Cold Sore (Herpes Labialis, Herpes Simplex, Fever Blister)

Serving Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby and surrounding areas

Herpes Simplex (HSV):

  • Is a virus
    • When it affects the lip it is commonly known as a “cold sore”
  • Is a common viral infection
  • 90% of the population has been infected with this virus
  • Infection in most people occurs in childhood
  • Once you are infected, the virus remains dormant in your body forever
  • Intermittently the virus will be active and produce a lesion (cold sore)
  • There are two types of herpes virus
    • Most lip lesions are caused by Herpes Simplex type 1, and most genital lesions are caused by Herpes Simplex type 2
  • Is highly contagious, especially when there is an open sore on the skin
  • Transmission of the herpes simplex virus can occur from an infected person, even when there are no open sores visible
  • Some people will experience symptoms of tingling, numbness, burning or itching in the affected area prior to an outbreak
  • Outbreaks may be triggered by stress, menstruation, fatigue or sun exposure
  • Outbreaks will frequently occur with no obvious trigger

Treatment:

  • Do not share lip stick, lip gloss and other lip products or make up between friends or family members
    • It is possible to transmit the virus to another person, even if an active cold sore is not present
  • Sun is a common trigger for cold sores
    • I recommend using sunscreen to protect the lips, and to help prevent herpes outbreaks
  • A variety of oral anti-viral medications are available
    • Please discuss your treatment options with your doctor