Cold Sores

cold sores are highly infective ulcers which are caused by herpes simplex virus. These ulcers can recur under compromised immune state. health professionals should be careful in dealing with active cases as they are the source of spread of infection. But these ulcers are preventable and can be symptomatically managed.

Cold sores also are known as “fever blisters” caused by herpes simplex virus. Among the types of herpes virus HSV 1 is known to cause cold sores but, in some instances, HSV 2 can also cause cold sores. The most common site of its occurrence is the labial mucosa. These are highly contagious in nature and once the person is infected with the herpes virus, it remains in the body for a lifetime. Most of the times, this virus remains in its dormant stage but shows clinical manifestation only when it gets triggered. The most common triggering factor is the disturbance in the immune system.

Clinically these blisters are preceded by prodromal stage, where the manifestations are in the form of fever, malaise. This is followed by the appearance of groups of fluid-filled blisters. Later these blisters get rupture to form ulcers. During the stage of blisters and ulcers, they are highly infective. The ulcer then gets into crust formation indicating the healing stage. Once the crust is formed such lesions are not infective.

Management:

This includes symptomatic approach as these lesions are self-healing. One should be cautious with the complications.

Prevention of cold sores:

Avoid close contact with the persons infected with herpes virus.

One should not kiss or touch the person with cold sores when they are manifesting with blisters and ulcers.

When the health professionals come in contact with such cases, always use appropriate personal protective measures.

Maintain healthy lifestyle so that a good immune system can prevent the recurrence of cold sores.

Author: Dr Ramya Bilagi

BDS, MDS (community dentistry). My passion for blogging is due to my husband. Assistant Professor SDM dental college Dharwad, Administrator Jeevan Jyoti Hospital Hubli.

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