Herpes or Cold Sores - Which is it?

By: granola
It may surprise you to find out that if you get cold sores, you actually suffer from herpes. Many people think of herpes as something that only effects the genital area, but in fact the disease is more than just a sexually transmitted disease. Like the genital version, herpes in the form of cold sores lie dormant until irritated, at which point they make their appearance.

Cold sores get their name because they do tend to show up at times when the sufferer is afflicted by a cold. However, stress can trigger an appearance by a cold sore, as can menstruation in women. These sores are generally fluid filled and irritating. They can also be painful. They usually appear in the area around the mouth, most often on the lips. They can appear, however, below the lip, anywhere between the lower lip and the chin. They can also appear on the upper lip, anywhere between that lip and the nose. Some cold sores show up as a single sore, while others appear as clusters of many sores. These clusters can grow to be large enough to cover a solid area, sometimes stretching from lip to nose, or covering the entire lip. Some even make their way inside the mouth, on the inner lip or on the side of the inner cheek.

Not only can cold sores be painful, but they can also cause a great deal of trouble when it comes to eating, drinking, and sleeping. Additionally, running water can make them feel even more uncomfortable, making showering an annoying experience. If caught quickly, a cold sore can be disposed of in one to three days. However, if allowed to grow from its beginning to its full course, a cold sore can last up to a week or longer. This is why it is important to learn to recognize a developing cold sore and immediately begin treating it.

Most cold sores are accompanied by a distinctive tingle just as they are starting. If you keep an over the counter treatment like Abreva handy, you can smear some on the area and prevent the sore from getting very big, and from lasting for very long. If your cold sore outbreaks are particularly strong, your doctor may actually prescribe a medicine like Famciclovir to help suppress the outbreak. Famciclovir is generally used to treat genital herpes outbreaks, but it also works for cold sores, since they are caused by the same sort of virus. Another thing that can help you get rid of cold sores is taking Lysine. However, it is important to note that your body can become immune to it, reducing its effectiveness.

The sooner you take measures to treat the cold sore, the sooner it will be gone. It is best to have what you need readily available so that you can treat the cold sore at the first sign of a tingle. That way you will be able to significantly restrict the time that you have a cold sore.
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