Why Do I Get Cold Sores?

Saturday, December 19th, 2015, 3:18 pm

Cold sores, or fever blisters as they are sometimes called, happen to most of us. The reason why we get cold sores is because of a virus, herpes simplex (HSV-1) which most of us are exposed to in childhood. Most of the time the virus is dormant but when it flares up it leads to blisters on or around the lips.

Why does the virus flare up from time to time? The reasons vary but include: Fatigue, stress, anxiety, cold weather, excessive sunlight, hormonal changes, certain foods, lip and mouth injuries and a weakened immune system are the most common triggers.

Stress and being over-tired can deplete your immune system. Cold weather or sunburn can dry out and damage the lips causing cracking and possibly blistering.  For women, hormonal changes may cause outbreaks.  Certain foods, highly acidic foods and some nuts, can cause outbreaks in some people.  Even something as simple as bumping your lip with a toothbrush or a routine dental visit or orthodontic braces may stimulate an outbreak.

Cold sores go away on their own in about a week. Most people know they have a cold sore forming because they feel a “tingling” sensation on their lip. An over-the-counter cream called Abreva may help but if you get frequent outbreaks you may want to talk to your doctor or dentist about a prescription cream. Some dentists have had luck treating the “tingling” area with a laser to prevent the formation of a cold sore – this is usually effective only before the blister has formed.

Protect yourself from cold sores by maintaining a healthy diet to protect your immune system and try to get plenty of exercise to help maintain stress levels. Lip balm with SPF sun protection will also help.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today to schedule your appointment.

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