Are you suffering from blisters sprouting around the borders of your lips? The first step before calling us is to determine if they are caused by cold sores or canker sores!
It is important that you inform us every time you experience mouth sores so we can adjust and reschedule your dentist appointment to after they heal.
No worries, cold sores are very common! They usually heal in about 8 to 10 days; we’ll see you then!
Cold Sores Quick and Effective Treatment
Cold sores, sometimes known as fever blisters, are caused by 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.
Although we usually think of cold sores on the mouth, they can also break out on cheeks, nose, and eyes.
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 any 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, EK Dental Surgery has collected the following info on how to fight off, treat, and avoid transmission of cold sores.
Avoid cold sore ‘triggers’
Common triggers to avoid are:
- Fatigue or stress
- Infectious diseases
- Cold weather
- Extreme exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation
- Trauma due to dental work or injury
- Fever and upper respiratory infections
- Menstruation or other hormonal changes
- Influences that weaken the immune system (immunosuppressant agents, chemotherapy)
- Foods such as chocolate that contain high levels of the amino acid arginine
Everyone has slightly different triggers, so try to determine which things trigger you, and then avoid them as best you can.
Catching Cold Sores Early!
If you are prone to cold sores, you already know the symptoms. Unexplained tingling or itching around your mouth means that a cold sore is coming on. It is during this initial period that the virus that causes cold sores is most vulnerable, which is why early treatment is so necessary.
Catching and treating cold sores during the start of an outbreak won’t necessarily prevent a sore from forming, but it may reduce the severity and duration of the outbreak.
If you occasionally develop cold sores, you may find topical treatments useful. Some of these surface treatments include:
- Docosanol which is available over the counter (OTC)
- Acyclovir (by prescription only)
- Penciclovir (by prescription only)
If you suffer from frequent cold sores or would rather take medication orally, your doctor may prescribe one of the following:
In severe cases, antiviral injections may be recommended, but this is very rare.
If you are one of the unfortunate few who consistently suffers from cold sores, consider getting your prescription in advance, so it is ready to use at the very first sign of a cold sore eruption.
Dealing with Symptoms of Cold Sores
Dermatologists and dentists have many recommendations for dealing with symptoms once cold sores have erupted. Many of these recommendations may also shorten the period during which you suffer from cold sores.
- Manage pain: Consider ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce pain.
- Lysine (or L-lysine) is an essential nutrient that can be taken as a supplement or applied as an ointment to prevent and treat cold sores.
- Avoid foods that contain acid or spice. While you have a cold sore, avoid foods that contain acid or spice, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, and hot peppers. These can irritate the skin and increase your pain.
- Cool the sores: Place a cool, wet towel on the cold sores for about five to 10 minutes, multiple times daily.
- Pile up those pillows. Use pillows to prop your head up while you sleep, which will help to reduce swelling.
Minimising the Risk of Spread
You can help decrease the risk of the cold sore virus spreading by following these steps:
- Don’t touch your cold sore. Picking at it may extend the healing process or cause pain. Cold sores are contagious so if you accidentally touch them, don’t touch anything else, particularly your eyes. Wash your hands as soon as possible to avoid spreading it to another part of your body or somebody else.
- When applying a cold sore cream, creams should be dabbed on rather than rubbed in, as this can further damage your skin.
- Wash your hands before and after applying cold sore medication or after touching the affected area.
- Don’t share medication or cold sore creams as this can cause the infection to spread.
- Don’t share items that contact the affected areas, such as utensils of lipsticks. This also includes things you might not think of, like towels and pillowcases.
- Avoid kissing until your cold sores have completely healed.
- Be particularly careful around those with lowered immune systems, newborn babies, and pregnant women.
Reasons to Smile in Glen Waverley!
EK Dental Surgery offers a wide variety of preventative and cosmetic dental procedures for children, seniors, and everyone in between!
We are a team of dedicated dentists and staff working to provide the best care possible. At EK Dental we can help you achieve tip-top dental health and a movie-star smile!
EK Dental Surgery is conveniently located on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.
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To request an appointment with us, call us on (03) 9887 8787 or make an appointment online.
We are located at 230 Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.