Cold sore

21:54 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Cold sore?

It is a common infection caused by the herpes virus that manifests through spots composed of small blisters that form in the area around the mouth and lips. When blisters burst, scabs appear that take time to fall off. The cold sore outbreak usually lasts less than 20 days. 

It is transmitted from one person to another by direct contact, as the person may be infected before symptoms appear.

Cold sore infection, also known as fever blisters, can be due to two types of herpes:

  • Simple type 1: it is the most common. 
  • Simple type 2: it is genital herpes, which can appear in the mouth when practicing oral sex.

Both can appear in the mouth or genitals through intimate contact (kissing, oral sex) or through personal hygiene utensils.

We are all at risk of suffering from cold sores, in fact, most of us already have the virus even though it never manifests, but the incidence is higher when our immune system is weak due to a chronic disease or certain drugs, such as:

  • AIDS.
  • Eczema.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Drugs to treat autoimmune conditions. 

Symptoms

The symptoms vary and depend on whether it is an initial outbreak or a recurrent one, which tends to be less severe each time. 

  • Burning, itching, and tingling in the blisters. 
  • Headache.
  • Gum discomfort.
  • Muscle pain.
  • High fever.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Sore throat.
  • Discharge and scabs.

Because the herpes virus cannot be eliminated, but is dormant, it can resurface by:

  • Hormonal abnormalities.
  • Low immune system.
  • Tiredness.
  • Stress.
  • Fever.
  • Viral infections.
  • Skin lesions.

Diagnosis and treatment

After analyzing your symptoms and performing the corresponding physical examination, your doctor will indicate the treatment to follow, which usually consists mainly of topical creams and ointments, although it may also indicate an oral antiviral medication. 

If your infection is severe, antivirals may be given to you intramuscularly. 

Prompt treatment can help lessen the discomfort of blisters and other symptoms. However, once you have been infected, the virus will remain dormant in your body for life and can resurface at any time. 

When the outbreaks are recurrent, your doctor will indicate the treatment that helps reduce their appearance, intensity, and duration.

If you have cold sores, it is important that you take the following preventive measures to avoid spreading it to another person or spreading the virus to other parts of the body:

  • Perform hand hygiene on an ongoing basis.
  • Refrain from kissing or having contact with other people until you have healed.
  • Do not share personal hygiene items.

In the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department, we offer you health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, from both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes:

  • cigna.com
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlinesplus.gov
  • plannedparenthood.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Guerrero Bernal, Cristian Gabriel; Tinoco Cabral, Claudia; Morales Martínez, et al. Herpesvirus: relación con la enfermedad periodontal e implicaciones orales. Rev Mex Periodontol. 2019;10(3):58-64. doi:10.35366/92124. 
  • Gamboa-Cañedo EA, Martínez-Limón FJ, Santibañez-Escobar PL, et al. Seroprevalencia de Virus Herpes Simple Tipo 1 en una muestra poblacional de la Zona Metropolitana de Guadalajara y municipios aledaños. Sal Jal. 2021;8(1):26-34.
  • Irarragorri DCA, Masó SE, Rodríguez AY, et al. Caracterización epidemiológica y clínica de pacientes con infecciones oculares causadas por herpesvirus. MediSan. 2020;24(01):42-56.
  • Barrios-Lamoth E, Dorta-Contreras AJ, Martínez-Larrarte JP, et al. Síntesis intratecal de IgG anti-herpes virus como evidencia neuroinmunológica en pacientes pediátricos. VacciMonitor. 2019;28(3):91-96.

						
The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.