Cold sores are caused by the ‘Herpes Simplex’ virus and are painful fluid-filled blisters on the lips. Cold sores tend to dry up and form a yellowish crust and usually heals within 5 – 7 days. Cold sores often flare up when people become ill with a cold or the flu, but sometimes they can be brought on by ultraviolet and sunlight and some women find that cold sores develop around the time of their menstrual cycle.
Cold sores are infections and can be passed onto someone else is in close contacts, such as kissing or sharing the same straw. When a cold sore is in the “blister” stage, it is important to avoid touching it (that means no squeezing, pinching or pricking!) because the virus is at its most infectious. This means that the virus can also be passed on to someone else by touching hands and also to your own eyes.
There are antiviral creams available from your pharmacist or from your doctor to help aid in easing the pain and helping the healing process along more quickly.
If you find that your cold sore has not cleared up after around two weeks, or you are prone to lots of attacks, you should visit your GP. They may be able to prescribe you with antiviral medication to treat the sores and keep them at bay. Tell your dentist about your cold sore, as they may postpone any treatments in order to prevent further irritating the affected area and causing any cracks or bleeding during treatment.