A cold sore or fever blisters as they are also known are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Now as you may be well aware this is a very common viral infection, and as with most subjects like this it can create a great deal of distress for the sufferer, as not only is the cold sore painful, but it is also embarrassing and very frustrating. Now although the word Herpes is mentioned, cold sores are not necessarily caught through sexual activity. In fact, cold sores are very contagious and can be can spread by direct contact or through indirect contact by doing something such as using an infected towel or food appliance for example.
As mentioned, cold sores are caused by herpes simplex types 1 and 2. Now although both of these herpes virus cause herpes on the lips or genitals, in general most often cold sores are caused by the type 1. Because this type of herpes does not come from sexual contact and because it is highly contagious and can come from indirect contact, then it stands to reason that is why a majority of people who have had cold sores became infected before the age of 10. There is no real timescale on how long a cold sore will last, but on average they are usually gone within two weeks or so. And although you may be carrying the virus, if you do not have any symptoms of your cold sore, that can mean the virus is dormant and you are not infectious at that time.
Treatment Of Cold Sores
Unfortunately, it is not really possible to 100% cure or prevent the outbreak of cold sores. However, the good news is that there are certain steps you can take to reduce how often they occur and shorten the length of an outbreak. The most common treatment of cold sores and fever blisters is to use an antiviral medication. Also if you treat the cold sore with an antiviral cream then this in turn will also help prevent the spread of the virus. When you apply an antiviral cream you may find that you have a slight stinging for a few minutes, but do not worry as this can be quite normal. If you are uncertain about using this kind of medication then make sure you seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health professional before starting a treatment, but on the whole you should be okay with an over the counter remedy.
Other Cold Sore Remedies
As with most things in life these days, there are so many different remedies to treat your cold sore with, from over the counter to natural remedies. When it comes to home remedies, there are probably as many of these as there are over the counter remedies, with cures ranging from cold compresses, tea bag application, applying moisturizers and petroleum jelly, right the way through to mother natures remedies with things like tea tree oil or sage. Now as with most of these kind of natural cures none of them have really been scientifically proven to help speed up the time cold sores last for, but many people do feel that they find them to be beneficial. And I suppose the good thing about using natural treatments for a cold sore is that you are less likely to suffer from any dangerous side effects.
So a cold sore is highly contagious, unsightly and can be very distressing for the sufferer, and whilst it cannot be 100% cured outright it can be managed. What you will probably find is that a cold sore can be likened to an allergy, in that you may experience more at certain stage of life, and you may also be free of them for years. Then good news is that there are treatments available to help you deal with your cold sore, both medicinal and natural so you are bound to be able to find a treatment that suits you.