Depending on demographics, about 50-90% of the population gets cold sores

Affecting such a large segment of the population, cold sores is one of the most common complaints you’ll face from frustrated customers over the winter season.

Cold sores are described as “small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores that appear on the lips, mouth, or nose that are caused by a virus,” by emedicinehealth.com.

Symptoms

  • Tingling and itching – Most people feel an itching, burning or tingling sensation around their lips a while before blisters break out.
  • Blisters – these are small blisters that consist of fluid in them. These typically break out on the tip, where the skin meets the lip.
  • Oozing and rushing – the blisters merge and then eventually burst, leaving open sores that ooze fluid and then crust over.

Cause

Cold sores are caused by certain strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). “HSV-1 usually causes cold sores,” explains Mayo Clinic. “HSV-2 is usually responsible for genital herpes. However, either type can cause sores in the facial area or on the genitals. Most people who are infected with the virus that causes cold sores never develop signs and symptoms.”

Treatment

Panic is often the first reaction of those affected by cold sores. You are in the unique position to allay their fears and assure them of the various treatments available

There is no cure for HSV. Once infected, the virus will lie dormant in the body for the rest of your life with occasional flair-ups resulting in cold sores. As such, treatment targets the symptoms rather than the virus itself. The earlier the symptoms are addressed the more effective the treatment will be.

Over-the-counter medicine assists in dealing with relieving the irritation and pain, but won’t do much in healing the sore.

Phenol and menthol are believed to assist in preventing scabs and cracks, while docosanol is also identified as helping faster healing and minimising pain.

HSV tends to be more active when the body is run down. As such patients should proactively boost their immune system when they know their body will be weaker and more susceptible to cold sores (e.g. during winter or periods of increased stress). Prevention is always preferable to a cure.