If you are one of the many people who deals with recurrent cold sores, then you already know how disruptive these little blisters can be. What you may not know, however, is how to best deal with these pesky outbreaks. That’s where our Saint Louis dentists can help!
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are the result of HSV-1 infection. While cold sores most frequently show up on and around a patient’s lips, they can also pop up on the chin, cheek, and inside the nose.
Once you have HSV-1, there is no way to completely get it out of your system. HSV-1 manifests differently for different people—some patients never show symptoms, others have only one, initial, outbreak. Still others will periodically develop cold sores for years to come.
It is important to note that cold sore manifestation can be triggered by environmental factors. If you are under increased stress, or you’re experiencing hormonal fluctuations, you might see cold sores as a result. Additionally, illness and sun exposure can activate fever blisters. Try to keep track of these triggers in your own life, so you can better understand what puts you at risk for cold sore outbreaks.
What to do when you are in the middle of an outbreak?
- Minimize chance of spreading HSV-1
Be careful not to share utensils, drinks, or lip products (this is generally good advice, but especially important when you have active cold sores). Additionally, you don’t want to be kissing people during this time.
- Nurture damage skin
There are a number of over-the-counter creams and gels that will replenish the infected skin. These formulations often have additional numbing benefits. You can also ice sensitive cold sores to minimize swelling and ease pain.
- Do not pick
One of the absolute best things that you can do during an outbreak is to simply leave your cold sores alone. As these lesions heal, they will naturally scab over—this is a good thing! Picking at your lips will only delay healing, and create scar tissue.
As always, our Saint Louis dentists are here to answer any questions that may have. So don’t hesitate to give us a call!