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Fever Blisters Treatments, Research and News
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Sores can appear on or in the mouth, or in the general region of the mouth, for many different reasons. Sores can be stress related, or arise due to dietary deficiencies, bacterial or viral infections, or damage due to trauma of various kinds.
One very common cause of lip sores is a viral infection due to the herpes simplex virus (usually type 1, but sometimes the type 2 virus more commonly associated with genital herpes). This type of sore on the mouth is known as a cold sore or fever blister. Various medical and dental problems can also result in sores on the mouth, ranging from a problem of damage to the mouth from grinding the teeth to something as serious as a cancer.
A sore on the mouth that persists longer than a few weeks could be a sign of a serious illness and a doctor should be seen about it.
Lip Sores From Herpes
A sore on the lip resulting from the herpes simplex virus follows a recognizable pattern. The area may become inflamed, itch, be sensitive to the touch, and have pain prior to the sore properly so called appearing. Afterwards, tiny blisters appear and clump together over a period of several days.
After this, the blisters burst and an open sore appeared, followed about one day later by a yellowish crust forming over the sore, after which it heals and disappears over about four to five days.
Herpes sores do not linger indefinitely but disappear after running their course. However, the disease is not "cured" at this point. The virus has merely gone into remission and the cold sore will recur periodically.
Unlike many other types of sore, a cold sore from the herpes virus is highly contagious.
In fact, it may be transmitted to another person even when the virus is dormant -
The greatest risk of contagion, however, occurs when the disease is in its "open sore" phase, during the day before the crust formation and while it is healing. A fluid full of viruses is discharged from the sore at this time.
Touching the sore transmits the fluid and the viruses to the hands, and the hands can then convey it to anyone else by touch. It's estimated that approximately eighty percent of adults carry the herpes simplex virus, whether or not they ever suffer from active cold sores (the disease can be carried without any symptoms appearing at all).
Cold sores can be treated with topical antiviral drugs that reduce the duration of the active phase of outbreaks. For other types of lip sores, treatment depends on the cause.
In many cases, only symptomatic treatments are possible. If the sore is a result of a dietary deficiency, a change in diet can eliminate the problem. Sometimes, changing stressful circumstances and/or dealing with psychological problems can eliminate these symptoms, and also reduce the risk of infection, as can a good diet.
Preventing the spread or transmission of the herpes virus is not possible in any absolute sense, as the disease can be transmitted at any time, whether or not symptoms are present. However, since the highest risk of infection is during an actual outbreak, precautions can be taken to reduce this risk.
Avoiding direct physical contact with anyone who has an active herpes lesion, and with anyone at all when you have one, can lower the chance of infection. Also, washing the hands frequently and avoiding touching the herpes sore can reduce the chance that the virus will find its way to your hands, and hence to anything or anyone your hands touch.
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