Cold Sores are enough to spoil anyone’s New Year’s Eve Party – and once you have had one cold sore, they will continue to come back at various odd, inconvenient times during the year and continue to spoil other parties you may be planning.
Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus and there are two types of herpes simplex virus known curiously as type 1 and type 2.
Herpes simplex type 1 generally causes cold sores, and type 2 generally causes genital herpes but both types of herpes simplex can cause cold sores and both types can cause genital herpes.
Confusing isn’t it? And it gets worse!
Enough to say that cold sores can be spread by the infected person to other parts of their own body, or to other parts of other people’s bodies through contact with the cold sore, its fluid or through infected saliva.
Care is needed to avoid spreading the infection to partners and acquaintances, and it is useful to read our cold sores pamphlet which is available free of charge to our patients in-store. This pamphlet also contains useful information on avoiding trigger factors for those who get cold sores frequently, and this is also very important.
Typically there are four main stages to a cold sore.
- Tingle – Occurs from a few hours to 48 hours before the cold sore appears
- Blister – May last a few days
- Weeping – blisters burst and fluid weeps out
- Scab – the cold sore dries up leaving a scab which can be painful or itchy.
Treatment depends on where you are in the cycle, and it is best to treat as soon as possible.
Most people with recurring cold sores leave treatment until too late, until the blister appears or later.
Instead they should be ready with appropriate treatment to engage the infection in the earliest tingle phase, which reduces severity of attack and maximises treatment efficacy.
If you know a cold sore could ruin your party, come and speak to one of our pharmacists before it gets spoiled.
By Joe Demarte B.Pharm. F.P.S.
Lygon Court Amcal Chemist (03) 9347 6310