Cold Sores - What are they?
Uploaded by mumsa1 on Nov 29, 2011
Cold sores are highly contagious.
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What are cold sores?
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Advice & Support
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are caused by a virus called the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). It is impossible to prevent cold sores, but most cases are mild and clear up after a week or two. Thats said, many people find them unsightly and so those with cold sores can be self-conscious or even embarrassed about them.
Symptoms of cold sores include:
Blister-like lesions around the mouth
An accompanying sore throat
In children under five, where a cold sore develops this may be accompanied by a range of associated symptoms which can include:
Cold sores are usually passed on from one person to another through close contact, such as kissing. The sores are highly contagious and it is not uncommon for an entire family to develop cold sores after a family gathering, such as a wedding, birthday party or christening where relatives greet each other and part by kissing. It only takes one person infected with the herpes simplex virus in the group for the virus to spread. This is why; if you do have a cold sore (or several) it is best to avoid close contact with others unless your symptoms have completely cleared up.
Other possible causes of cold sores include:
An injury to the mouth
Sudden emotional upset (through being involved in a traumatic event or receiving bad news, for example)
Being under continual psychological stress – this can be as a result of having to reach a sales target at work, for example, or through worrying about family finances at home
Overwhelming tiredness and fatigue
Cold sores can also develop as a result of having oral sex with someone who has genital herpes.
Most people self-diagnose cold sores and are able to treat their symptoms with over-the-counter remedies. However, if you are particularly concerned about your cold sores, or you have several of them, arrange to see your GP.
After taking your medical history and asking you some questions about your cold sores and associated symptoms (such as, when did your cold sore(s) develop and how often do they occur…) your GP will examine the affected area. If your cold sores are particularly severe you may be asked to agree to a blood test in order for the diagnosis to be confirmed (i.e., that the herpes simplex virus is present and therefore the underlying cause of...