Cold Sores / Fever Blisters / Herpes Simplex Virus
What is the herpes simplex virus?
What is called a cold sore or fever blister, this condition is caused by the same herpes simplex virus. 50 to 80 percent of us carry this virus. Once infected, you have the herpes simplex virus for the rest of your life. Some people never have any symptoms, while others have outbreaks of blister-like lesions most often around the lips and mouth. The virus is highly contagious and can spread easily.
How can HSV infections be prevented?
Herpes simplex outbreaks are often associated with colds, fevers, or direct sun exposure. Since HSV is transmitted through direct, physical contact (such as kissing and sexual contact), the best method of prevention is to avoid touching the herpes simplex sores.
What are the symptoms of an oral herpes simplex virus infection?
Initial infection may cause no symptoms or may cause severe flu-like symptoms with mouth ulcers. In recurring infections, sores tend to erupt in the same area. The progression of symptoms may include:
- Tingling, redness, swelling, heat, and pain in the area where the infection will erupt
- Painful, fluid-filled blisters may appear on the lips or under the nose that are highly contagious
- The blisters leak fluids and become sores
- After approximately four days, the sores start to crust over
Treatment may involve:
- keeping the infected area clean and dry
- antibiotic treatment for any bacterial infections
- topical antiviral creams
- do not allow direct contact with the lesions
- stay out of bright sunlight