Everything You Need to Know About Cold Sores

For those of you who are fortunate enough to not have cold sores, chances are good you have seen one on someone else, as they are quite common. If you aren’t exactly sure what they are or what causes them, we can fill you in! what are cold sores

A cold sore is also known as a “fever blister”. Sounds painful, right? They are found on or near the mouth, caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus.

When people hear the word “herpes”, they usually think “sexually transmitted disease”. Cold sores are caused from virus type HSV-1, while genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. That said, HSV-1 can also cause genital sores and blisters.

It’s quite shocking, but according to the World Health Organization, 3.7 billion people under age 50 have herpes simplex virus type 1. That’s 67 percent of the global population in that age bracket! Although they can be embarrassing, and take a ding out of your self-confidence, just remember that you are not alone.

So, it goes without saying that they are highly contagious and remain in this state until they are completely healed. You risk transferring it even if someone else touches a surface that you have touched if your hands were not clean.

How Can You Minimize the Risk of Spreading Your Cold Sore Virus to Others?

  • Always wash your hands with soap and avoid touching the sores (unless you are applying cream – which of course you would wash your hands after)
  • Don’t share creams, cosmetics, other toiletry items, cutlery, straws, glasses, and the like
  • Avoid kissing and oral sex until sores are completely healed
  • Be extra careful when you are near newborn babies, pregnant women, or anyone with a fragile immune system
  • Use SPF to help prevent cold sores that may be triggered by the sun

It is also extremely important to note that you could also transfer this virus to your eyes. Just another reason why it is crucial to always have clean hands…especially if you have contact lenses.

How do you know that one may be coming on?

You may feel a tingling, burning or itching sensation.

How long do cold sores last?

In most cases, they clear up within 7 to 10 days.

Is there a way to speed up the healing process?

You will be able to find anti-viral creams at your local drugstore without a prescription that may help with healing. They should, however, be applied as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on to be most effective.

Should I reschedule my dental visit if I have an active cold sore?

To be extra precautious so that the virus doesn’t spread to other parts of your face or to a member of the dental team, it is in everyone’s best interest for you to reschedule your dental visit. Just be sure to let your dental clinic know as soon as you feel the cold sore coming on and not last minute, just before your appointment.

What about work and school?

You can still attend work and school when you have a cold sore. Remember, they are nothing to be ashamed of. You didn’t go out of your way to contract one.

Looking for a dental clinic in the Surrey area? We would love to have you and your family as new patients at Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry! Give us a call to book an appointment today!