Cold sores — commonly also known as fever blisters — are a result of viral infection. These fluid-filled blisters are always found on your mouth, around or on your lips and are very painful… It can be spread from person to person just from contact, which could be from kissing, even sharing a drinking glass or a fork from someone else. It is very contagious. The virus is called the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). You may already have heard of this virus as it is closely related to the virus that creates genital herpes (HSV-2). This Herpes Virus exists in a dormant state in the bodies of approximately 80% of the North American population. It would appear if you have been in contact with someone, cold weather, menstrual periods, stress, sunburns, or fatigue. It also appears if the immune system is weakened which activates the virus and begins a rapid spread throughout the body and eventually materializes as a sore on the lips.
It starts with a tingling sensation followed by burning pain. The sore begins by turning red and then blisters begin to form. This is when the pain is the worst as a clear liquid starts to ooze out. These symptoms continue for 10 to 14 days as the virus runs its course. Near the end it will begin to crust over and the pain subsides. It is very important to not infect others or even other parts of your body during the most contagious phase.
The usual prescription is to let it run its course and wait out the two weeks. However, your doctor can prescribe medication that would cut the time down for healing. Topical acyclovir and hydro-cortisone cream may stop the ulceration of the disease if used at the early stage when the first symptoms appear, ie when there is tingling and in the first painful moments. This only decreases the time of healing by one or two days. The cost of the prescription is almost $100. So this is a big price for only saving one to two days.
Generally it is a good idea to prevent the disease. Just beware of stresses, using sunscreen, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy are the usual best bet activities to avoid the pain. However most people find life is sometimes too stressful to be that conscientious and a cold sore appears.
A better solution that may drastically shorten the lifespan of the cold sore is dental laser performed by your local dentist. Not only is it less expensive than the prescription drug, the tingling goes away very rapidly. The lesion is stopped completely and does not erupt, therefore there is no blistering and no painful liquid leaking from a sore. The process is fast and painless. Dental lasers will feel warm and for some people maybe even hot. However the duration of the laser treatment is literally under five minutes. Call us for an appointment and you will not be disappointed.