Cold Sores (Oral Herpes) – What You Need to Know

Herpes is one of the most common viral infections that affect millions of people every year. When herpes occurs in the lips and mouth, we refer to it as oral herpes or cold sores.

This infection results from a virus known as the herpes simplex virus. In general, two types of this virus affect humans:

  • Herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) – causes cold sores
  • Herpes simplex type 2 virus (HSV-2) – causes genital herpes

The Signs and Symptoms of Cold Sores

Before a cold sore develops, you may feel a burning sensation or tingle around your lips or face.

As the sore forms, you will see a raised, red blister that contains fluids. This structure is usually tender to the touch.

Generally speaking, the cold sore will persist for 2 weeks before it crusts over.

Besides the cold sore, you may experience:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

The Causes of Cold Sores

  • Herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) – causes cold sores
  • Herpes simplex type 2 virus (HSV-2) – causes genital herpes

The Treatment Options for Cold Sores

Ointments and creams – antiviral ointments, such as penciclovir, may help patients who experience frequent cold sores.

Medications – if your symptoms are severe enough, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs (e.g., Acyclovir) to lower the frequency and severity of cold sores.

Home remedies – applying ice can reduce the swelling and pain of the sore. Aloe vera gel is also effective in reducing the inflammation of the sore. Finally, taking lysine supplements may reduce the frequency of oral herpes.

Cold sores are incredibly common, affecting almost everyone in their lifetime. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, telemedicine makes it possible for you to get the care you deserve. Schedule a virtual consultation with a Telakai Health online Provider and get on the road to recovery. Schedule your visit today.