Cold sores are painful blisters that develop due to a virus or bacteria infection. They usually appear on your lips, tongue, cheeks, nose and sometimes other parts of the body. When they start developing rapidly, it’s called an erythema migrans (EM). These blisters may become infected with viruses like herpes simplex 1 and 2 (HSV1) or bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus (STB), strep throat and others.
The symptoms of cold sores vary from person to person. Some people have no symptoms at all while others experience severe pain and swelling. Sometimes there are no signs at all until the skin becomes red, swollen and inflamed. Other times, the blisters rupture open and pus oozes out into the air.
If left untreated, these blisters can cause death within days if not treated properly.
There are two main types of cold sores: primary and secondary. Primary cold sores occur when the virus causes the cells that line your mouth to become infected. Secondary infections happen after the virus has already caused damage to your immune system, making it less effective at fighting off future viral attacks.
Primary cold sores can be cured with antibiotics, but they’re still painful and require close observation. However, secondary infections are a bit different and can be life-threatening. This is because the virus has already damaged your immune system and must be treated quickly in order to prevent serious health complications or even death.
Secondary cold sores are caused by a weakened immune system and they affect more people than you might think. In fact, it’s estimated that three out of every four people have been exposed to the virus that causes cold sores at some point in their life.
Antibiotics are only effective on the secondary infection and also need to be taken right away in order to be effective. If they’re taken after a few days have passed, they may no longer be as effective due to the virus having already affected your immune system.
Treating cold sores at this stage is also important because they can cause death if left alone for an extended period of time. Although cold sores are extremely contagious, you should still seek medical attention as soon as you notice the symptoms.
What Are The Different Stages Of A Cold Sore?
Cold sores have three different stages that they progress through before they disappear for good. They start off as a primary infection, then become a recurrent infection, and lastly become a latent infection. During the first stage, the virus is actively attacking your body and causing cold sores to form. During the second stage, the virus goes into a dormant state and hides inside your nerve fibers, also called nerve endings.
These nerve endings lie just underneath your skin and they’re responsible for sending pain signals to your brain. During this stage, it’s very easy for the virus to become reactivated and cause cold sores to develop all over again. During the last stage, the virus becomes completely inactive and can no longer be detected by medical tests.
This stage can last for years and it won’t cause any more cold sores to develop. Unfortunately, even though the virus is no longer active, it can still be passed on to other people and they can still get cold sores during stage one or two of their infection.
Who Gets Cold Sores?
Anyone who’s been exposed to the virus that causes cold sores can get them at anytime, but they usually occur during times of extreme stress. This is because the virus uses the stress you experience as a means of activation. A simple kiss or a handshake with someone who’s infected can pass the virus on to you and once it’s in your system, it never really leaves.
Even if you haven’t had cold sores in years, the virus can be reactivated at anytime and cause them to form all over your lips again. This is why it’s so important to seek medical attention immediately if you think you might have been exposed to someone who has a cold sore. Even if you start to feel a tingling or numbness, it’s important to go see your family doctor right away.
How Are Cold Sores Treated?
There are several different types of treatments that can help relieve the pain and lower the risk of the virus spreading. It’s important to start treating the cold sore as soon as you notice the first symptoms, this can greatly improve your chance of getting rid of it quickly.
Some people find that over-the-counter treatments work extremely well at relieving their symptoms and getting rid of their cold sore. If you start treating the infection as soon as you notice it, OTC treatments can greatly speed up the healing process and make the sore go away much quicker.
When Should I See A Doctor?
If you’ve had cold sores before and notice any tingling or numbness around your nose or mouth, it’s extremely important that you see your family doctor right away. This is because the virus is close to becoming active and you need to start taking something to help prevent it from spreading.
There’s a very low risk of the virus becoming life-threatening, but it can cause other complications if left untreated. All family doctors are required by law to report serious illnesses like genital herpes to the public health authority. This is done so they can monitor how common certain illnesses are within the population and try to prevent them spreading.
Is There A Cure For Cold Sores?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for the herpes virus. Once you’ve contracted it, it stays in your body and is able to become active again at any time. Most people find that their outbreaks become less frequent as they grow older, but this isn’t true for everyone.
A vaccine for the virus does exist and it’s extremely effective at preventing an outbreak from ever occurring. Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid getting cold sores and the complications that can come with them.
What’s The Best Way To Prevent Cold Sores?
The herpes virus that causes cold sores is extremely contagious and is spread very easily. Most people contract it during childhood from sharing cups or from a sports team mate who’s got it. The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact and can be passed from someone the moment they first show symptoms.
If you’ve had cold sores before, it’s extremely important that you take special care when around children. This is because cold sores are extremely contagious and you can easily pass it on to someone without even realizing it. Most parents don’t realize their child has become infected until they start developing symptoms around their mouth and eyes.
Most parents don’t find out their children have become infected until they start developing symptoms around their mouth and eyes. It’s extremely important that you avoid kissing anyone, sharing cups or eating utensils with anyone when you have a cold sore. This even includes your own child! Most people find that after having a cold sore outbreak, they’re more sensitive to the sun and spend more time outdoors, resulting in a greater risk of them infecting others.
