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  • Suffer from cold sores? When an outbreak hits, it can feel like all eyes are drawn to your face. But there’s no need to hide, we’ve got you.

Cold Sores

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Signs and symptoms of cold sores

Cold sores are blisters that form on and around the lips. You might get one or they can form in clumps. As well as not looking great, they’re often irritatingly itchy. Cold sores are caused by a herpes virus that infects the skin around the mouth. Most of the time the virus is dormant, and there are no signs it’s there, but every now and again the virus wakes up. And that’s when you get a new outbreak of blisters. The signs and symptoms of cold sores often happen in four main stages:
  • Stage 1: Skin tingling. You’ll likely feel a tingling of the skin a couple of days before the first cold sores appear. Sometimes you might feel itching, burning, or even shooting pains.
  • Stage 2: Blisters. Hard, painful spots appear, and these develop into small blisters filled with a clear fluid. They usually form around the edge of the lips and on the skin close to the mouth, but they can also appear around the nose, on the cheeks, on the lips themselves, and in the mouth. The blisters usually itch, they can be painful, and the area around them sometimes swells up too.
  • Stage 3: Leaking and crusting over. The blisters usually burst with the fluid inside oozing out. This can dry and form a hard crust over the affected area.
  • Stage 4: All clear. Over time the infection is cleared from the skin and the blisters heal. No scaring is usually left, or any other sign, although the virus will still be dormant in the skin.
Flu-like symptoms can also accompany an outbreak of cold sore blisters, especially when they occur for the first time. These symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Headaches
Like any infection, the signs and symptoms of cold sores can vary by person, and not everyone will experience the same ones. Cold sores can reappear at any time, but often the first outbreak is the worst. Over time outbreaks usually become less frequent and less severe.

What causes cold sores?

Cold sores are caused by an infection of a herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are different types of HSV, and the one that most often causes cold sores is called HSV-1, although the HSV-2 virus, which usually causes genital herpes, can also cause cold sores if it infects the skin around the mouth. Just the mention of herpes can sound scary and frightening, but herpes infections are common and widespread, with an estimated 67% of the world’s population aged under 50 thought to be infected by HSV-1. Both of the herpes viruses are highly contagious, and they usually infect people through skin-to-skin contact, such as kissing someone with cold sores. Once the virus is on someone’s skin, it can enter their body through an opening, like their mouth, and once inside it sets up residence in their cells. The virus copies itself and spreads through the infected area, causing the blisters to form on the skin. Your immune system fights the virus around the outbreaks, and eventually the blisters will clear up, but the virus isn’t eradicated entirely. It gets into the nerve cells in the skin around the infected area and it goes dormant, effectively hiding from the immune system and any treatments. It stays there for life, and it reactivates now and again, causing a fresh outbreak of blisters. Outbreaks can be triggered by:
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Another infection
  • Reduced immune defenses
  • Changes in hormones

How do our cold sore treatments work?

You can buy valaciclovir (also known as the brand name Valtrex) online from us if approved for a prescription. Valaciclovir is the active ingredient in Valtrex. It is an antiviral medication in the form of oral pills. FromMars provides valaciclovir as a daily suppressive treatment for patients who have already been diagnosed with herpes, to help lessen the frequency of outbreaks and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. Valaciclovir fights herpes simplex infections by stopping the virus from copying itself, slowing the spread of the virus through the skin cells and helping the immune system to clear the infection faster. It also reduces the severity of outbreaks, help to clear them up quicker, and reduces any pain and itching that accompanies the sores. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for herpes infections, but valaciclovir is a medically proven way to manage outbreaks of cold sores.

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