Cold sores, by their very nature, are pretty inconvenient and annoying. But that doesn't mean that we’re powerless when they pop up. There are things that we can do to stay comfortable during an outbreak, and minimize the risk of spreading infection. Keep reading to learn more from our dentists at Saint Louis County Dental.
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are the result of HSV-1 infection. There is no cure for HSV-1, but there are medications that can minimize its virility.
Some people with HSV-1 never experience an outbreak; they may not even know they have it. Most people, however, will notice some symptoms shortly have HSV-1 exposure. They may have individual sore or blisters, sensitive oral tissues, and swollen lymph nodes. For some patients, this is it; they’ll never see symptomology beyond the primary outbreak.
However, many people deal with recurrent sores; these lesions pop up periodically, especially when triggered by…
- Illness—like a cold or the flu
- Sun exposure/sunburn
- Hormonal shifts
Minimizing these triggers in your own life will help to keep cold sores at bay.
When you do have an active outbreak, you should take special precautions to minimize the spread of HSV-1.
- Don’t share utensils or drinks
- Don’t share beauty products or lip balm
- Refrain from kissing
The best thing that you can do in these situations is to allow the cold sore to run its course with as little disruption as possible. You can use topical creams and gels to nourish the skin, aid in healing, and desensitize the area. You can also ice lesions to bring down swelling while numbing your lip. While you are treating your cold sore, make sure that you are not picking at the skin or otherwise disrupting the healing process. Allow the cold sore to scab over naturally—this is a good sign!
Our Saint Louis dentists are here to help you manage HSV-1, so give us a call to schedule a personal consultation!