Cold Sores - Tips on how to manage cold sores

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Cold Sores

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Introduction

Acording to the Merck Manual (Second Home Edition), Cold Sores or Herpes Simplex is defined as: "Infection of the mouth with herpes simplex virus causes recurring sores (often called cold sores), in which small fluid-filled sores develop on the skin, lips, or mouth in single or multiple clusters."

The first eruption of sores due to infection with oral herpes simplex virus is called primary herpes. It is usually contracted in childhood. Primary herpes may be mild or severe, but it often affects large areas of the mouth and always the gums. Any subsequent eruption of the sores is called secondary herpes. Secondary herpes is a reactivation of the virus rather than a new infection. There are at least two forms of herpes simplex virus. In the past, herpes simplex virus type 1 only caused sores above the waist, and type 2 only below the waist (genital herpes (see Viral Infections: Herpes Simplex Virus Infections). Now, however, either type can cause sores anywhere on the body. Herpes simplex virus type 2 tends to be more severe than type 1.

Cold Sores - a medical overview, hints & tip on how to manage them
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Typically, a previously uninfected child acquires the virus from contact with an adult who has a cold sore. In rare cases, a person first acquires herpes simplex virus in adulthood, also after contact with someone with a cold sore.

A person is capable of spreading the infection (contagious) from the time the tingling sensation that precedes the development of a sore (the prodrome) is experienced to the time at which the sore has completely crusted over. It is unknown whether herpes can be spread by sharing a glass or touching something that an infected person has touched.

Symptoms

When primary herpes is acquired in childhood, the infection causes gum inflammation and extensive mouth soreness. Fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and general discomfort may develop. A child may be cranky and cry continually. However, many cases are mild and go unrecognized. Parents often mistake the problem for teething or another illness. In more severe cases, small blisters form in the child's mouth. These blisters may not be noticed because they rupture within a day or two, leaving many ulcers. The ulcers may occur anywhere in the mouth but always include the gums. Though the child gets better in a week to 10 days, the herpes simplex virus never leaves the body.

When primary herpes is acquired in adulthood, symptoms are usually more severe and include multiple rapidly developing painful sores on the gums and other parts of the mouth.

Unlike primary herpes, which causes widespread mouth soreness, the flare-ups of secondary herpes usually produce a single raw, weeping open sore on the outer lip that later crusts over before healing within 2 or 3 weeks. The sore is sometimes called a cold sore or fever blister. Less commonly, a cluster of blisters (vesicles) forms on the roof of the mouth. These small blisters run together and quickly break down into a sore. There is no crusting stage.

Flare-ups are commonly triggered by sunburn on the lips, certain foods, anxiety, a cold (hence the name "cold sore"), fever, or anything that lowers the body's resistance to infection. Certain dental procedures can cause a flare-up as well; if a cold sore already exists, dental visits should be postponed until the sore heals.

Although merely a painful annoyance for most people, flare-ups of oral herpes simplex infection can be life-threatening for a person with an impaired immune system. Impairment of the immune system can be caused by diseases (such as AIDS), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a bone marrow transplant. In such people, large, persistent sores in the mouth can interfere with eating; spread of the virus to the brain can be fatal.

Cold Sores

Author: John Moore

Tips For Healing Cold Sores

That tingling you feel just above your upper lip is unmistakable. You know that it's the start of another cold sore. You've gone through this routine before. First it gets red, then that itchy tingly area puffs out into a big embarrassing cold sore.For some reason you can't stop checking yourself out in the mirror. Why, you wonder, does it have to happen to me ?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. It's likely that some relative of yours infected you when you were a child by kissing you at a time when their herpes simplex was infectious. The virus went right into your mouth and sought a hospitable host cell that would let the virus move right in. The virus then "ordered" the DNA in its host cell to make lots more viruses exactly like it.

For most of the time, these viruses are homebodies. They stay put, but from time to time the virus family likes to take a little trip down the nerve highways until it reaches the skin surface. When this happens, you start to feel that awful tingling sensation that signals the start of another cold sore.

What can you do about it ?.. Keep The Cold Sore Clean And Dry. If the cold sore isn't really bothersome, just leave it alone. Make sure to keep the sore clean and dry. If it become pussy - and this rarely happens - seek medical attention to make sure the bacterial infection is properly treated.

Replace Your Toothbrush.

Your trusty toothbrush can hold the herpes virus for days, reinfecting you after the present cold sore heals. Get rid of your toothbrush as soon as you start with a cold sore, and after your cold sore has gone, replace your toothbrush for a second time just in case. Don't take any chances.

Don't Keep Your Toothbrush In The Bathroom.

A nice wet toothbrush in a moist environment like your bathroom is a cosy home for the herpes simplex virus. The moisture helps prolong the life of the herpes virus on your toothbrush, that's why it should be stored in a dry place.

Use Small Tubes Of Toothpaste

Toothpaste can transmit disease too, so if you use smaller tubes, you'll be replacing your toothpaste more often.

Protect With Petroleum Jelly.

Cover your cold sore with petroleum jelly. Be sure not to dip back into the jelly with the same finger you used to touch your sore. It would be better to use fresh cotton buds.

Zap It With Zinc.

Several studies have shown that a water-based zinc solution applied the minute you feel that tingling, will help speed the healing time. The zinc irons crosslink with the DNA molecule of the herpes virus and prevent the double helix from splitting, this means the virus can't get the DNA to help it replicate. Zinc gluconate, available at health food stores, is kinder to the skin than zinc sulphate.

Identify The Pattern

What was going on in your life just before you got your last cold sore ? What about the cold sore prior to that ? If you do some investigating, you just might figure out what triggers a cold sore for you. If you can find a trigger, you'll know when to take the most care.

Soften It With An OTC

There are numerous products that claim to heal cold sores. In general, they contain some emollient to reduce cracking and soften scabs, and a numbing agent like phenol or camphor. Phenol may have some antiviral properties, and it's possible that it could kill the virus.

Block That Sun (Or Wind)

Protecting your lips from trauma like sunburn or wind exposure is thought be one of the keys to preventing cold sores.

Avoid Arginine-Rich Foods.

The herpes virus needs arginine as an essential amino acid for its metabolism, so cut out foods such as chocolate, cola, peas, grain cereals, peanuts, gelatine, cashews and beer.

Correct Your Perception.

No one likes getting a cold sore. But you've got one, so focusing on it and worrying about how you look can make it worse. Cut out your negative thoughts. Tell yourself that it's just like a pimple and it won't interfere in your life in any way !

About the author: Author - John Moore - Please use my link http://www.acne-information-guide.com

Useful Herbs and Essential Oils to Treat Cold Sores

Eucalyptus oil: This is a very powerful essential oil which can be applied topically to the blister(s). Regular application will help to dry out the blister and ease the pain.

Tea Tree oil: Whilest not quite as effective at drying out the blister, it is still a very good anticeptic and will help to ease the pain (if you don't happen to have Eucalyptus oil on hand).

Echinacea (purpurea): is a fantastic liquid treatment to be applied topically and taken internally. Echinacea purpurea will kill the virus and boost your immune system.

Vitamin C: Taken at doeses up to 3 grams per day during the acute phase of the cold sore, can help to speed up the healing process.

Before you follow any of the advice given in on this page, you should consult your health care professional.

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