How Cold Sores Spread & Simple Tips To Avoid It

by Head Health Nutter on June 19, 2015

Part of healthy living is prevention and so even if you don’t have the cold sore virus, it’s important to know about it and how it is spread so you can protect yourself. Today’s guest blogger, Brendon Buthello, shares with us some knowledge in this area.

Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters, that develop on your lips or around the mouth. They are caused by herpes simplex virus type-1. The virus is contagious and spreads fast.

cold-soreHow HSV-1 Cause Cold Sores?

The virus enters your body and resides in your nerve cell in a dormant state. It becomes active when the virus senses a slight change in your temperature, Ph balance, weak immune system or any triggers. Triggers can be sunburn, stress, cold, dental treatment, menstruation or any hormonal change in your body. HSV-1 then invades into the outer layer of the skin and causes fluid-filled blisters to occur.

First, you feel an itching sensation on the affected area. Eventually, it turns into painful blisters making the skin red and swollen. Check its symptoms below…

Cold Sore Symptoms:

The symptoms of HSV-1 virus may vary from person to person. But the main symptom is the tingling sensation on the affected area. Children under 5 years of age have symptoms like headache, high temperature, blisters inside the mouth, swollen and painful gums. It causes dehydration in new born babies as it becomes painful to swallow. Adults have symptoms like a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck or a sore mouth that makes it uncomfortable when drinking and eating.

Symptoms are more likely to be noticed within 2 weeks from the day the person has been infected and it usually lasts for 14 days.

How Does It Spread?

Cold sores are highly infectious when you come into direct contact with the infected person. The virus may transmit from person to person by kissing or close contact when the skin sheds the virus.

Can it spread without any symptoms being present? Yes, it can. The reason is that sometimes the virus resides in saliva and turns out to be the common means of virus transmission. Personal items like lipsticks, utensils and razors (anything that will carry a trace of blood or saliva) can transmit the virus easily.

Tips to Avoid Cold Sores:

If you are infected by HSV-1 virus, then you don’t want the virus to spread to other body parts, right? Though the virus is highly contagious, still there lies some precautions that a person should consider and can prevent spreading HSV-1. Check it below:

1. Avoid squeezing the sore

Don’t touch or squeeze the sore, especially the fluid-filled blisters. This might delay the healing process. It is advisable to wash hands quickly in case you have touched the sore, otherwise it may spread to whatever you touch next. Make use of hand sanitizer, if you are infected. Avoid intimacy with your loved ones, as you could easily pass on the virus. Suggestion: Wash any item you use in boiling water to kill the virus.

2. Don’t share anything

Avoid sharing your food, utensils, cups and glasses, etc… Or personal stuff like lip balm, lipstick, toothbrush, razors; and keep it aside from non-infected. Be especially diligent when you have an outbreak.

3. Avoid Triggers

Triggers like sunburn, fever and illness are the root cause. How to avoid such triggers? Use sunblock for sunburn, lip balm for dry lips, meditate to relieve stress and improve your immune system. Concentrate on eliminating these triggers and stop the transmission of the virus.

4. Treat it Early

Start the treatment as soon as you notice the first symptoms, that is itching sensation over the lip or mouth area.

  • For painful blisters, use ice or a cool compress as it will ease your pain to an extent.
  • Cortisone injection into the cold sore, will bring the inflammation down quite rapidly.
  • Visine, an eye drop is an old-fashion remedy to treat the cold sore.
  • Severe outbreak of the virus needs to be treated with antiviral agents. Antiviral drugs like: Zovirax, Valtrex, Famvir and Denavir cream may prevent the attacks of recurrent HSV-1, if applied during early stage of the symptoms.

Consult your doctor, if there occurs a severe outbreak of the virus!

About the Author

Brendon Buthello has experience in alternative medication and preventing contagious diseases. In this article, he has discussed about the various Cold Sore triggers and the medium through which it spreads, and the prevention measures that help in controlling the virus. You can also use different treatment options for cold sore that can work best for you.

Do you have any cold sore tips, tricks, treatment or prevention suggestions you’d like to add?

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