Cold sores are like uninvited guests: they appear when you do not expect it and stay too long. We explain what causes the annoying and sometimes painful blisters and what helps against it. Cold sores are blisters that are triggered by a virus on the lips, in the nostrils or around the mouth and are filled with infectious fluid.
They are triggered by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (short: HSV-1). The HSV-1 is ubiquitous. Experts estimate that about 95 percent of Germans are infected with it. The herpes simplex virus type 1 is a repeat offender: the cold sores return in 20 percent of Germans again and again. you can read also: ( cold sore causes home remedies ) by steptoremedies.com
The reason: The virus remains in the body for a lifetime and can - under certain circumstances - trigger a renewed illness at any time.
Cold sores develop when the virus is activated in the body. It is still not clear what causes this activation. It is known that the disease breaks out again when the agency already has to do with other infectious diseases.
The term cold sores (herpes febrilis) was coined, by the way, as their actual pathogen was still unknown, and the appearance of the blisters was often observed together with fever. Because they usually appear on the lips, they are also referred to as cold sores.
Reddened and swollen: characteristic of cold sores
Cold sores may appear singly or in groups of two or three vesicles - but only on the face. Anything that looks like a cold sore, but annoys other body parts, is not usually referred to as such.
But how do cold sores look like, The affected skin areas are usually red and raised, sometimes also inflamed or purulent? During the disease, the bladder fills with fluid. Once it has opened and emptied, it forms scabs. Also, the surrounding skin area is often swollen.
No wonder then that cold sores hurt when smiling, talking or touching. In some cases, they may even cause irritation and swelling of the gums.
If it tingles again: The course of the disease
1. The infected are still symptom-free. The virus is dormant or inactive in the nerve cells.
2. Itching or tingling around the mouth indicates that the virus has (again) become active and attacks skin cells. A burning feeling or an emotion of numbness can be heralds of the blisters. Important: Already now the first treatment steps should be initiated. The longer you wait, the longer the healing will take.
3. The herpesviruses multiply, and small red dots become visible.
4. Small bubbles form on the skin surface. Inside, a fluid that contains millions of highly infectious virus particles. Now the immune system comes on the scene: White blood cells are transported to the affected skin to fight the infection.
5. The bubbles open, the fluid with the viruses comes out. Caution: Because it is highly contagious, contact with babies, infants or immunocompromised persons should be avoided at this stage.
6. The open bladder dries up, scab forms on the wound. Underneath, the tissue slowly heals. Depending on the intensity of the illness, this phase lasts for seven to ten days. If the scab dissolves too early (for example through movement while speaking, smiling, drinking or eating), this delays healing.
7. Once the infection subsides, the virus has withdrawn from the skin and rests again in the nerve cells - until its next activation.
When the virus awakens: This activates the pathogen
Anyone who suffers from cold sores has usually infected at a young age with the herpes virus. For many infected people, it remains undetected for a lifetime - because it causes no symptoms.
However, about 40 percent of all Germans develop cold sores at least once in their lives. What activates the virus then, could not be proven to date. Experts believe that anything that weakens the immune system promotes activation of the virus. This applies, for example, to pathogens such as influenza or cold viruses.
Likewise, stress and in women, the menstruation as triggering factors (term: Trigger). Anyone who has to deal with cold sores should analyze more closely, which internal or external factors may weaken his immune system.
Please disappear quickly: treat cold sores
There are some treatment options for cold sores - for example, oral medications or applying to the affected areas.
some medications are used when the skin starts to tingle, others when the bladder has already formed. Some can be used at all stages of the disease.
For local application (local therapy) have creams or ointments with the following active ingredients proven:
Heparin in combination with zinc sulfate
For the best results, these ointments or creams should be applied at least three times a day (note the package leaflet) - even if no blisters are visible.
If the blisters often recur, or if the symptoms are particularly severe, systemic therapy (that is, with oral medications) may be necessary. Usually, the active ingredients aciclovir, famciclovir or valaciclovir are used.
Herpes patches are film-like patches which are coated with a unique active ingredient gel. They are designed to inhibit scab formation, prevent the spread of viruses and conceal the cold sores. Their effect, however, has not been proven by clinical studies to date.
Get lost quickly! It accelerates the healing
In the treatment of cold sores hygiene is the top priority, to prevent the spread of the affected areas and inflammation.
It should be avoided to prevent recurrence. Anything that strengthens the immune system prevents a new outbreak of the virus. These include above all a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, and regular active relaxation and exercise.