If you find clusters of little blisters on your lip and around the mouth, those may be cold sores, also known as fever blisters. Generally, the skin around the blisters can feel sore and look inflamed. They often break open, ooze a clear fluid, and then form a scab. Although they usually vanish in several days to two weeks, they can be unpleasant and be a source of embarrassment for many people.

Why do I have cold sores?

Cold sores are due to the herpes simplex virus or HSV. There are two kinds of HSV, and these are HSV-1, which is responsible for it, and HSV-2, which causes genital herpes. Either kind, however, can create sores on the face or the genitals. The HSV gains access to the body via a break in the skin around or inside the mouth.

What symptoms can I expect?

There are times when people have the virus but do not show any symptoms, but they can still be contagious to others. For people who do have symptoms, they usually go through several stages. It will start as a burning sensation around their lips for a few days before the sore blisters crop up. The blisters contain fluid and they usually break after a few days. The small blisters may join together and then break, leaving shallow open sores which may ooze clear fluid. These sores will then crush over. Apart from the lesion, someone who has it may experience pain around the mouth and on the lips. Some also experience fever, a sore throat, or swollen glands in the neck or other parts of the body. Infants commonly drool before it appear.

Are cold sores contagious?

Yes, they are. They are spread via direct contact like when a person touches a fever blister through kissing. Oral sex can also transmit HSV-1 to the genitals and HSV-2 to the lips. It can also be contracted through indirect contact like when you share eating utensils, razors, and towels with someone who has an active lesion.

How to get rid of it

The HSV that produces cold sores can not be cured, but treatment can reduce their severity and frequency. There are various treatment options available for example creams, ointments, and sometimes even antiviral tablets or capsules. Generally speaking, oral medications are far better than creams. In extreme infections, antiviral drugs may be administered intravenously. These treatments will help eliminate your cold sores sooner and help less unsuccessful symptoms.