Current research from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly half of adults in the United States have HSV-1, or the herpes simplex virus. HSV-1 is the underlying cause of cold sores, also known as fever blisters.
So, while cold sores can absolutely be annoying, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, they are not something to freak out about! These common lesions may pop up from time to time, but they can be managed. Keep reading to get more information from our Glendale dentists.
Some HSV-1 carriers will experience an initial oral herpes outbreak shortly after they contract the virus, but then they’ll never show symptoms again. Other people will experience recurrent episodes of HSV-1 symptoms: cold sores, small blisters, and/or sensitive oral tissues.
There are certain triggers that can prompt HSV-1 symptomology:
- Increased stress
- Other illnesses, like a cold or the flu
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Sun overexposure
In order to minimize your risk of outbreaks, and to deal with existing sores, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Limit triggers: for many people, this means wearing SPF, and minimizing sun exposure, as well as incorporating stress-reduction measures into their daily lives. Keep track, in your own life, of what cold sores are most likely occur—this will help you better understand your own triggers.
- Use topical treatments to minimize discomfort: over-the-counter creams replenishes your skin and helps to numb the area. Aloe Vera gel can also be aid healing, and sooth sun-damaged lips.
- Ice the area: periodically icing the outbreak will lessen swelling and numb sensitive skin. Try wrapping ice in a soft compress for further comfort.
- Refrain from skin-picking: we know it’s hard, but try to leave your lesions alone as they scab over and heal. Picking at the sore will only delay healing, and it can lead to scaring. Plus, you risk spreading the infection to other people when you disrupt the cold sore.
If you are dealing with cold sores or blister outbreaks, you can always contact our Glendale dentists to learn more about how you can manage HSV-1. We are here for you!