Cold Sores

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Cold sores are small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores that appear on the lips, mouth or nose that are caused by a virus. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition and how to treat it in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Cold sores usually show up on the lips or mouth as a cluster of blisters with a red base. They are also called fever blisters. They may be painful and feel itchy, dry and crusty. If the blisters come back another time, they may cause a tingling feeling before they appear on the skin.

Cold sores are caused by a type of virus called herpes, which is contagious. It is usually spread by kissing or sharing eating utensils or towels. Washing your hands a lot may help keep it from spreading. The first cold sores show up two to 20 days after being in contact with an infected person. People are most contagious when they have open, blister-like sores.

If treated as soon as your sores appear, your doctor may prescribe a type of medicine called an antiviral. This is usually taken as a pill. Your doctor may prescribe a medicated cream that you put on the sores many times a day.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.