Top 4 Cold Sore Questions
As a health care provider, I am regularly asked questions about cold sores. There are four questions that I am asked the most (and would love to share my answers with you!). You will soon realize Joe Pill offers a fantastic solution to dealing with those pesky cold sores!
- What are cold sores?
- What causes cold sores?
- Why do I get cold sores repeatedly?
- How can I prevent cold sores?
Cold sores are a viral infection on the skin of the face, inside of the mouth and lips caused by the herpes simplex virus 1, otherwise known as HSV-1.
The biggest issue for affected patients is pain and discomfort from cold sores, but also the social stigma from the visible cold sores.
The lesions or “cold sores” can be painful and embarrassing but can also be life-threatening. Without proper treatment, the virus can be contagious and travel into the bloodstream and attack organs. Once a person has HSV-1 in their system, it stays hidden in their body and can erupt again. The HSV-1 “replicates” or makes an exact copy and spreads. Current treatment like valacyclovir or acyclovir are potent inhibitors of replication.
The HSV-1 virus can be transmitted skin to skin, through body fluids or by sharing food, utensils, cups and toys. It can be transmitted even if the person who has the virus has no symptoms at the time. It is most contagious when the fluid has burst from the lesion, but it is contagious from the first warning tingle to the complete healing—even after the sore has crusted over.
The first outbreak of the virus is called “primary outbreak” and it may involve these symptoms:
- Burning, tingling, pain or numbness at the site of the sore
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
After the first time, the infection is described as the “secondary outbreak.” It is usually not as painful as the primary infection, and may involve these signs and symptoms:
- A feeling of burning, itching or tingling, followed by redness around the sore
- Cold sores on the outer edge of the lips
- Cold sores around the same place as the primary infection
- Open sores that appear full of pus and then crust over
Patients who have secondary outbreaks can have many outbreaks yearly and should focus on identifying triggers that cause their cold sores:
- Certain foods (like nuts or seeds)
- Emotional or physical stress
- Illness (especially respiratory tract infections or colds)
- High temperature (fever)
- Lowered immune system
Environmental triggers can also cause cold sores to erupt, including:
- Severe hot or cold weather or sudden weather changes
- Injury to the face
- Prolonged exposure to the sun
While there is no cure for cold sores, there is treatment. Valacyclovir and acyclovir are both potent blockers of HSV-1 replication. The key with treatment – TIME! The faster the treatment is given, the virus has less time to replicate. Joe Pill takes a progressive approach to treating a difficult virus. Upon approval, a patient will receive 12 tablets of valacyclovir (enough to treat 3 outbreaks). Also, the patient will receive a compounded lip balm to treat HSV-1 promptly and effectively. As soon as a tingle occurs, the balm can be applied to prevent replication of the virus. The lip balm is designed just for you- a proprietary custom compound with antiviral prescription medication designed to heal your cold sore in record time! Joe Pill has taken a unique approach to solve a very inconvenient and unsightly cold sore infection.