Dental Care

Those Dreadful Cold Sores

Written by Beaches Gentle Dentistry Aug 17 • 1 minute read

Did you know that 6 out of 10 people have the cold sore virus? The initial infection of the virus (herpes simplex virus 1) often starts when one is young and can easily be mistaken for a cold. 

You usually catch HSV when you come into contact with people or things that carry the virus. For instance, you can get it from kissing someone who's infected or when you share eating utensils, towels, or razors.

Both HSV type 1 and type 2 can cause sores on your genitals. They can be spread by oral sex. Genital herpes is usually caused by HSV type 2.

You may get cold sores as late as 20 days after you came into contact with the virus. Once the virus enters your body, the cold sore may appear near the part it entered. About 2 days before an attack, you may get itchy or feel sensitive at the spot.
Some things can trigger an outbreak, such as:

  • Eating certain foods
  • Stress
  • Fever
  • Colds
  • Allergies
  • Sunburns
  • Menstruation

To protect other people, when you have cold sores:

  • Don't kiss anyone
  • Don't share forks, knives, spoons, glasses, towels, lip balm, or razors
  • Don't have oral sex

Once you get a cold sore, they can take a long time to resolve. A physician or dentist can prescribe medications to minimize cold sore outbreaks & prevent them form spreading such as acyclovir (Zovirax®), an antiviral medication that can shorten how long you have the virus. Talk to your dentist and primary Dr. about recommendations and treatment options

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