Viruses are spread from person to person through the exchange of bodily fluids. Even an innocent kiss can transfer millions of bacteria, according to a study in Microbiome.
This makes cold sores among the top conditions for which people head to the pharmacy counter to seek help from their pharmacist.
Kissing and sharing personal items can easily spread cold sores, but there is a lot of misinformation about these sores and how to deal with the symptoms.
Cold Sore Facts
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are an incurable problem. According to Duke University Medical Center, they affect an estimated 70 percent of Americans. For many, the initial viral infection occurs during childhood but may lay dormant and undiagnosed for many years. Kissing or sharing of drinks, utensils, towels, razors or other personal items can easily spread cold sores.
Once contracted, the virus never goes away and there is no cure – rather the virus waits for the immune system to become compromised before rearing its unsightly head in the form of blisters, most commonly around the mouth.
Illness, stress, hormonal changes, cold weather and excessive exposure to sunlight can all be responsible for initiating outbreaks – often announcing their arrival with a tingling, itching or burning sensation. Shortly thereafter, the virus produces a redness leading to bumps that form small blisters and scabs.
Treating Cold Sores
Keeping a cold sore moisturized is recommended versus trying to dry it out, which can make the condition worse and increase the likelihood that it will spread.
In the pharmacy, I recommend (and use myself) Aubio Cold Sore Treatment Gel to provide fast and effective temporary relief. It contains lidocaine, which provides quick relief to pain and itching; allantoin, which provides a soothing effect; and aloe to moisturize. Adults and children age two and older can safely use it.
If you get cold sores more than six times a year you should talk to your doctor about daily treatment options. Most importantly, remember you do not need to kiss everyone you greet. Reserve kissing for the people you know the most and stay vigilant during this season and every season, especially kissing holidays!