How Are Cold Sores Treated?
Many people mistake cold sores for being caused by a cold or flu. Cold sores, rarely referred to as fever blisters, are outcomes of the Herpes Simplex Virus- better referred to as HSV. There are two main types of this virus; HSV-1 and HSV 2. HSV-1 is the version responsible for cold sores. Cold sores are blisters formed around the mouth area and sometimes on the cheeks, lips, and chin of a person infected with HSV-1. Herpes Simplex Virus is a prevalent and contagious virus commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse and other body fluids that may include saliva. Infections through saliva are often for those infected with cold sores. In such situations, kissing, sharing spoons, and towels or sharp objects with an infected person gets you infected with the virus. This, therefore, calls for particular care when interacting with HSV carriers. However, it does not mean that you treat them different or in an unpleasant manner. Avoid stigmatization.
Cold sores are so common that almost ninety percent of people has had them like once in their lives. The symptoms of cold sores are not severe in adults as they usually are in kids or ill patients. If you suffer from a chronic disease and see cold sores on your face or other body parts, it is essential to treat it as a life-threatening situation; only because it is. Chronic illnesses like AIDS, TB, Cancer and more are known to feed on your immune system, leaving you weak. Therefore, the appearance of foreign bodies on your body, like cold sores, becomes a typical red flag, hence, should be sorted with immediate effect. Once cold sores infect you, there are higher chances of never getting them again. This is because when they first occur, your body may develop antibodies that will prevent a recurrence of the condition in the future. A good number of adults, however, end up getting cold sores again. If you get a cold sore, do not feel hopeless as there are several ways of treating them. However, laser treatment is arguably the best way forward, mainly for adults, when it comes to treating the sores.
Ways of Treating Cold Sores
Like most viruses, HSV does not currently have a known cure, but there exist a couple of methods of controlling the outcomes and a couple of preventive measures. Most victims may not even show symptoms of the virus, meaning that a number of these people may not be aware of the presence of HSV in their bodies. In this case, the virus is present but inactive. Others may be aware but may not speak of it since they are lucky enough to not show visible signs of the infection such as cold sores. It all depends on your body mechanism. If you get cold sores, have a certified specialist test to confirm the condition. The recommended way to test for HSV is getting a blood test to check for its antibodies. If there is the presence of cold sores, a doctor may examine the blisters or take the culture from them for thorough testing.
Once cold sores appear, you can use any of the below methods to treat them. These do not guarantee lifelong clearance, but they do help clear up the cold sores in about 4 to 7 days of use. It is important to note that using medication to clear cold sores delays their recurrence. If you typically get cold sores after every four months, medicine can keep them away for six months to one year (depending on your immune system).
- Drinking a lot of fluids on a regular basis; taking plenty of water helps prevent infections hence, keeping the virus inactive.
- Use over-the-counter antiviral creams to speed up healing
- Use ice bags or cubes to reduce the swelling, which, in turn, helps the sores clear up
- Apply peppermint oil on the wounds. It has methanol, which helps with healing
- Get laser treatment from a certified surgeon
How Laser Treatment Works and Its Benefits
Treating skin conditions like warts and sores using light treatment has been one of the most recommended ways of clearing the skin. Using laser treatment to get rid of sores can take as little as 2 to 5 minutes, and it’s all done. A specialist heats up the infected area using laser equipment until the cold sores disappear. During or immediately after this procedure, the patient may feel some heat on the treated region. It is not burning type of heat; just deep unordinary warmth. The solution is cooling the area for only a few seconds, and the heat sensation disappears. During the heating, the doctor will hold the laser from the patient’s skin and heat it carefully to avoid scarring of the skin.
Cold sores are usually very uncomfortable and quite painful, but the laser procedure does not cause any soreness whatsoever. It is quick and offers fast results.
How Often You Should Get Laser Treatment
Everything that happens to your body is reliant on your immune system and body mechanism. People react differently to varying treatment methods. As much as laser treatment is a highly recommended method, it does not mean that the cold sores are gone forever. If the HSV was inactive in your body, then sigh away since cold sores have a minimal chance of recurring. However, note that the virus is not out of your body; the lasers have only cured the sores, not HSV.
So, the frequency of the laser treatment is not specific, but the recurrence of the condition will not be as much as when using other methods. The use of laser treatment twice or thrice may get rid of the sores permanently.
When cold sores spread to other parts of the face like the eyes, they may cause vision impairment. Therefore, to avoid cold sores spreading or affecting your body in life-threatening ways, contact the nearest skin specialist in your area.
Would you like to get more information on the recurring cold sores on your body and how to laser them out? Dr. Marc Lazare is here to answer your questions and help you come up with a long-term solution. Dr. Lazare is a general and cosmetic dentist who specializes in cold sore treatments in New York. For consultation or a laser treatment appointment, contact Dr. Marc Lazare at 646-846-2465.
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** Note: This is a collaborative post.