Everyone has heard the dire warnings of strange illnesses caused by seemingly minor incidents. Cold sore sufferers are no different. Most have read about or been told directly of the need to be cautious during outbreaks for the fear of contracting an infection or spreading the virus. The most severe threats are rare but genuine. Here are some real-life examples of why it is important to take cold sores seriously.
Risk of Scarring
Scars are not a life or death issue but they do cause distress. No one wants a constant reminder of past outbreaks. Luckily, there are ways to avoid them and treatments that eliminate or reduce their appearance. Avoid scarring by not picking at the sore or getting medical assistance quickly if an infection is suspected. Laser cosmetic treatments and other non-invasive methods are available for scar removal.
Embarrassment of Whitlow
Herpetic Whitlow is an odd and uncomfortable condition that includes swelling, blisters and pain in the finger or toes. The skin condition is commonly known as “Whitlow finger” because this is where it is most often seen. It is caused by HSV-1 and is a good example of why it is important to not poke and prod cold sore blisters. Approximately 2 percent of the population worldwide experiences this problem each year.
Frustration of Symptoms
In a documented medical case a 65-year-old woman repeatedly visited her doctor complaining of an unbearable burning sensation in her mouth that would go away for a while and return for no discernable reason. Test after test revealed nothing. The stumped medical professionals included her primary care physician, a dentist and an oral surgeon. Finally, it was discovered that the woman had HSV-1. Her doctor tested her saliva and despite having no lesions throughout this ordeal it was revealed that extremely high levels of the virus were in her mouth. She was given an antiviral medication to reduce the problem and eliminate the pain.
Fear of Infection
Infected cold sores are not only a concern because of the potential for scarring. In some rare cases, it has led to death or near-death experiences. An encephalitis diagnosis on a 59-year-old man involved in a vehicle accident revealed why the man blacked out and flipped his truck. The infection was determined to have come from the cold sore virus. The man has since recovered suffering now from only some memory-related issues. However, it was months of experiencing extreme fatigue and flu-like symptoms before he felt healthy again.
Anguish of Loss
The most concerning reality are the dangers of exposing the virus to infants. In one incident a premature baby received a kiss from his loving father and died weeks later of multiple organ failures. The cause of the death was the HSV-1 virus. His delicate body was unable to withstand the infection. In another case, a very healthy twelve-day-old British girl also died in a similar manner. Her case began with a little fussiness and cold-like symptoms a day before.
The most severe incidents are unusual but they happen. The fact that the risk is there means that cold sore sufferers must be careful to avoid harming themselves or others. Knowing how to reduce the risk by staying healthy and eating right are both vital steps, as is owning and using a device like “The Inhibitor” to prevent cold sore outbreaks and the worries that come with them.