Cold Sores: Common And Contagious
Cold sores are common and mostly harmless. Theyre caused by the herpes simplex virus, which spreads easily from person to person.
In some lucky people, the virus might cause a cold sore onceor twice and never rear its head again. But for other people, they come backagain and again, sometimes several times a year. And that gets old real fast.
They tend to go away on their own in 10 to 14 days, says Dr.Beers. But that doesnt make them any less annoying.
How To Prevent Cold Sores
It is not always possible to prevent an outbreak of cold sores. In people who have attacks triggered by sunburn, using sunscreen or avoiding heavy sun exposure may reduce the number of attacks. Taking daily prescription antiviral medications can significantly reduce the frequency of cold sores. However, the vast majority of people do not have enough attacks to justify taking a daily medicine.
When To See A Doctor
If you experience cold sores only on occasion, home treatment may be enough to minimize discomfort and speed up the healing process. But if you have regular cold sores, you should see your doctor for prescription medication. It may help limit the frequency and severity of your sores. Using lip balm with an added sunscreen is important as well.
You should also see your doctor if a cold sore:
- spreads to your eye
- is accompanied by a fever
- doesnt clear within a week or two
- is surrounded by crusted or oozing skin
Facts And Statistics About Herpes
- According to the World Health Organization, an estimated two-thirds of the global population under 50 years old are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 .
- Estimates for HSV-1 prevalence in the U.S. among people aged 049 years are 178 million women and 142 million men .
- In total, about 75 percent or more of the American adult population has the HSV-1 virus that usually causes oral herpes , and about 20 percent to 30 percent have HSV-2 that usually causes genital herpes.
- Men and women are affected by HSV-1 about equally. Roughly 6 million women in the U.S. become infected with HSV-1 each year, along with 5 million men.
- Slightly more women than men are affected by genital herpes, whether from HSV-1 or HSV-2. Middle-aged women are most likely to acquire genital herpes.
- Transmission of HSV most often occurs without symptoms, so its estimated that 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont know it. Many dont have any symptoms at all after the initial infection, and only about 15 percent ever receive a HSV-2 infection diagnosis in their lifetimes.
- Most primary oral/facial HSV infections are caused by HSV-1 however, facial infection by HSV-2 is increasingly becoming common.
- Less children are becoming infected with HSV-1 than in the past in high-income countries, mostly due to better hygiene and living conditions.
- After someone comes into contact with an active herpes outbreak on another person, the incubation period takes about one week.
Bumps Due To Ingrown Hairs
Most of us have experienced ingrown hair on our bodies or faces at some point as a result of hair removal. Normally, when hair regrows, it grows up and above the skin. But if it starts to curl instead, it may get trapped and form a small, raised, reddened bump that may or may not be filled with pus. Those with thick, curly hair tend to develop ingrown hairs more often than people with fine, thin hair, but no one is completely immune.
The best way to prevent ingrown hair is by not waxing, shaving, or plucking, but thats not always a practical option for some people who are committed to hair removal, explains Dr. Garden. Other ways to limit ingrown hairs are to always wash the skin with a mild soap and rub a lubricating shaving cream gel on the skin before shaving.
If your razor is several uses old, replace it with a fresh one, as dull blades dont make clean, precise cuts and can increase your risk for ingrown hair, says Dr. Garden.
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How Do You Know If You Have Herpes
Often times, you can tell the difference between herpes sores and pimples just by looking at them. However, for a definitive answer, it is best to seek out a licensed healthcare provider, who can find out if you are infected with herpes using one or a combination of three possible diagnostic tests:
What Is The Prognosis For Oral Herpes Can They Be Cured
Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for herpes simplex virus. Avoiding risk factors, such as sunburn and stress, can help prevent additional outbreaks. Cold sores will usually heal within 2 weeks without treatment. However, there are established cold sore treatments available to help decrease healing time, reduce pain, and in specific cases, suppress the recurrence of the virus.
Cold sores, if they recur, are most likely to do so during the first year after infection. They usually resolve on their own within 1-2 weeks. After the initial outbreak, cold sores may never appear again, or appear only when something triggers them. Usually people with cold sores lead normal lives and are not terribly affected by them unless they happen to recur very often .
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Why Herpes Should Not Be Popped
Herpes blisters is the result of viral infection affecting your immune system. As a result, the blisters occurring across your infected skin are infectious. These blisters are filled with fluid carrying infectious virus. While it might be common to pop acne pimples, popping herpes blisters filled with herpes simplex virus should be avoided.
When herpes blisters are popped, the fluid discharges, spreading another infection on various sections of your skin. This may either result in other fever blisters, which are either red, white or clear, or cause invigorating pain on broken sores. Popping fever blisters is also not recommended as this may pass the disease to other people with weak immune system. The simplex virus continues replicating during each stage of the herpes, which makes it still likely for the others to be infected from the infectious fluid.
The problem will likely be worse when you pop the blisters with unsterile needles or hands. In addition to a viral infection, herpes blisters are also medically considered as an open wound. When you are accessing this wound with any unsterilized devices, you are likely to worsen the infection, as these devices might carry germs that might spread to the infection site. These germs can possibly harm the skin tissues, causing superficial damages resulting in scars, which may stay even after the breakout subsides.
How To Diagnose Facial Herpes
Accurate diagnosis of facial herpes is made most easily and accurately at the time of an active herpes infection. A combination of the patient’s medical history and the appearance of the sores will usually be sufficient to identify facial herpes. A swab of the lesion or a specialised blood test can be used to confirm it.
