Cold sores are a common condition, particularly when the weather cools down. In fact, 25 per cent of people have recurring cold sores!
Cold sores are characterized by small blisters on your lips and are sometimes confused with canker sores, which can have similar symptoms.
If you have cold sores and you’re wondering if you should go ahead with your scheduled dental appointment, we suggest you give us a call.
We recommend you let your cold sore heal before an appointment. Don’t worry it should take less than 10 days! We’re happy to reschedule your appointment!
Cold sores, sometimes known as fever blisters, are caused by a form of the herpes simplex virus. The herpes virus produces a lifelong infection that often lays hidden in your body (sometimes for years) before breaking out into a cold sore.
Because the virus that causes cold sores does not go away, it is doubly important to battle cold-sores by heading them off before they erupt, or treating them as soon as there is evidence they are on the way. It is also vital to ensure the virus itself is not passed along to others or back to yourself.
To help cold sore suffers battle their affliction, Alex Bratic Dental Care has collected information on how to forestall, treat, and avoid transmission of cold sores.
Have medicine on hand
Several types of prescription antiviral drugs may speed the healing process, particularly if they are used as soon as symptoms are felt:
- Penciclovir (Denavir)
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
- Famciclovir (Famvir)
- Acyclovir (Xerese, Zovirax)
Some of these products are packaged as pills, and some are creams. They require prescriptions in many cases, and having your prescription already in hand can save you a trip to the doctor, and help beat the virus back.
Keep your hands OFF!
It is crucial that you don’t pick at a cold sore. Poking, rubbing, or peeling can only extend the healing process. Touching cold sores is also a vector of transmission. If you do touch a cold sore, wash your hands as soon as possible.
Consider a compress
Placing a cool, wet towel on the cold sore three times a day for 10 minutes, with a damp, cool cloth can decrease redness, swelling, and pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, compresses can also help remove crusting and promote healing.
Stay away from citric acid
Citrus fruits like oranges contain citric acid. While citric acid is generally good for you, it can irritate a cold sore and increase your pain. Many acidic fruits contain Vitamin C, which can boost the immune system and help you fight off infection, including cold sores. So during a cold sore breakout, replace fruit with tablets containing Vitamin C, which help your body’s immune system fight against cold sores.
A cold sore is more than enough to deal with. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen (mind any usage warnings) to reduce the pain and swelling caused by a cold sore.
Use OTC remedies
Over-the-counter (OTC) cold sore treatments can help you deal with the pain caused by cold sores. Docosanol, benzyl alcohol, and benzocaine are ingredients in topical treatments (creams, gels, or ointments) that can relieve cold sore symptoms and reduce pain.
Petroleum jelly can soothe aggravated cold sores and provide a barrier between the virus and other areas of the body. Smoothing some petroleum jelly over the cold sore, particularly in combination with other tropical products, can bring extra relief.
Herbal remedies are also available if you prefer non-medical approaches. Chapstick made with the herb lemon balm is soothing and, similar to petroleum jelly, seals the cold sore. A herbal combination known as WTTCGE (Wisteria floribunda, Trapa natans, Terminalia chebulae, Coicis lachryma-jobi, Ganoderma lucidum, Elfuinga applanata), also appears to reduce the amount of time you’ll suffer from a cold sore according to research from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Aloe Vera is often recommended for minor cuts, sunburns, and other skin issues. It may also be useful for cold sores. Dabbing aloe vera on your cold sore a few times a day may ease your discomfort and help speed healing.
If you know that a hot, sunny day at the beach or too much stress causes you to break out in cold sores, stay away from those situations whenever possible. You may be able to avoid cold sores, stop them in their tracks, or at least keep them from getting even worse.
Some potential triggers are:
- An immune system deficiency
- Colds or the flu
- Dental work or other mouth trauma
- Food allergies
- Sunlight or other exposure to UV light
Though cold sores cannot always be avoided, a good strategy is to treat them as soon as possible. Treating a cold sore in its earliest stage can result in a smaller sore that heals quickly. In the perfect world, a cold sore is stopped in its tracks, perhaps even before it becomes noticeable.
Comfort, Convenience, and Excellent Care at Alex Bratic
Alex Bratic Dental Care in Beenleigh delivers the very best in dental services to patients of all ages. If you, your child, or a family member needs a smile fix or just a checkup, we’re here for you!
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.
Call (07) 3287 2627 or visit us at 113 City Road in Beenleigh.