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Cold sores (fever blisters)

Have you had a prescription for this condition in the last five years? Our affiliated pharmacists may be able to help.

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What is cold sores or fever blisters?

Cold sores are a very common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. It is estimated that up to 90% of the population is a carrier. Most people will never experience symptoms, but for some people the virus can manifest itself as a cold sore outbreak. 

Symptômes

Cold sores are often associated with the following symptoms:

  • The first sign of cold sores is a sudden tingling and burning sensation in a specific area on or around the lips 

  • Small, painful, fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) form on or around the lips 

  • The skin around the lesions is red and painful 

  • The blisters become opaque and the fluid inside turns yellow 

  • The blisters may fuse and burst, leaving small, oozing sores on which a scab forms.​

Causes

A few factors can trigger a cold sore rash:

Contact with an infected person

The herpes simplex virus type 1 is highly contagious and is spread by contact with an infected person. It can be spread by direct contact with cold sores, but also by indirect contact with contaminated objects such as glasses, towels or toothbrushes.

Sun exposure

Sun exposure can trigger a cold sore rash in some people. UV rays can damage the skin on the lips, which can activate the herpes virus.

Stress

Stress is a common trigger for cold sores. When the body is under emotional or physical stress, it can weaken the immune system and activate the herpes virus.

Fatigue

Fatigue, colds, flu and other viruses can weaken the immune system and make infected people more susceptible to cold sore rashes. 

It is important to note that some people can carry the herpes simplex virus type 1 and never develop symptoms, while others may be prone to recurrent cold sore outbreaks.

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Treatments

Cold sores usually clear up without treatment after one to two weeks.

However, there are several treatments that can help reduce the duration and severity of cold sores such as topical creams and antivirals*.

How can I prevent cold cores?

Although there is currently no cure for the virus that causes cold sores, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing cold sores.

  • Avoid sharing utensils, glasses, towels or cosmetics that have been in direct or indirect contact with an infected person's cold sore.

  • Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face and the rest of your body.

  • Protect your lips from UV rays with a lip balm containing sunscreen.

  • Protect your mouth from cold temperatures by covering it, for example, with a scarf.

  • If you feel that stress or fatigue is starting to take its toll on your health, take some time for yourself and find ways to relax.

I want a prescription

If you've had a prescription for this condition in the last 5 years

Our affiliated pharmacists may be able to help. Register online, then request a prescription through the Medzy platform. One of our affiliate pharmacists will take the time to review your request in a consultation, answer your questions and agree on the best treatment for you to ensure your safety and best outcomes.

If you have never had a prescription for cold sores or if your last prescription was 5 years ago or more

You should make an appointment with a doctor. 

* Non-exhaustive list of treatments - Oral antiviral: Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir / Topical antiviral: Zovirax topical

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