Cold Sores

According to researchers, about 80 percent of us have had a cold sore at one time or another. They’re ugly, they sting and they can ruin a date. People try everything to get rid of them. Stopping the spread is important.

Since he was a kid, Tom has dealt with cold sores. “They always felt like they stuck out like a headlight. You were always much more conscious of it than most people were,” says Tom.

Cold sores have cropped up on Karen’ lips for most of her 38 years… usually at the worst times.

Karen, “Sometimes when your mouth is broken out, people ask questions like, ‘What’s wrong with your lip?'”

The culprit is a chickenpox-like virus called Herpes Simplex One. Once you get it, it stays in your body.

“Generally it occurs for the first time in childhood or adolescence, and perhaps in young adulthood. That’s the initial attack. Then the virus remains dormant, could be for weeks or years,” Dr. Kerber says.

Several things can make cold sores pop up:

* Stress
* Fever
* Illness
* Fatigue
* Menstruation

For Tom, sunlight is the enemy. “I noticed, in the past, I get them from being out in the sun too much.”

To prevent spreading them:

* Avoid touching the sore,
* Don’t kiss anyone, and
* Wash your hands before touching your eyes or genitals.

It comes back in the same location, at the same spot, over and over again.

The bad news is most sores last about 10 days, and some people can get them up to 10 times a year. The good news: there are over-the-counter medications to treat the pain. Canker sores are different. They are not contagious and they occur in the mouth, whereas cold sores only erupt outside the mouth.

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