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Cold sores are symptoms of a contagious viral infection that is very common among the general population. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of adults worldwide carry the virus, whether or not they have ever manifested its symptoms.

Cold sores have three general stages.

  1.      For a day or so, an itching or tingling sensation is felt – typically around the lips.
  2.      The cold sores materialize and stay for several days.
  1. The sores eventually burst, leaving behind open sores which leak fluid, crust over, and then fade away.

The full process can take anywhere from two to four weeks.

The bad news is that like the common cold, there is no cure for this infection. The good news, however, is that there are ways to assuage your symptoms. Here’s what you can do:

-Try an over-the-counter cold sore cream like Abreva, rubbing alcohol, or even lip balm like Carmex to speed your recovery.

-Place an ice pack over the sores or apply a pain relieving cream to the sores to help with discomfort.

-Is your breakout is severely impacting your life, your doctor can offer further treatment.

Here are some tips on cold sore prevention:

-Cold sores tend to show up in the exact place where they appeared the first time, so pay particular attention to these areas.

-Sunlight exposure can trigger cold sores. Are you are going out in the sun for a time? Apply sunblock to your lips or other any areas where the cold sores usually appear.

-Stress or weariness can lead to cold sores, so get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and practice stress management techniques.

If you have more questions, you can call Gregg Balis DDS in Palm Desert, California at 760-610-0497. Dr. Gregg Balis and our dental team would be happy to serve you.