Cold Sores Informational Guide

Cold sores are caused by a strain of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) that will remain dormant in your system for the majority of time. An outbreak can sometimes be triggered, with fluid-filled blisters forming around the mouth area. Uncomfortable and sometimes painful, whilst there is no cure, cold sores are completely manageable with the right medication.

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  • Reduces symptoms in 2 days
  • Lessen outbreak duration
  • For genital herpes, cold sores and shingles
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  • Reduces symptoms in 2 days
  • Lessen the length of outbreak
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What are cold sores?

Cold sores (labia herpes) are a common and contagious condition that appears as small fluid-filled blisters on the lip or around the mouth. These are caused by the herpes simplex virus and tend to clear up within seven to ten days without treatment. If your case of cold sores doesn't clear up within this time, clinically proven medication may be required to heal this condition. When you first become infected with herpes simplex virus, symptoms aren't always noticeable at first. An outbreak of cold sores is likely to occur some time after becoming infected with this virus.

When cold sores begin to form you will feel itching / tingling / burning sensation around the infected area (the mouth). The fluid-filled sores will then appear around your mouth, likely on the edges of the lower lip. In order to successfully diagnose cold sores a qualified doctor will simply examine the cold sore or take a swab from them, which is then examined in a laboratory.

What are the causes of cold sores?

Cold sores are highly contiguous, passing through skin-to-skin contact – kissing - as well as sharing implements such as toothbrushes, razorblades and kitchen utensils, all whilst the infection is active. Once contracted, there can be certain triggers such as:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Lowered immune system
  • Injury to the affected area
  • High and low temperatures (fever)
  • Stress and other psychological factors
  • For women, hormonal changes in her cycle
  • Strong sunlight
  • For women, hormonal changes in her cycle, i.e. menstruation
  • Having another infection, e.g. a respiratory tract infection
  • Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), especially when having oral sex with an individual who has genital herpes.

What are the symptoms of cold sores?

It is common not notice any symptoms when you first become infected with herpes simplex virus, however when the first outbreak comes, it is often the most severe. Recurrent infections will be far more manageable. Symptoms can vary between adults and children, as well as in recurrent infections.

In children, the primary infection can include a sore throat and swollen glands, high temperature, nausea, headaches, irritated gums and possibly dehydration.

The primary infection in adults are rare, however expect very similar symptoms including a sore throat and swollen glands. In adults, the first herpes simplex virus may involve ulcers and sores as well as bad breath as well.

Recurrent cold sore infections usually last for a shorter time, between 6-10 days, and are controllable. Before you witness the fluid-filled blisters, you will notice a tingling and/or burning sensation on and around the infected area for 1-2 days. The blisters will usually be visible for 2-5 days. The ulcer(s) will then burst revealing an open sore, which can be painful, however this will only last for around 1 day before scabbing and ultimately healing a week and a half later.

How to prevent an outbreak of cold sores

The best way to prevent the herpes simplex virus is to avoid contact with the infection, however if you have already contracted HSV-1 there are simple ways to manage it. Whilst the frequency and unpredictability ranges from person to person, you can follow these methods to successfully prevent an outbreak of cold sores:

  • Avoid spreading the virus further through limiting the contact when the infection is active
  • Monitor your triggers to cut down on the amount of outbreaks
  • Washing your hands after touching a cold sore
  • Use sun cream on your face and lips when exposed to the sun
  • Avoiding kissing an individual with a cold sore
  • Avoid picking at any cold sores you have to stop the virus spreading to other areas of the body
  • Keep to a healthy diet and exercise plan to improve your lifestyle
  • Get enough sleep to avoid tiredness

How to treat cold sores

Whilst there isn't an official cure for herpes simplex virus, effective treatments are available that can stop the spread of the virus and speed-up recovery. Antiviral creams, such as Zovirax can be applied to the cold sores five times a day on a daily basis to ease the symptoms of this condition.

Alternatively, antiviral medications like Valtrex, Famvir and Aciclovir can be taken in the form of tablets to relieve and treat cold sores symptoms as soon as they appear. These prescription treatments treat the virus directly in order to improve recovery time. These oral medications should be taken within 48 hours of an outbreak for maximum effectiveness when treating cold sores.

With our next day delivery service for all of the medications we offer, you will have your medication before the worst of the symptoms appear.

How to buy cold sore treatment online

You can buy effective and clinically proven treatments for cold sores, including Valtrex, Famvir and Aciclovir here at HealthExpress after completing a quick and confidential online consultation form. This consultation will include questions regarding your medical history, in particular which, if any, medications you are currently taking. This online consultation is reviewed by one of our partner doctors who will then approve your order if they deem your selected medication as suitable for your particular set of requirements when treating your case of cold sores. Once approved, you will be provided with a prescription. This prescription is then sent to our UK pharmacy who will then package and dispatch your chosen antiviral medication for delivery to the address you've allocated.

Your chosen medication will be delivered via our next day delivery service. All of the treatments we provide are delivered in plain and discreet packaging in order to uphold your privacy.