Fever blisters or cold sores are a common problem that everyone has seen at some point in their life. It is an annoying and unsightly cluster of blisters that is usually seen on or around the lips. Most people think they know all about these annoying blemishes, but there are many facts that may surprise them.
1. They are not caused by a fever or an illness.
They do not only appear when people are sick despite being commonly known as fever blisters or cold sores. They arrive more frequently during cold and flu season because a damaged immune system is not able to fight them off as easily as a healthy system.
2. They are very contagious.
Fever blisters are highly contagious unlike traditional blisters or a pimple. Something as simple as handling a towel previously used by someone with a cold sore could lead to contracting HSV-1, the virus responsible for the lesions.
3. Fever blisters and canker sores are unrelated.
The two lesions are completely different even though they often occur in the same area, look similar and feel similar. Canker sores only appear inside the mouth and are usually related to diet or an injury to the mouth. They are also not contagious.
4. Cold sores can spread to other parts of the body.
It is possible for a cold sore to appear on the face or anywhere on the body. Touching the sore and then another part of the skin could lead to this uncomfortable condition.
5. It is one of the most common infectious viruses in the world.
An estimated 4 billion people under the age of 50 currently test positive for HSV-1 around the world.
6. Cosmetic procedures like chemical peels could cause cold sore outbreaks.
Some cosmetic procedures can cause an outbreak even if the skin appears clear at the time of the treatment. Discuss the issue prior to the appointment with a doctor so they can prescribe an anti-viral medication as a precaution to reduce the risk.
7. Fever blisters can be deadly.
Most people will suffer no severe side effects from fever blisters. They can become life-threatening to infants, people with weakened immune systems and when an infected cold sore is ignored.
8. Medical treatments are not cures.
Doctors provide their patients with medication that will numb the pain and dry out the fluid faster. It only eliminates the sore a day or two earlier than it would go away on its own and it will not prevent future outbreaks.
9. It is possible to prevent some fever blisters from forming.
Fever blisters announce their impending arrival with a small tingle or burning sensation. During this period of time, it is possible to stop the blister from developing. Milk, ice and tea bag compresses may help. Reduce stress, stay out of the sun and eat a healthy diet. Purchase and use “The Inhibitor”. This is a device that uses a small electric charge to stop the blister in its tracks.