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Treating Cold Sores With Valtrex
Cold sores typically start to heal on their own within about four to six days. Although, the first cold sore you get will likely last longer.
Most people dont require treatment for their cold sores, but, in some cases, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication such as Valtrex. This may be because you get cold sores often or if youre at high risk of serious complications, such as from a weakened immune system.
To treat a cold sore, you take Valtrex on the day you notice a cold sore forming. Valtrex works by preventing the herpes virus from growing and spreading.
Your doctor may also prescribe Valtrex to help prevent future cold sores, which is an off-label use. In that case, you and your doctor would work together to create the best treatment plan for you.
Valtrex is an oral caplet. It comes in 500-milligram and 1-gram strengths. Its available as a brand-name product as well as a generic medication . The generic product is an oral tablet which comes in the same strengths.
Before Using Topical Acyclovir
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to acyclovir, valacyclovir , any other medications, or any of the ingredients in acyclovir cream or ointment. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any condition that affects your immune system such as human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome .
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using acyclovir, call your doctor.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Herpes On Face
Although the signs and symptoms of facial herpes vary from person to person, they usually begin with a tingling followed by burning, pain, redness, and swelling of the skin in one area of the face. In addition to these symptoms, you may have a fever and swollen lymph nodes in your neck.
After these signs and symptoms you will see some blisters that after a few days burst into sores, which are covered by a crust that dries and falls. Finally the skin returns to its initial state.
This means herpes on face is a six-phase disease that begins with the first signs and ends with the healing phase.
The early stages of disease until sores appear are called herpes outbreaks.
Stages of facial herpes.
How long does a facial herpes last?
The duration of this disease is determined by the time from the beginning of the first phase to the end of the last phase that oscillates between two and three weeks in the primary infection, that is, the first time it appears.
What Should I Avoid While Using Acyclovir Topical
Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If this does happen, rinse with water. When treating a cold sore, apply the medication only to the outer part of your lips.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with Zovirax Topical unless your doctor tells you to.
Using Zovirax Topical will not prevent you from passing genital herpes to other people. Herpes infections are contagious and you can infect other people even while you are using acyclovir.
Avoid sexual intercourse or use a latex condom to help keep you from spreading the virus to others. Avoid letting infected areas come into contact with other people. Avoid touching an infected area and then touching your eyes. Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.
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What Can Be Done To Ease The Caused Pain
Many people are tempted to pop fever blisters because they possibly have some difficulties differentiating those from pimples and as a result, treat the bumps as acne pimples. In addition, some patients tend to have the urge to pop the fluid-filled blisters as they think this may help ease the caused pain.
Herpes is painful because the virus does not only affect your skin surface, but also the nucleus beneath the skin, close to the nerves. It is not surprising, therefore, that broken blisters that are resulted from popping intensify the pain.
Despite this, there are some remedies you can perform in order to ease herpes-caused pain.
1. Applying cold sore gel or ointment over the affected area
Acylclovir is one of the most common substance used for treating herpes and chickenpox outbreak. Acyclovir-containing ointments will help shooting your skin from both oral and genital herpes outbreaks.
2. Concealing herpes blisters with petroleum jelly
What Triggers Facial Herpes
The factors which can trigger herpes outbreaks differ from person to person. Menstruation, trauma, fever, exposure to sunlight, extreme weather conditions or anything that lowers the immune system, such as a cold, flu or general illness, can cause a reappearance of cold sores in some people. In others, there is no definite cause.
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To Use Acyclovir Ointment Follow These Steps:
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient. Read this information before you start using acyclovir and each time you refill your prescription.
Can Herpes Simplex Be Cured
Symptoms clear in 7-10 days, with or without treatment, though the virus will remain in a dormant state in the body. In a majority of patients, recurrent symptoms are mild and infrequent, or do not happen at all. For a minority, troublesome recurrences can usually be prevented by using oral anti-viral drugs or adopting lifestyle changes.
Factors that may increase the risk of virus reactivation are:
- Other infections, such as colds or flu.
- Getting tired and run down.
- Sunlight on the affected area.
A skin injury, such as an operation or a graze, at the place where the virus shows itself at the surface.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Cold Sores
The best way to prevent a herpes simplex infection is to avoid physical contact with someone else’s cold sores. Items that touch the lips but cannot be washed or sanitized, such as lipstick or lip balm, should not be shared. During an outbreak, frequent hand washing and sanitizing with 60% ethanol-based hand sanitizer will help reduce the spread of the virus to other parts of the body or to other people. Wash hands immediately after applying topical treatments to a cold sore. L-lysine and other supplements have not been shown to consistently reduce outbreaks.
To prevent future outbreaks,
- avoid long periods of time in the sun and use sunblock on lips and face,
- reduce stress by getting adequate rest and relaxation,
- avoid trauma to the mouth or involved area, and
- take any antiviral medication exactly as prescribed.
Zovirax Topical Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives difficult breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Common side effects may include:
dry, cracked, or peeling lips
dryness or flaking of treated skin
burning, stinging, or itching when the medicine is applied.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
How Is Herpes Gladiatorum Diagnosed And Treated
- If you suspect you have HSV-1 infection, inform your coach immediately — early identification and treatment of skin infections is important for your health and the health of your teammates and opponents.
- Some cases of herpes are mild and may not need treatment. However, athletes should not practice, play, or compete until a medical provider determines that the lesions are no longer infectious .
- Athletes who have severe or prolonged outbreaks , immune system problems, or frequent outbreaks may be prescribed antiviral medications.
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