It never fails. The morning before a big date, the night before a huge presentation, the day before you are going to be on stage – there pops a fever blister. Fever blisters (or Cold Sores) are painful blisters that form on the lips and mouth. Many time these blisters are clusters of sores that have grouped together and will spread if they are popped.
Fever blisters are incredibly contagious, and people should avoid sharing drinks and all contact with the mouth until fully healed. While there is no cure for a fever blister, there are medications that can reduce the amount of time that one will last. Once a person has had a fever blister, the infectious cells will lie dormant until exposure occurs again. For many people, something as simple as over exposure to the sun can bring forth a fever blister. For other people, coming in contact with an infected person will be how they will be infected.
It is almost impossible to predict when a fever blister will pop up, but many people can feel one coming before it is ever noticeable. A sore spot on the lip, a small pimple like bump, or a tingly feeling can all indicate that a fever blister is looming in the future. Many times, if people can catch a fever blister right as it is forming, they can avoid the unsightly sore and associated pain. Products such as Zilactin are over the counter treatments to lessen the life of a cold sore.
About 90% of people world-wide will experience a fever blister in their lifetime. For most people it is an unwelcome, but non-emergency, type of hassle. However, a cold sore that does not heal can be a sign of oral cancer. See your doctor or dentist if you have a cold sore that does not go away, if a cold sore becomes infected or if you have a weakened immune system.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry
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