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Home / Cold Sores

Cold Sores

Cold sores are a very common facial infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Cold sores are red fluid filled blisters which appear on the face, typically around the mouth. This virus is highly contagious and the majority of people with the infection contracted it when they were very young, with the first cold sores not appearing until after puberty.

Cold sores are very uncomfortable and take a long time to heal. But there are effective anti-viral cold sore treatments, such as Famvir, which can speed up your recovery time and soothe the painful symptoms.

What causes cold sores?

Cold sores are usually caused by the HSV-1 strain of the the herpes simplex virus, although infections from HSV-2 can be contracted through oral sex. Not everyone who has the virus will show symptoms right away, and some may be lucky enough not experience symptoms at all. Like other forms of herpes, this virus cannot be cured; it lies dormant in your body where it can be reactivated in future to cause a further outbreak of cold sores, which in turn can be treated with cold sore treatments.

How could I have caught the virus?

The virus is easily transmitted through contact with an area of skin where symptoms are active, usually through kissing. Most people catch the virus when they are children, between the ages of three to five, although adults can also catch it easily. The best way to avoid spreading infection is to avoid close facial contact if you have active symptoms, although symptoms are not always easily noticeable.

What are the symptoms?

While everyone reacts slightly differently to the virus, the first signs of an outbreak are typically an uncomfortable itching, tingling, or a burning sensation on their face. This is usually the prelude to an outbreak, which may appear a day or two later.

Typical cold sores appear as small, fluid-filled, reddish or purple blisters around the lips or corners of your mouth. These blisters then tend to merge, before collapsing to form a yellow coloured crust. This normally heals without scarring with two weeks. The first outbreak is the most painful, with later outbreaks usually being less severe and uncomfortable.

What triggers an outbreak of cold sores?

It’s not exactly understood what causes the virus to become active again and produce symptoms. It’s thought that factors which weaken your immune system are largely responsible. The following factors could all increase your likelihood of experiencing an outbreak:

  • Fever
  • Common illnesses, such as a cold
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Injury to the mouth
  • Exposure to sunlight or UV light
  • Exposure to cold weather
  • Pregnancy or hormonal changes, such as menstruation

Cold sore treatments

Although the virus that causes cold sores cannot be cured, a number of cold sore treatments can help to reduce the painful symptoms, and help your body to recover more quickly from the infection. Creams such as Zovirax and Denavir can be used to directly soothe the cold sores symptoms, if used regularly.

There are also prescription oral medications which can speed up your recovery time. These are perhaps the most convenient treatment options, as they are only taken for one day, ideally as soon as you feel or notice symptoms. There are two popular oral treatments for cold sores:

Valtrex - This anti-viral medication soothes cold sore symptoms and improves recovery time by one to two days. Take two 500mg tablets as soon as you experience the first symptoms, and then take a second two tablets 12 hours later to complete treatment.

Famvir - This powerful anti-viral medication can speed up your recovery by two days on average, while soothing the painful symptoms. Simply take three 500mg tablets as soon as you notice or feel the symptoms to complete treatment.

Buying cold sore treatment online

Onlineclinic offers anti-viral cold sore treatments with next day delivery, so that you can fight the symptoms as soon as possible. We offer a free online consultation with every order, so that your chosen medication can be prescribed correctly. When complete, your consultation will be examined by one of our doctors, who will issue a prescription only if your medication is right for you. Your order will then be dispatch from our pharmacy for overnight delivery.

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