Almost everyone at some point in his or her life has had fever blisters. Its been found that up to 90% of the general population has had at least one episode in their lives. They are small painful sores that usually develop around the mouth. Another name for this is cold sores. In Ghana the common notion is that it means you have Malaria or you were almost going to have a very severe disease.
Today we are going to find out what exactly fever blisters are and what to do about it
What really causes Fever Blisters?
Fever blisters are also called Cold Sores or Herpes Labialis
Fever blisters are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are 2 types of HSV 1 and 2. HSV 1 usually causes cold sores whereas type 2 prefers the genital, though both can cause genital herpes. So now you know……it is not caused by fever at all but rather a virus.
What happens when I get the fever blisters?
Fever blisters can appear anywhere on your body but usually appear around your mouth (they usually show up at or near where they entered the body) as long as up to 20 days after you come into contact with the virus through kissing, sharing blades with someone who has it or any other thing that came into contact with the virus. It is also spread through oral sex.
It usually starts with itching over the area where the blisters will form, about 2 days later, the blisters may show up and can be very painful, they may break to show a yellowish or clear fluid which is highly infectious. After a few days the sores crust over and break off revealing new healthy skin. The whole episode can last about 7 to 10 days. First time infections may sometimes be associated with fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes around the neck and jaw.
Fever blisters are generally not serious but can be life threatening for immunocompromised people such AIDS patients
Can it come back after it’s gone?
Yes, because the virus does not leave your body and will lay dormant until certain factors trigger its re-emergence. Such factors include;
- Any fever causing disease
- A cold
What should I do when I have cold sores?
Let’s rather start from “what shouldn’t I do?” When the blisters appear protect others by avoiding kissing, not sharing items like blades, lipstick and balms, towels and any other thing that will come into contact with the sores. Avoid touching the sores and breaking the crusts, also do not have oral sores
Ok so my advice is cold sore are best left alone because they will heal by themselves, other treatment like antiviral drugs have not been proven to have to be very effective because you would need to take them before the blister appears. However, there are a few things you can do to relieve the pain such as applying cold compress (ice packs)