Are you concerned about cancelling your dentist appointment because of common cold sores? Don’t worry!
If you happen to have one, don’t be embarrassed. Instead, contact and inform us of your condition so we can reschedule your appointment!
No worries, cold sores usually heal in about 8 to 10 day and we can resume your dental health care regime then!
Kicking Cold Sores to the Curb
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by two strains of the herpes simplex virus. According to the World Health Organization more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population – are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is the cause of cold sores.
The cold sore virus is most commonly passed on through kissing when a blister is present, but it can also be passed when no symptoms are apparent. Recurrent outbreaks are likely, although severity and frequency of symptoms can vary greatly.
Usually, a small red mark appears, accompanied by a tingling, burning or itching sensation. This develops into a blister or a cluster of blisters, which eventually burst to leave a raw area. The sore normally heals without leaving a scar, typically within 7-14 days.
It’s an uncomfortable and embarrassing disease, and at Smiles Nambour, we want to give sufferers the information they need to head off outbreaks at the pass, minimise time suffering from cold sores, and make sure that the virus does not spread.
What triggers outbreaks in people with the virus
Common triggers for cold sore outbreaks are as follows:
- Fatigue or stress
- Cold weather
- Extreme exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation
- Fever and upper respiratory infections
- Trauma due to dental work or injury
- Infectious diseases
- Menstruation or other hormonal changes
- Influences that weaken the immune system (immunosuppressant agents, chemotherapy)
- Foods such as chocolate that contain high levels of the amino acid arginine
Which means, if you have the cold sore virus, you should avoid these triggers!
What can you do if you feel a cold sore coming?
Catch it early. Early diagnosis is the best way to put the brakes on the arrival of cold sores. In some cases, when caught soon enough, you can prevent an eruption or minimise the severity of your break out.
Be on the lookout for tingling, itching, inflammation, or soreness in areas where sores break out.
Go antiviral. Topical over-the-counter meds don’t work as well as prescription antivirals. The best way to treat cold sores is to start treatment early in that tingling stage, with an oral antiviral medication like valacyclovir. If you are prone to cold sores, it makes sense to get your prescription ahead of time, to make sure it is available in the nick of time.
Use steroids? Yes, if your doctor prescribes oral antiviral meds, topical steroid cream treatment might be useful. The cream can reduce the inflammation associated with the sores, which can make the pain, redness, and irritation less, well, irritating!
Cold compresses. Reduce swelling and irritation with a well-insulated icepack or cool, wet towel. Use a cold compress for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day while you’re waiting for blisters to heal.
Avoid acid. Steer away from acidic foods like tomatoes and oranges to minimise inflammation.
Don’t touch sores. They may seem prime for popping, but they can become seriously infected, which will make the sores stay longer and can cause scarring.
Try aloe vera. Aloe vera can reduce the pain associated with cold sores. It also contains vitamins C, A, and E, which may help to support the immune system and speed up the healing process.
Avoid spices. While recovering from a cold sore, it’s best to lay off the hot sauce. Try to avoid hot and spicy foods, particularly if your sores haven’t scabbed over yet.
Making sure the virus doesn’t spread.
If you have a visible cold sore, it is easy to spread the virus to others who don’t have the virus. Even when you treat cold sores, you can spread the virus to others, and sometimes even when no symptoms are present.
Take the following precautions until well after the cold sores are gone:
- Don’t kiss people.
- Avoid intimate contact.
- Stay away from anyone with a weakened immune system, including newborn babies.
- Don’t share personal items like razors, lip balm, or towels.
- Don’t share utensils, food, or beverages.
- Keep hands away from your cold sores.
- If you touch a cold sore or apply medicine, wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterwards.
- Wash your hands throughout the day.
After the cold sores are gone:
- Throw out any personal items that have come into contact with the sores (e.g. toothbrush – which can immediately re-infect you).
- Wash any items that might have come into contact with the mouth (e.g. pillowcases).
Dentistry at Smiles Nambour
Smiles Nambour is the perfect choice for dental care in the Nambour area. We provide top-notch dental services of all kinds to patients of every age! Our professional staff is dedicated to providing you with personalised, quality dental care.
Smiles Nambour offers a comprehensive array of general, restorative, and cosmetic dental services for you and your loved ones.
A visit to Smiles Nambour is an investment in your dental health and attractive smile!
Same Day Appointment Available, Request it Now!
Call (07) 5441 4438 or visit us at 4/104 Currie St in Nambour.