Cold sore is also referred to as fever blisters. This is a common form of viral infection which consists of small, blisters that are usually filled with fluid and are formed near the lip area. The blisters are usually found in clusters and usually form a patch like appearance.
When the blisters burst, a hard surface is formed over the sore. Cold sores usually subside within a month and in most cases do not leave a scar in the affected area.
Cold sores are most commonly caused by the virus Herpes simplex. Majority of people have an exposure to this virus till 5 years of age. The virus only becomes active in case if someone contracts the virus in circumstances wherein the body is tired or immunity is low. The infection then appears in the form of a cold sore.
Prevention of having cold sore is possible and certain precautions can help stop the spread of the disease. Foods that contain amino acid like lysine helps in boosting the immune health whereas foods that contain high levels of arginine such as chocolate and nuts should be avoided as arginine may predispose development of cold sores. In order to stop the spread of the disease it is important to avoid sharing personal belongings such as toothbrushes, towels, drinking glasses etc.
Certain home based remedies help in promoting fast healing of cold sores. These include some over-the-counter medications such as hexetidine based oral gargle. Certain pain relieving creams such as lidocaine cream may aid in providing relief for pain. Also, cold compress may help reduce redness.
Cold sores can be treated with antiviral therapies such as Acyclovir, an antiviral that has proven to be efficacious against the herpes simplex virus. Oral administration of Acyclovir is highly effective, however, its topical administration is found to be less therapeutic. A recent development is the use of hydrocolloid patch which helps in the healing of the blister by providing a moist environment to the sore.