- The author of this article is Dr. Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy
Winters are wonderful for some, but they can be difficult for others. During winters, the dry cold climate can create havoc in and around your mouth with health issues such as chapped lips, cankers, sensitivity, and cold sores. Many individuals deal with these winter issues, and they are more common than we think. Cold sores are highly common, the vast majority of people have had a cold sore at some point in their lives. Research has shown that up to 90% of people around the world are exposed to the virus that causes them, but most of them are unaware of it.
So, what are Cold sores?
Cold sores are tiny blisters that form around the lips and are filled with fluid. Cold sores, notwithstanding their name, are unrelated to the common cold’s stuffy nose and coughing. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). These blisters are frequently found in patches. A scab forms when the blisters split, which might last a few days. Cold sores usually heal without leaving a scar in two to three weeks.
Are Cold Sores contagious?
Yes, cold sores are highly contagious. Close contact, such as kissing, transmits cold sores from one individual to the other. Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) are the most common causes. Both of these viruses are spread through oral intercourse and can harm your mouth or genitals.
Are Cold sores STDs?
Because of their association with the HSV and the possibility of transmission through sex, many people believe cold sores are a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, that isn’t always the case, though.
Unless HSV-1 is transmitted to the vaginal area by oral intercourse, it is not considered an STD. HSV-1 is usually transmitted via non-sexual actions such as kissing, embracing, or shaking hands.
What triggers cold sores?
A weak immune system, dental work, cold weather, exposure to harsh sunlight, stress, hormonal changes, and/or certain high-arginine foods are a few common things that trigger a cold sore; especially after being exposed to HSV-1.
How do prevent cold sores?
It is essential to take a few precautions around people who have cold sores. Kissing, physical intimacy, and oral sex should be avoided when a person has a cold sore. Avoid sharing towels, razors, plates, cutlery, straws, lip balm, and/or lipstick. It is recommended to wash your hands before touching your lips, eyes, or genitals.
If you’ve been exposed to the virus, there isn’t a need to feel like an outsider. It is more common than you think. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. Seek professional help as and when required. Don’t worry and stay safe.