Photo Credit: lolostock / iStockphoto.com
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is one of the most common causes of viral infections in people. HSV-1 is the most common cause of cold sores. As many as 90% of Americans have been exposed to HSV-1 because it is highly contagious and easily transmitted in saliva when kissing, or sharing items like straws, forks or toothbrushes.
Some people are more prone to cold sores than others. Some people, though exposed to the virus, have never had a sore, or had only a few outbreaks during childhood. Others have ongoing episodes of cold sores throughout their lives.
This is because once you have been exposed to the virus it will stay stagnant in your body. When the immune system is weakened by infections, during menses or times of stress, the virus re-activates and causes an outbreak. While most infections are mild and resolve spontaneously within a week, infants and people with a very weak immune system (i.e. HIV or cancer patients) can suffer serious complications from HSV-1 infections.
They’re unsightly and painful, but fortunately there are a few things you can do to treat them. Read on to learn how to get rid of a cold sore and keep it from coming back.
1. Don’t Touch!
First and foremost, if you have an outbreak avoid touching the blisters to prevent them from spreading around your mouth or to other parts of your body.