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What are cold sores? What are its causes and symptoms? How to prevent and treat cold sores?

Cold sores are painful blisters that are caused by virus. Cold sores are filled with fluid. They generally appear around the lips, nose or mouth. It is also known as fever blisters. These cold sores are sore, red and swollen. Colds sores have a tendency to recur in more or less the same place.
During first infection, there may be no symptoms at all, or there may be a fever and a sore mouth that clears up after 2–3 weeks. The virus often remains after the first infection. The virus travels away from the mouth using the nerves of the face as a pathway. When it reaches the clusters of cells at the end of the nerves (which are called ganglia), it stops. The herpes virus DNA then remains quietly in the ganglia. At a later date, herpes virus may travel down the nerves to the skin, causing a cold sore. The cold sore heals, and herpes virus retreats to the ganglion again. At a later date, herpes virus may travel down to the skin again, causing another cold sore (recurrence).

Causes of Cold Sores

– Cold sores are caused by a virus called Herpes simplex virus type 1.
– Cold sores is infectious and contagious that spreads from person to person through sharing utensils, razors, oral sex, towels and kissing.
– Low pH causes cold sores.

Cold sores can also be triggered by :
– Weak immune system
– Injury to the gums and lips
– Any kind of dental treatment or cosmetic surgery
– Fatigue and food allergies
– Mental stress and deep sadness

Symptoms of Cold Sores

– Mouth or tongue lesions and blisters in the mouth.
– Mouth ulcers and pain in mouth or tongue.
– Swelling on the lips and glands.
– Sore throat and difficulty in swallowing.
– Elevated body temperature.
– Dehydration.
– Nausea and headaches.
– Painful sores can be painful which makes eating, drinking and sleeping uncomfortable.

Prevention of Cold Sores

– prevention of triggers.
– Avoid skin contact with infected people.
– Usage of sun block and cleanliness and hygiene.
– Warm compresses or ice packs might prove effective to reduce the pain.
– Do not break or pinch the blister.
– Do not share any items, such as lip balm, utensils and towels.
– Keep your hand clean at all times and maintain personal hygiene.

Dietary considerations

– Avoid acidic and salty foods.
– Foods high in arginine such as chocolates, peanuts, grains, peas, seeds, oatmeal and whole-wheat are high in arginine should be restricted.
– Avoid tea and coffee.
– Eat vitamin A, C, E, zinc, iron and calcium rich diet.
– Eat fresh food with high antioxidants and high complex carbohydrates.
– Avoid processed food.
– Eat lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables.

Treatment of Cold sores

– Antivirals : Cold sore antiviral creams can shorten the duration of a recurrent infection if used properly.
– Over-the-counter medications : Their intended purpose is to relieve the symptoms of cold sores such as pain, itching, and burning.
– Apply ice to cold sores.
– Apply a tea bag which contains tannic acid to the area where a cold sore is forming because tannic acid possess antiviral properties.
– Coat a cold sore with petroleum jelly.
– Application of equal amounts of eucalyptus oil and bergamot oil, works wonders over the sore.
– Apply some aloe vera gel, to provide relief form itching, associated with cold sores.
– Lemon balm has antiviral properties.

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