This week we have been discussing cold sores.

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is a raised area of small, fluid-filled blisters. They usually happen where the lip joins the surrounding skin. The blisters are painful and dry up to make a yellow crust which gradually heals in a few days.

Cold sores usually appear when people are ‘run down’, or ill with something else: for example, with a cold or flu. Cold sores are usually found on the lips but you can get them in other places, such as in the nostrils, on the nose or around the outside of the mouth.

Cold sores tend to last 5 to 7 days and can keep coming back. Most people only have them once or twice a year.

Are they infectious?

Yes. Cold sores are infectious and the virus can be passed to other people by close contact or contact with the infected persons saliva. A cold sore is most infectious when it is blistering.

We would advise patients who have an appointment to phone the practice if they have a cold sore, as we would only be able to see you for a review if it is still active. We cannot use the water or air in the appointment and it can cause pain when you open your mouth.

After 2 weeks of the cold sore healing over we would then be able to see you for a full examination or treatment.

Can they be treated?

Your pharmacist or doctor can prescribe you various creams to ease the pain and blistering to help the sores heal more quickly. You need to use these creams as early as possible when the cold sore starts to develop, and you should apply your cream regularly. Avoid squeezing, pinching or pricking the cold sore as this can spread the infection.

If you are concerned or have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the practice on 01872 241955. For more information you can visit the Oral Health Foundation website-

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