Cold Sore - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Cold sores, also known as Herpes stomatitis, occur due to the herpes virus. It is a contagious disease that means it can spread from one person to another. Moreover, it is common among young children aged between six months to five years.

 

Stomatitis is the inflammation or soreness inside of the mouth that can occur inside the cheeks, gums, tongue, or inside of the lips. Mainly, stomatitis occurs due to two causes, either herpes virus or aphthous stomatitis, also known as a canker sore.



Symptoms 


Herpes stomatitis can cause blisters in any of the following regions.



  • Palate

  • Cheeks

  • Tongue

  • Gums

  • Lip Border


Painful blisters can make it difficult for the child to eat and drink. Therefore, there is a risk of dehydration as well. Herpes stomatitis also causes fever one to two days before the occurrence of sores. It may cause other symptoms too, like;


  • Blisters in the mouth 

  • Blisters can also occur on the tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums, and on the border between the inside of the lip and the skin next to it

  • After blisters pop, they form ulcers

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Excessive drooling

  • Irritability

  • Mouth pain

  • Swollen gums

  • Burning sensation on the blisters



Blisters, when turning into ulcers, if left untreated, can also cause a secondary infection. Therefore, they should be managed properly to avoid another infection and complications. The entire infection of herpes stomatitis lasts for almost 7 to 10 days.



Causes 


Herpes simplex virus1 (HSV-1) causes herpes stomatitis, which in turn causes soreness and inflammation of the oral cavity. Mostly, it occurs in children aged between 6 months to five years. Herpes simplex virus 1 is related to herpes simplex virus 2, which causes genital herpes, but they are not the same. 



Treatment 


To treat herpes stomatitis, the healthcare providers will firstly prescribe an antiviral drug like acyclovir, more commonly known as Zovirax to get rid of the infection. Moreover, to prevent dehydration due to painful blisters, they may ask you to feed them properly, or may prescribe intravenous fluid replacement. Since the blisters are painful, they may prescribe an over-the-counter analgesic like acetaminophen, which helps lower pain and fever. 


If the pain does not subside with over a counter pain reliever, the healthcare provider may prescribe lidocaine- a local anesthetic to be applied on the blisters. However, it should be used with extreme caution in the oral cavity because it can cause numbness, choking, or swallowing difficulties. 



Conclusion 


Herpes stomatitis, also known as cold sores, occurs due to the herpes virus. It is a contagious disease that means it can spread from one person to another upon touch. Moreover, it is common among young children aged between six months to five years. 


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