Cold sores (herpes simplex) are small, painful blisters that usually form on the lips or skin around the mouth, nose and on the chin. Formed by infection of the herpes simplex virus, initial exposure usually occurs in childhood and is characterised by the re-current formation of outbreaks particularly during times of low immunity, increased stress or direct trauma to the lip area (i.e Sun burn). The cold sore virus cannot be cured and remains active for life.
Whilst 90% of adults have herpes simplex antibodies in their system, only one-third may present with cold sores. Transmission is via saliva or direct contact with a blister. The most infectious period is the first couple of days as the blister forms. The frequency of outbreak is individual but may be triggered by:
What are the symptoms?
As the cold sore virus is indicative of ongoing infection rather than primary infection, outbreaks usually recur in the same location.
The symptoms of an outbreak include:
In conjunction with the topical application of an acyclovir cream, the Australian Laser & Skin Clinic offers Low Level Laser Therapy(LLLT) to dramatically reduce the severity and duration of cold sore outbreaks.
LLLT is a remarkably effective non-thermal or “Cold” laser therapy designed to treat conditions that can cause destruction to the outer layers of the skin (including cold sores). A gentle beam of light targets the cold sore affected areas which stimulates, regulates and accelerates cell function in order to heal and restore damaged tissue in the cold sore and preventing further outbreaks. For more information on how LLLT can treat your cold sores please click here.
LLLT treatments are recommended at the very first signs of a cold sore tingle.