You have an itchy tingling sensation. You see a hint of redness around your lips. Get ready to welcome a cluster of fluid filled pockets on your lips in the next 24 hours!
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are tiny, fluid-filled lesions that occur on and around your lips and usually heal within two weeks. These blisters, caused by certain strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV), are often grouped together in patches and it ends in the form of a crust once the blister blasts.
Like its name, cold sores and fever blisters tend to develop when an individual has a cold or fever. But it can also be triggered by stress, over exposure to sun, hormonal changes, and trauma to the skin, emotional distress, intestinal illness and menstruation. These blisters can recur in the same spot or in different locations with a frequency ranging from weekly to yearly. They can irritate you all your life, as the virus remains dormant in the body for lifelong.
A sore or blister will typically take a few days to break. Symptoms can vary, depending on whether this is your first outbreak or a recurrence. If you experience it for the first-time in your life, you might experience fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches or swollen lymph nodes. Children under five years old may have cold sores inside their mouths and the lesions are commonly mistaken for canker sores. For people who do develop signs and symptoms, a cold sore usually passes through several stages, which include:
|Keep in Mind
* Sharing utensils, razors and towels, as well as kissing, may spread HSV-1.
* While cold sores are most contagious when they are oozing fluid, the virus can be transmitted to others even during times when you have no blisters.
* Unlike a canker, a fever blister appears on the upper surface of the lips whereas a canker sore appears on the movable parts of the mouth such as the tongue or the inside linings of the lips and cheeks
* A fever blister, unlike a canker sore, is very contagious.
* In most cases, fever blisters don't require a doctor's visit, though there are exceptions.
* It is advisable for a cold sore sufferer to avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun and wind, and not to worsen a sore by touching or poking it.
* Fever blisters are contagious, so it is highly recommended not to share lip gloss, drinks or food with others while you are having an outbreak.
1. Tingling and itching. A stage when you feel an itching, burning or tingling sensation around your lips for a day or two before the blisters erupt.
2. Blisters. Small fluid-filled blisters typically break out along the border where the outside edge of the lips meets the skin of the face, although the blisters can also occur around the nose or on the cheeks.
3. Oozing and crusting. The small blisters may merge and then burst; leaving shallow open sores that will ooze fluid and then crust over.
In most cases cold sores generally clear up without treatment and do not require seeing, a doctor. However it is wise to see a doctor if you have frequent recurrences of cold sores or you have a weakened immune system and also the sores don't within two weeks. Several types of prescription antiviral drugs may speed the healing process. Applying ice or washcloths soaked in cold water to the blisters may help ease symptoms. Lip balms containing 1 percent lemon extract seem to shorten healing time and prevent recurrence. Foods rich in lysine include vegetables, beans, fish, and chicken can also help to heal the sore.
Most importantly, have patience. Don't poke it. Don't touch it. Cold sores usually go away without treatment within 7 to 10 days. You might have antiviral tablets or cream to ease your symptoms and speed up the healing time.
Source: Mayo clinic