According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the cold sore virus is carried by over half of individuals aged 14 to 49. This virus causes cold sores, small blisters, around the mouth. Though in some cases the virus lays dormant, for many, there are recurring sores over the course of a lifetime.
Cold sores are caused by a virus in the body that persists even when there are no visible symptoms. Potential triggers for cold sores include stress, fatigue, exposure to sun or cold, flu, fever, and skin trauma. Most cold sores will go away on there own and will not require treatment.
If affected, there are effective cold sore treatments
- Applying an over-the-counter antiviral cream
- Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain
- Avoiding acidic foods
- Using a cool, moist compress for up to 10 minutes at a time
- Seeking medical treatment if persistent
Cold sores can be inconvenient, but typically do not pose a serious threat. The American Academy of Dermatology suggest not sharing cups, towels, toothbrushes, or even kissing to prevent the spread of active cold sores.