Fever blisters, or cold sores, erupt on the outside of the mouth and are caused by a virus–the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2). This highly contagious blister often lets you know it is coming, by tingling or burning before showing up as a fluid-filled blister which oozes fluid and then crusts over. It is estimated that up to 80% of the population carries the virus that causes fever blisters.
Although the blisters disappear without treatment after 2-4 weeks, the herpes simplex virus remains behind in one of your facial nerves, and when something triggers it, it travels to the skin and breaks out in blisters.
What Triggers the Blisters
- Emotional Stress
- Weakened immune system
- Hormonal changes (menstruation, etc.)
- Viral infection or fever
- Exposure to sunlight and wind
Finding Relief for Blisters
Your dentist can actually help you if you are experiencing blisters by reviewing your medical history, diagnosing fever blister herpes via visual exam, and prescribing antiviral medications. Acyclovir (Zovirax) is a commonly prescribed cream or ointment that helps to reduce the length of an outbreak. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching blisters to apply ointment. Additionally, your dentist may suggest boosting your immune system by taking Vitamin C or a multivitamin, wearing UV protection with SPF15 when you are out in the sunlight, and lowering your stress levels through stress-reducing activities: yoga, meditation, nature walks, deep breathing, music, etc.
Preventing Transmission of the Virus:
Viral at any stage, the virus is most contagious when the blisters are oozing. You want to avoid sharing eating utensils, razors, towels, and close contact like kissing. Your toothbrush can transmit the virus if it touches the edge of the toothpaste tube and then the next user touches the contaminated paste with their toothbrush. A good idea to limit transmission is replacing your toothbrush after a flare-up.
Our team is happy to help any way we can, so if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to be seen by Dr. Suadi, please give our team at BR Dental Care a call at 225-753-5885 to schedule an appointment.