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Cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters, are a small cluster of blisters that most commonly occur at the corners of the lips or around the mouth. They may even occur inside the nose or in the corners of the eyes. Cold sores are painful and can last up to two weeks. Cold sores are caused by a virus known as the herpes simplex virus (or HSV-1). The skin around the blisters becomes sore, red, and swollen. They may leak a clear liquid before scabbing.
Up to 60% of Americans will suffer from cold sores at one time or another and of these, 25% will continue to experience recurrent outbreaks of cold sores. Anyone can become infected and, once infected, the virus will remain in the system for life.
Cold sores spread through skin-to-skin contact and are the most contagious when the sores are blistered. Cold sores can also spread through the fluid contained in the blisters. Cold sores are commonly spread through the sharing of lip balm and razors, and kissing or eating from the same utensils as an infected person.
The first symptoms of cold sores will appear around 20 days after contact with the virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Tingling, burning, and itching may occur in the location where the blisters will form.
Cold sores will start healing on their own within a few days without any treatment. However, if they are very painful or embarrassing, there are prescription ointments you can use. These will ease the pain and decrease the duration of the cold sore.
There is not a cure for the herpes simplex virus. But, with diligent care and treatment, there are ways that you can lessen the frequency and severity of your child’s outbreaks. It’s also important for you to recognize when a cold sore may be beginning so that you can avoid infecting others.
If your child is suffering from excessive or long-lasting cold sores, make sure to take him or her to the doctor to check it out. To make an appointment with a children’s dentist in Parker, Colorado, please contact Little Rockies Pediatric Dentistry today.