Cold Sores Treatment
Cold sores are also known as Herpes labialis or fever blisters and are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). You may suffer from small blisters at the corner of your mouth. Along with the blisters you may have severe burning or pain over the site. The sores mostly heal over a period of 2 to 3 weeks. However many a times the herpes virus can remain dormant in the facial nerves and you may suffer from reactivation of the virus. Reactivation of the virus is common following periods of stress, debilitating illnesses, fevers, menstruation, sunburn or local skin trauma. Some people suffer from reactivation of the virus following surgical procedures like dental procedures, dermabrasion or neural surgery. Cold sores can be transmitted from one person to the other on coming in contact with the blistered skin. Most people get infected with the type 1 strain of herpes simplex virus. However in recent times infection with the type 2 strain is also becoming increasingly common.
There are several medications available for cold sores treatment. Since it causes a lot of pain and burning sensation, you may be prescribed certain topical applications which might help relieve your complaints temporarily. You may use topical anaesthetic agents containing Benzocaine, lidocaine or dibucaine which help to decrease the pain for a short period of time for as much as 20 to 30 minutes. If the pain is too much you may use oral medications containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Avoid local applications containing steroids like hydrocortisone. Local application of ointments containing allatoin, petrolatum and dimethicone helps to protect moisture and prevent cracking of the lesion.
Sun exposure can aggravate cold sores hence you may use sunscreen containing lip balms. Docosanol cream 10% decreases the healing time when applied locally. It can be applied four to five times a day over the lesion. Some people might be allergic to it and develop rash or itching at the site of application.
Topical preparations containing antiviral medications must be applied locally. Acyclovir or penciclovir both promote healing of the cold sores. However topical applications do not penetrate the skin very well and thus are not very effective to stop the viral replication. Acyclovir must be applied five times daily for around four days. Penciclovir cream can be applied every two hours for four days.
Oral antiviral medications are most effective for the treatment for cold sores. Acyclovir, Valacyclovir and Famciclovir are all very effective against herpes simplex virus. You must visit the doctor as soon as you can, as it is seen that antiviral medications started early in the course of illness are highly effective and must be started in the prodromal period of the ailment. It is not safe to use Famciclovir and Valacyclovir in children below the age of 12 years. In adults the dosage of Valacyclovir is 2 grams orally every 12 hours a day, Famciclovir is given as 1,500 milligrams orally for a dose. Acyclovir is given as 40 mg orally five times a day for a period of five days. Pregnant women and lactating mothers are advised to start treatment only with a doctor’s prescription. Most people tolerate these medications quite well, while some of you might complain of headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
I hope you enjoyed this article on cold sores treatment and you now know how to attack your cold sores before they get too bad.
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