What You Need To Know About Cold Sores

What You Need To Know About Cold Sores

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Over half of the population has the cold sore virus herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). The initial infection of this virus, which usually happens in children and young adults, is often mistaken for a cold or flu. However, the cold sore virus will live in your body for life, remaining dormant until a trigger activates it to produce blisters around the lips.


The HSV-1 virus remains dormant until activated by a trigger. Triggers for the cold sore virus include:

  • Sunburn
  • Fatigue
  • Changes to the immune system
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Hormone changes

Treatment And Prevention

You can prevent cold sore development by avoiding the triggers that cause it. If you do develop sores, then you can apply a topical ointment for pain relief. These blisters usually heal in a week or two, but if they last longer or the symptoms are severe, then you may want to see a doctor or dentist for anti-viral medication.

Reducing Contagion

Over half of the population has the cold sore virus for a reason. It is very contagious, especially when blisters show. To prevent the spread of this virus to others, avoid sharing:

  • Utensils
  • Razors
  • Drinking glasses
  • Towels

You should also avoid touching cold sore blisters and kissing in order to prevent the spread of the HSV-1 virus.

Cold Sores And Dentistry

If you develop blisters from cold sores, they may impede dental treatment. This delay is for two reasons: dental procedures can be painful with the presence of cold sores and you may spread the infection to your dentist and other patients. Contact your dentist’s office so they can determine whether you should delay a dental procedure (depending on the severity of the cold sores and the necessity of the dental treatment).