What causes Cold Sores?
Cold sores are more common than you may think, affecting about 20% of the population. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is a virus passed on through close forms of personal contact, such as kissing and sexual intercourse.
The virus invades cells of the outer layer of the skin and causes tingling or burning on the lips. Fluid-filled blisters form soon after that, dry out in seven to 10 days and leave scabs. The virus is almost invisible to the immune system and so survives in nerve cells, dormant, until stress, sun exposure, a weakened immune system or the common cold catalyses its reappearance.
Treatment for Cold Sores
There is no cure for cold sores, so the only solution is to strengthen your immune system to help your body fight the virus. As cold sores can occur when your defences are weakened and under stress, it is important to always follow a well balanced, vitamin-rich diet. Regular exercise and quality sleep is also essential to maintaining a healthy immune system.
Many people forget to protect their lips against damaging UV rays, so apply an appropriate lip screen. Treat cold sores directly with medicated creams available over the counter from your pharmacist. Antiviral creams containing aciclovir can speed up the healing time of a recurrent infection, or try electronic devices using a waveband of light to enhance the local immune response.
Cole Sore Products
- Uvistat Lipscreen SPF 50, is fragrance-free lip screen with UVA protection.
- Boots Electronic Cold Sore Treatment, enhances the local immune response to the virus quickly.
- Cymex Ultra, is a new five-day treatment for the tingling sensation and blisters.
This page was written by Jon Wade, principal author and editor of Medimise.