Cold sores are undoubtedly uncomfortable and annoying, but they’re also exceptionally common. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost half of the adult population of the United States has HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores. Keep reading to get more information from our Elmhurst dentists.
Many people will experience an onset of symptoms shortly after contracting the virus—this is called “primary herpes,” and for some people this will be the only observable outbreak they ever have. Keep in mind, however, that the virus is still present in the patient’s body, so the patient should still take proactive measures to keep from spreading it.
Other people will experience recurrent symptoms, usually individual cold sores, periodically after the initial outbreak. Cold sores most frequently appear on a patient’s lips; however, it is possible for them to develop on other areas of the face, including the chin, inside of the nose, and the cheek.
There are certain factors that can trigger cold-sore development:
- Increased stress
- Hormonal changes
- Illness, such as cold or flu
- Sun exposure and sunburn
When you have an active cold sore, it is best to let it run its course with minimal interference. You absolutely do not want to pick at the lesion, as this can lead to scaring and delay the healing process. Try using over-the-counter creams as well as ice to keep the swelling down and numb sensitive skin.
While you have an active outbreak, you want to be especially careful not to spread HSV-1.
- Refrain from kissing
- Do not share drinks or utensils
- Wash your hands frequently
- Try not to pick at the sore
At Scharfenberg Dental, our Elmhurst dentists can help you make a plan to deal with cold sore development. Please give our office a call, or use the Contact Us page on our site to reach out to our team!