Cold sores or fever blisters are numerous small blisters or lesions in the skin near the mouth including lips, chin, and nostrils due to viral infection of HSV-1 (Type 1 strain) and in the genitals due to viral infection of HSV-2 (Type 2 strain of HSV). In many cases, the infection does not cause any noticeable symptoms, which keeps the HSV infection undetected unless sores appear. However, other patients have visible primary symptoms for HSV infection. Noted symptoms include mouth blister-like lesions, mouth ulcers, swelling of lips, swollen glands, headache, dehydration, or nausea. This article highlights the major causes and treatments for this infectious disease.
Causes of Cold Sores
Most common cold sores appear as blisters seen around the skin of the mouth. These form due to infection from the Type 1 strain of HSV. HSV-2 infections and blisters around the genitals are less easily detected than the HSV 1 infections. These occur because of infection by the Type 2 strain of HSV. These are the common causes of cold sores:
- Blisters of HSV-2 infections occur due to oral sex with a genital herpes-infected person. These infections are less common than the infectious blisters caused around the mouth if the infection is caused by the HSV-1 strain.
- HSV-1 cold sores or fever blisters in or around the mouth are caused by infection due to the Type 1 strain of the herpes simplex virus. The patient usually catches it through contact with another infected person.
- Blister triggers like mental stress, injuries to the cold sores, harsh sunlight and menstruation can cause severe symptoms of fever blisters. These triggers can be painful as they may activate the dormant infectious virus.
Treatment of Cold Sores
Various remedies are available for treating mouth blisters as well as sores in the genital area. Some effective treatments are listed below.
HSV causes blisters in the mouth and genitals regions. Medical treatment for these sores can be provided by the following therapies:
- Antiviral creams: Though treatment using antiviral creams does not kill the herpes simplex virus, it can restrict the infection from spreading. Doctors prescribe Penciclovir antiviral creams for the treatment of cold sores; Aciclovir is another OTC antiviral cream for preventing onset of fever blisters.
- Antiviral tablets: Oral treatment for cold sores around the mouth and genitals includes antiviral tablets. This treatment is advised for newborns and for people suffering from a weak immune system. These tablets do not kill the virus, but keep it from spreading and worsening the cold sores or fever blisters.
- Photodynamic therapy or laser treatment: Many patients have found laser treatment for cold sores and blisters around the mouth and genital areas effective.
Effective home remedies for cold sores in and around the mouth and genital areas includes:
- Treatment using ice: Rubbing ice on the skin affected by HSV infection sores for a few minutes several times a day can help eradicate the pain.
- Treatment using warm teabags: Pressing a warm teabag around the affected area can relieve pain.
Understanding the causes and knowing the treatment for blisters or cold sores can help you handle the routine effects of this common infection. In severe cases, it is advisable to visit your doctor for professional advice and treatment.
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