What Causes Cold Sores?
Have you ever experienced developing small blisters around the mouth area after a visit to a dentist? No, it is not the procedure (whatever it may have been) that caused it.
Your local Dentist in West Palm Beach will tell you that it is likely cold sores. But what are cold sores anyway and what causes them?
More than half of us have already suffered these pesky blisters that often start with a tingling itch on the affected area, usually it is where the lips meet the skin. They can also appear, although very seldom, in the nostrils or along the philtrum, the crease right below your nose. On average, a person may get cold sores twice or three times in a year.
What causes them?
Primarily, a type of virus called herpes simplex (HSV-1) causes the sores. It is contagious although symptoms don’t immediately manifest. The virus may be passed on to you, stay inactive for a while and be triggered to become active later on. As mentioned above, that quick visit to your dentist could be a trigger factor but the following may also cause the virus to become active:
- An underlying illness or a number of infections.
- tress, fatigue and exhaustion.
- An injury on the skin where the blisters would eventually appear.
- Heavy exposure to the sun.
- In some women, their monthly period can trigger a dormant HSV-1 virus.
- Very cold or extremely hot weather.
There were some reported cases where the blisters were caused by HSV-2 or the herpes simplex virus type 2. If your overall health and body’s immune system is at its best, you may keep the virus in its inactive state even in the presence of trigger factors. However, once your system is down and you get sick, the virus could quickly be activated even by the slightest irritant.
How do you catch the virus?
- Direct contact with open cold sores or blisters. The fluid inside contains high presence of the virus.
- You may also get it by touching hands with someone who has touched the blister fluid.
- Sharing of personal belongings such as toothbrush, utensils or even cosmetics like blush on and lipstick.
Only when the blister has stopped oozing or has dried out and crusted will the spread stop. At this stage, it is no longer infectious. However, once you have become exposed to it, there is no fool-proof formula to stop or prevent cold sores from occurring since the factors that trigger them are almost always present in our lives.
- Here’s how you can reduce the instance of becoming infected or spreading the virus.
- Maintain good hygiene. Don’t share towels, cosmetic brushes or other items that comes into direct contact with the skin.
- Learn how to deal with stress.
- Live an active, healthy lifestyle to strengthen your immune system and be able to avoid cough, cold or flu.
- Keep your hands clean at all times. Wash with soap and water especially before touching your face.
In case you suffer from recurring cold sores and you have a scheduled dental visit, your West Palm Beach dentist is your best consultant on how to prevent an occurrence. No need to put up with these nasty blisters if your dentist can help you avoid them. Agree?