiftMed about taking antiviral tablets daily. This can help prevent future cold sores.
Any other tips for cold sore self-care?
Avoid picking or touching the cold sores
Topical creams and gels should be dabbed rather than rubbed in
Wash your hands with soap and water after touching blisters
Use sunscreen or lipbalm, as sometimes sunlight triggers cold sores
Take paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief
Other treatments available?
Local anaesthetic gels that you use on the blisters for pain relief
Antiviral creams like "Zovirax", which can be bought over the counter. There is debate as to how well the cream works. Zovirax has to be applied five times per day for five days.
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