What are fever blisters?
Fever blisters, also known as cold sores, are small blisters that are usually found on or around the lips. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is highly contagious and can be easily transmitted through contact.
Fever blisters are typically painful and can be unsightly, leading many people to seek ways to make them go away as quickly as possible.
What are the symptoms of fever blisters?
The symptoms of fever blisters can vary depending on the person, but some common symptoms include:
- Small, fluid-filled blisters on or around the lips
- Pain or tingling around the affected area
- Swelling and inflammation
- Fever or other flu-like symptoms (in some cases)
What causes fever blisters?
Fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Once you have been infected with the virus, it can remain in your body for life and can cause recurrent outbreaks of fever blisters.
The virus can be easily transmitted through contact with an infected person or object, such as a towel or utensil. Factors such as stress, a weakened immune system, or exposure to sunlight can trigger outbreaks in some people.
How can fever blisters be treated?
While there is no cure for the herpes simplex virus, there are several ways to treat fever blisters and help them heal more quickly. Some common treatments include:
- Antiviral medications: These medications can help reduce the severity and duration of fever blister outbreaks. They can be taken orally or applied topically.
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve pain caused by fever blisters.
- Topical treatments: There are several topical creams and ointments available that can help soothe pain and speed up healing of fever blisters.
- Home remedies: Some people find relief from fever blisters by using home remedies such as ice packs, aloe vera gel, or tea tree oil.
How can I prevent fever blisters?
While there is no surefire way to prevent fever blisters, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing them:
- Avoid close contact with people who have active fever blister outbreaks.
- Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
- Avoid sharing utensils, towels, or other objects that may be contaminated with the herpes simplex virus.
- Use a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from sun exposure.
- Avoid stress whenever possible, as it can trigger fever blister outbreaks.
When should I see a doctor?
If you experience frequent or severe fever blister outbreaks, or if you have other symptoms such as fever, it is a good idea to see a doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral medications or offer other treatments to help you manage your symptoms and prevent future outbreaks.
Fever blisters can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but there are several treatments available that can help you manage your symptoms and speed up healing. By following good hygiene practices and taking steps to reduce your risk of infection, you can help prevent future outbreaks of fever blisters.
Common questions about fever blisters
- Are fever blisters contagious? Yes, fever blisters are caused by a highly contagious virus and can be easily transmitted through contact with an infected person or object.
- How long do fever blisters last? Fever blisters typically last for 7-10 days, but the healing process can be accelerated with proper treatment.
- Can fever blisters be prevented? While there is no surefire way to prevent fever blisters, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding close contact with infected individuals.
- Do I need to see a doctor for fever blisters? If you experience frequent or severe fever blister outbreaks, it is a good idea to see a doctor who can offer treatments to help manage your symptoms and prevent future outbreaks.
1. “Herpes labialis.” American Academy of Dermatology Association, www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/herpes-simplex-types-1-and-2.
2. “Herpes Simplex Virus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Mar. 2019, www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/default.htm.
3. “Cold Sores.” American Academy of Family Physicians, 4 Aug. 2017, familydoctor.org/condition/cold-sores/.