Cold sore

These are small fluid filled blisters that develop on the edges of lower lips and around the mouth and usually clear up without treatment within a week time. Herpes simplex virus is the causative virus and it does not cause symptoms once infected and the outbreak may occur sometime later. You may start to feel tingling,itching or burning sensation around mouth.

There are two strains of herpes simplex virus HSV-1 and HSV-2. The former is the most common virus and the second strain is the caused from other person who has genital herpes. The infection that caused when infected with the virus first time called the primary infection and it is more common in children less than five years and can cause a variety of symptoms. The secondary infection is the outbreak of cold sore which more common in adult


Cold sore can be treated with antiviral creams and medications like acyclovir or penciclovir. Antiviral creams need to apply four to five times per day for five days and it can only treat current flare ups and it does not prevent the future infection. Antiviral medications are used to treat virus systemically and needed only for severe infection. If you are experiencing more break out you need to start applying creams when you feel tingling sensation around mouth.

Non antiviral treatments are available to heal the sore and is not effective for the viruses. These types includes cold sore patches. Pain can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen unless contraindicated and both of these are available as liquid form especially for the children.

You may need special treatment with antiviral medication if your immune system is damaged due to HIV or you are undergoing chemotherapy. It can spread to eyes and can causes severe eye infection if left untreated.


If your cold sore is occur due to sun exposure apply sun screen cream to the lips and around the mouth to prevent the trigger. You can prevent infection from someone else with the following precausion. Avoid skin to skin contact with infected person while blisters are present. Infection spreads faster from the moist secretion from the blisters. Avoid sharing towels, lip balm or cream or other utensils from the infected person. Give extra precaution while in the weather change or avoid stress if the person is infected earlier and had outbreaks before. Menstrual changes can also trigger cold sore in some women.

Patient advice

Encourage patient to drink more fluids to avoid dehydration and try to avoid acidic or salty food . If more pain to brush the teeth try to use antiseptic mouth wash. Dab creams on to the sore rather than rubbing it on. It is better to avoid other creams and make up while the flare up is over.

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