Type 1 Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) may sound frightening but this contagious viral disease is better known as the virus that causes cold sores. This type of the virus is not considered an STD and it is incredibly common. The majority of people that carry the virus do not even realize they have it because they never develop cold sores. Others experience only a mild cold sore outbreak every few years. A percentage of people, for unknown reasons, have severe and frequent outbreaks. The appearance of a cold sore is not necessarily a sign that a doctor appointment is needed, but there are some signs that indicate additional help is necessary.
#1 – During the first outbreak.
Other skin problems can mimic the look of a cold sore. If someone has never had one before it is not uncommon for them to be unaware of what to expect. A diagnosis will determine if it is a cold sore. If so, the sufferer needs to be cautious to prevent spreading the disease to others. This is especially important for anyone that is frequently in close contact with infants because it can be life-threatening for anyone a few months old, or younger.
#2 – If outbreaks are frequent.
Take action when there are consistent outbreaks and outbreaks that include multiple sores at the same time. Investing in a tool like The Inhibitor is sensible because studies show that it helps to treat existing sores faster than any other method and it often prevents sores from developing when they are caught early.
#3 – If the immune system is compromised.
A weakened immune system puts the body more at risk for severe outbreaks and infection. Talk to a doctor about nutrition and skin care techniques to reduce the chance of additional outbreaks and watch the sores closely for any signs of infection.
#4 – If they spread to other areas of the face or body.
The fluid inside the cold sore blister contains the contagion that spreads the disease to others. It may also cause sores to appear on other parts of the body. The most serious is around the eye. This could lead to vision damage if not treated properly. Avoid touching cold sores and, if they are touched, wash the hands thoroughly before touching any other part of the skin. Herpetic Whitlow occurs when there is a cut on the finger and it becomes infected from touching the sore.
#5 – When a cold sore becomes infected.
Cold sores are caused by a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics. This does not mean they will not also develop a bacterial infection. It could be infected if the skin around the sore is red, warm and swollen or if the sore seems unusually painful. Cold sore treatments, even prescription medication, will not cure an infection.
Cold sores are so common it is easy to underestimate how uncomfortable they can be. In rare cases, if the condition is left untreated it could lead to a potentially deadly brain infection known as encephalitis. Even sores that are only mild to moderate in severity are problematic because they are embarrassing and unattractive. Anyone with this condition should take the concern seriously and learn more about identifying potential problems and halting the outbreak.