Cold Sores, Your Treatment Options

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It might be surprising to know that the dentists at Beverly Hills Dentistry are experts on a wide variety of oral health problems beyond cavities and gum disease. One of these is cold sores aka HSV-1 or herpes simplex.

Virus Exposure is Common

One reason we need to know about it is that most adults actually carry this virus, even if they have never had a cold sore, since it is easily transmitted, very common to be exposed as babies, and once someone is infected, they remain so. Individuals who have eczema or HIV/AIDS or are undergoing cancer therapy are especially prone to it becoming active. However, most people have immune systems that were stimulated to produce antibodies when first infected and these usually keep the virus in check. But for others they can recur periodically.

If you’ve had a cold sore (also known as a fever blister) you know that it manifests initially as a burning feeling on the lip or at the corner of the mouth and then in 12-14 hours a red sore appears. That breaks open in a few days and crusts over, going away in 2-4 weeks. These are painful, so you definitely want to do whatever you can to avoid having them and if they occur, you should treat that feeling and the viral cause as best as you can. Additional symptoms can be a sore throat, headache, or upset stomach.

Preventive Measures to Reduce the Risk

To avoid infection to begin with, you should avoid kissing or having oral sex with anyone who has an active case. You should also not share utensils or glasses, razors, lip balm or lipstick, or even towels. If you have one yourself, be honest with others about the risk you present. You can reduce the chances of a cold sore appearing by keeping your stress low, getting enough sleep, eating a wholesome diet, and avoiding a lot of sun exposure, especially sunburn.

If you do become infected, while there is no cure, there are antiviral medications that can speed healing, such as prescription creams or the over-the-counter Abreva. In addition, our team specializes in advanced laser technology that can address sores and ulcers.

There are also prescription pills and intravenous medicines you can ask your doctor about.

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