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Fever blisters, also known as cold sores, show up on the outside of your mouth as fluid-filled blisters that ooze fluid before crusting over. They can be felt beforehand by a tingling or burning sensation even before the outbreak. Fever blisters are actually caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) and are highly contagious. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of the population carries the virus that causes fever blisters. Although they disappear without treatment after 2-4 weeks, the HSV virus can live in the body for years. Most people with the herpes simplex virus never manifest any symptoms, and they normally only show up when something triggers the outbreak. So what triggers the onset of these blisters?

Triggers

 Emotional Stress
 Weakened immune system
 Viral infection or fever
 Exposure to sunlight and wind
 Hormonal changes (menstruation, etc.)

Help
Your dentist can provide help by the following:

 Diagnose herpes from your fever blisters via a visual exam.
 Review your medical history.
 Prescribe antiviral medications such as antiviral acyclovir (Zovirax) which comes as a cream or ointment to reduce the duration of outbreak.
 Recommend that you boost your immunity with extra Vitamin C or a multivitamin.
 Advise using UV protection with SPF15 (or more) for sun exposure.
 Suggest stress-lowering strategies like yoga, meditation, nature walks, deep breathing, music, etc.

Cautions
While these sores can be spread during any stage, they are they are most contagious when the blisters are oozing. The virus can be spread by sharing eating utensils, razors, towels, etc. Something as simple as your toothbrush can transmit the virus if it touches the edge of the toothpaste tube and then the next toothbrush that comes along touches the contaminated paste. You should also replace your toothbrush after an outbreak subsides. And finally, to avoid spreading the virus, take extra time on hand-washing, especially after touching the blisters.

Fever blisters and cold sores don’t have to make your life miserable–there are ways to find relief. Our team at Toluca Dental Studio is happy to help any way we can. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us today at 818-927-6807!