Herpes Cold Sores
|What are Herpes Cold Sores?|
Herpes cold sores vs. normal cold sores, what is the difference?
Are herpes cold sores and regular cold sores the same thing? Yes, the cold sores that occur on the mouth, lip and face are actually caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Cold sores are sometimes referred to as fever blisters, oral herpes or herpes labialis but they are all caused by the same virus.
Herpes cold sores are not typically caused by the same kind of virus that causes genital herpes. However the two different viruses can be transferred from one area to another. So genital herpes can be transferred to the lips and mouth and oral herpes type 1 can be transferred to he genitals.
If you have herpes cold sores it is very important to avoid kissing and oral sex during an outbreak. This is the only way to stop the infection from spreading. The infection can also be spread from your lips and face to your own genitals so proper hand washing is critical. Herpes is very contagious and can be transmitted even during the "tingle" stage i.e. before the sores begin to form.
Herpes cold sores are actually a very common complaint. About 80% of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex type 1 virus. However many people do not show any symptoms of cold sores. This is because their bodies are able to keep the infection at bay.
Herpes cold sores are not the same as canker sores. Herpes causes fluid-filled blisters on the face and lips which burst, crust over and then heal. Canker sores are ulcers that occur inside the mouth. They are not caused by a virus but are, instead, due to stress, trauma to the mouth and allergic reaction or a reaction to bacteria.
There is no cure for herpes cold sores but you can avoid attacks by taking good care of your immune system. Avoid getting run-down, strong sun exposure, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and exercise. Excessive alcohol and temperature extremes should also be avoided. Some steroid medications (asthma medication) can trigger an outbreak in certain people.
Herpes cold sores are treated by taking drugs like acyclovir by mouth or in the form of a cream. Ask your doctor about the correct form of treatment for your cold sores. Treating the infection before the sores form may help to shorten the attack as anti-viral agents help contain the spread of the virus.