Nothing can ruin a holiday celebration quite like a cold sore. Cold sores are painful blisters that appear on the lips, making it difficult to smile, talk, brush your teeth, eat, and more. Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by a virus known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Approximately 90% of all people will have at least one cold sore during their lifetime. Once a person has had the herpes simplex virus, the virus will remain dormant in the body. It can reactivate at any point during a lifetime.
Cold sores are highly contagious, and they can be spread through direct contact or by sharing items that touch the mouth. Kissing, sharing food, sharing chapstick, and sharing other cosmetics should be avoided altogether.
People commonly know that a cold sore is coming because they can feel symptoms early on. A sore spot, with or without redness, is a typical sign that a cold sore is going to pop up. These spots generally turn into a painful blister, often splitting open and oozing. A yellow crust will usually build up over the cold sore and eventually fall off. Once the scab falls off, new skin will be revealed, and the cold sore will be gone. Some people are left with a scar or discoloration on the lip where the cold sore was.
Many people find that certain triggers bring on an outbreak for cold sores. Common triggers include:
- Hormonal changes (e.g., menstruation)
- Allergy season
- Eating certain foods
- A cold or flu
If you suffer from recurring cold sores, Dr. Jamie Weisman at Medical Dermatology Specialists can help diagnose the contributing factors for this issue. Please contact us today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM