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Tackling stubborn cold sores

Main image 1 May, 2018

Cold sores are the painful and annoying blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus that form on and around the lips and mouth. 

If you suffer from cold sores you’re not alone – around six in ten people carry the virus, many without knowing they have it.  

There’s no singular known trigger, however common causes tend to be things like stress, menstruation, strong sunlight, fatigue, fever, cold, flu or infection.   

What it means is that cold sores tend to appear when they are least welcome – if you know the feeling of that familiar tingling, here’s a few ways to manage your symptoms. 

Recognising the early signs of cold sores

Learning to recognise the early signs and symptoms of a cold sore is your best defence against them – most medicated creams have a small window of opportunity to have a positive impact so it’s crucial to recognise when a cold sore might be about to come up from below the surface.  

Treatments and remedies for cold sores

Cold sores usually heal without any other intervention between 7 to 10 days, but with such a visible ailment, we’re often keen to speed up the healing process. 

There are dozens of reliable antiviral creams available over the counter without prescription at your local chemists, and when used properly can help ease symptoms and speed healing.  

For them to have an impact they need to be caught in the early stages – once a blister has formed, most creams will have little effect.

Cold sore patches are another popular treatment and have the advantage of hiding the sore while it heals. These small, transparent patches contain hydrocolloid gel that will help treat the sore and protect it from the environment.

When to see your GP

If you or your child has been infected for the first time, book an appointment at YourGP to see one of our family doctors.

Children under five often display flu-like symptoms when they first catch the virus – known as the primary infection. If your child has swollen and irritated gums with small, painful sores in and around the mouth, they may have herpes simplex gingivostomatitis. Sore throat, swollen glands, high temperature, headaches and dehydration are all also common symptoms.    

In rare cases cold sores can lead to other complications that need the care and attention of a physician – if after ten days your cold sore stubbornly refuses to heal or is showing signs of infection, book an appointment with us to get it checked out.

To book an appointment at our private clinic in Edinburgh to discuss cold sores or any other concerns, use our online booking form or contact us by phone or email.

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