When people hear the word ‘herpes’, the first thing they think of is the STD that causes genital sores. There are actually two different strains! One is what causes genital sores, and the other one causes cold sores. Is a cold sore herpes? It is, but it is not the same type as genital herpes.
Everyone is born with the herpes simplex virus in their bodies. It is called HSV-1. This is the strain that causes cold sores. About 50-70 percent of the population get at least one sore in their lifetime, including children.
About half of those people get keep getting cold sores in the same spot. They may get as little as one a year, and some people get them multiple times a year. There is really no medical reason for why the frequency differs so much in people, but there are ways to treat them so that you don’t have to suffer as long when they do appear.
What Causes Cold Sores?
The HSV-1 causes cold sores. Millions of people are born with the virus, although it doesn’t appear in some people. There is no known reason for this, and unfortunately there is no medical cure for the virus.
When you get a cold sore, or fever blister as they are sometimes called, the virus appears as a spot on you lip or an area of skin around your mouth. It can even appear on your nose. The virus travels in one nerve in your face. This is why, if you get recurrent sores, they always appear in the same place.
The virus lays dormant in your nerve, and only ‘awakens’ when something triggers it. The cold sore trigger varies from person to person, so it is important to watch for what is happening around the time that you get the sore. That way you can try to avoid it.
Is a Cold Sore Herpes Virus Contagious?
Because it is a virus, cold sores are highly contagious. Just like with any other ailment that has symptoms with blisters that can open, such as chicken pox or poison ivy, when someone else comes in contact with the fluid from the blister the virus can easily spread.
After coming into contact with an infected person (by kissing or sharing cups, etc.), you may not have any symptoms at all for up to 20 days. It can also be transmitted by sharing hygienic items, such as razors and towels.
When you are living with other people, it is imperative that you keep anything that you use away from things that other people use. Items like toothbrushes, make-up, etc. are things that are often overlooked.
Besides person to person transfer, you can also spread the virus to another part of your lip or face. This happens when the pus comes out of the sore, and is spread to another area. The best way to avoid this is to heal the blister as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of a Cold Sore
Most cold sores have an average lifetime of 7 to 12 days. There are different stages of cold sores. The first stage is when you should start treatment for the sore. This is when you feel a tingling sensation on the spot. Some people feel a burning sensation, and others feel nothing at all, only a little red dot on their lip.
If you treat the spot before it becomes a blister, you will shorten the duration by at least half. There will be no pus or crusting over of the blister.
There are hundreds of over the counter products that you can buy that promise to rid you of your cold sore almost immediately. These are false promises. The fact is, you cannot get rid of a fever blister immediately. You can, however, relieve the pain and severity of the sore. You can also lessen the duration drastically.
Although not many, there are a few products that are FDA approved. By the FDA’s approval, you can be sure that the product is safe to use, and will be effective.
Abreva Cold Sore Gel
Abreva is widely regarded as the best cold sore treatment. The FDA has approved this treatment, to lessen the severity and shorten the time it takes to heal. Because it is FDA approved, you can be certain that it is safe to use.
Also an FDA approved treatment for fever blisters, Abreva starts to work immediately after application. One of the ingredients in it is Docosanol. This is a very powerful medicine that will stop the fever blister from growing.
Of course, the best time to use it is when you notice the first symptoms. If you have never had a cold sore before, you probably won’t be aware of what the tingling sensation on your lip is. No matter what stage the sore is in, Abreva will be able to stop the virus from growing.
You should never try to hide the sore with makeup. It will only make things worse, and will make the sore last a lot longer.
Fever blisters are not the best thing to have to try to deal with. They are painful from start to finish, and they are highly embarrassing. Anyone that has never had a cold sore before will think that you have ‘that disease’, and will avoid you. Not to mention the looks that you get.
Much like the different many other viruses, such as the flu, there are different strains. They may have similar symptoms, but are usually treated differently. In answer to the question Is a cold sore herpes?, yes it is. It is not the sexually transmitted virus, though. HSV-1 is a very common virus, and it is easy to treat.