It’s also extremely important that you try to avoid contact with anyone who may have a cold sore. This means staying away from anyone who may currently have or has had a cold sore in the past. In the past, people used to think it was more common to get a cold sore at certain times of the year. Now, we know it’s because so many people are sharing cups, towels and other things that the virus is spreading quicker.
If you do find that you’ve become infected with the virus yourself, avoid kissing others, sharing cups or eating utensils with them. Sunlight can make the virus more active so you should try to avoid being outside in the daytime as much as you can and stay out of the sun.
Are Cold Sores Contagious?
This is a common question that most people ask themselves when they’ve first become aware that they have an outbreak. How contagious a condition is, really depends on how long the condition causes outbreaks for.
Cold sores are extremely contagious during an outbreak. This is because the virus is most active and can easily be spread to someone else. It’s important that you take special care during an outbreak and try to limit contact with others. This is especially important if the other person is pregnant as a herpes infection can be extremely dangerous for a baby.
Once you’ve had a cold sore, the virus moves into a dormant phase within your body where it isn’t active. This means it isn’t contagious and can’t be easily spread to someone else. After a few months, the virus then becomes active again and you experience another outbreak.
Most people find that they only have cold sore outbreaks once or twice a year after the infection has taken hold. Everyone’s different though and some people find that the virus remains dormant for a few years before causing an outbreak. It’s also possible to have multiple outbreaks each year.
The best way to prevent people from getting infected with the virus to begin with is to encourage people to avoid sharing items like cups, cutlery and towels if they have a cold sore present. Washing your hands after touching the affected area can also help to limit the spread of the condition.
As soon as someone notices the first symptoms of a cold sore, they need to be extremely cautious with their hygiene until it has healed up completely again.
The virus is extremely easy to transfer from one person to another if proper hygiene habits aren’t followed. It’s extremely contagious during an outbreak, but people can still pass it on when they no longer have a sore present on their skin.
People might think that they don’t need to worry about the spread of this virus if they’ve never had a cold sore before. The problem with this is that up to 75% of the population has been exposed to the virus by the time they reach adulthood. This means that the virus is still present in their body, even if they don’t have any symptoms and are asymptomatic.
The virus can become more active at any point and cause an outbreak of sores to appear. This is especially likely to happen during times of extreme stress in a person’s life.
Treating Cold Sores in the Early Stages: Everything You Need to Know
When treating cold sores, it’s important to remember that they’re highly contagious and can be spread by direct contact with the skin or via contact with shared items. This means that a person needs to take special precautions to avoid spreading the virus to other parts of their body or to other people.
Cold sores are most contagious during the first few days of their appearance. This means that people shouldn’t share towels, washcloths, cups and utensils with others until the sores have completely healed.
Washing your hands after touching a cold sore will also help prevent the spread of the virus. You should also clean any items that may have become contaminated with the virus before they can be used by someone else.
It’s also important that a person takes special care with their hygiene while the cold sore is present on their skin. Eating and drinking with utensils is probably okay, as long as those items are properly washed and the infected area can’t come in contact with them. This means that self feeding (such as when you’re sick or bedridden) is a bad idea and means that eating frozen foods (which cannot be properly cleaned or disinfected) should be avoided at all costs.
Taking care of cold sores the right way can help a person prevent spreading the virus to others.
Getting rid of the virus as quickly as possible is important for getting rid of the symptoms as well. There are a number of different treatment options that are available over-the-counter and these can help speed up the healing process.
Applying OTC creams or gels to the cold sore area can help dry out the sore and make it go away much quicker. These treatments also prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of the body or to other people.
Some people find that applying small amounts of ice directly to the sore helps decrease swelling and speed up the healing process.
Lifting heavy weights and popping cold sores isn’t a good idea. Avoiding excessive rubbing of the sore on bed sheets or clothing can prevent further irritation and pain.
In many cases, people find that their symptoms begin to disappear after the first week. If the cold sore hasn’t healed after two weeks, a person should consult a doctor who can prescribe a medication that will help fight off the virus more effectively.
Treating Cold Sores in the Later Stages: What You Should Know
Most people find that the cold sore appears in a matter of days after being exposed to the virus. It is possible for a person to feel some other symptoms associated with herpes before a sore appears, however. These symptoms may also be more pronounced in some people than others. Typical symptoms may include:
Burning or itching sensations in the affected area
Tingling or painful sensations in the affected area
Rashes or skin discoloration in and around the affected area
Swelling in and around the affected area
Enlarged lymph nodes in and around the affected area
Fever, chills or headaches without another known cause
What to Do: If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should wash their hands immediately to prevent the spread of the virus. They should also keep an eye out for a cold sore developing in or around the area where these symptoms have been noticed. If a sore never appears, it’s a good idea to see a doctor or dermatologist to get on a suppressing treatment as soon as possible.
Most people find that the virus becomes dormant after the first outbreak and doesn’t become active again until much later. A person could go months, even years without an outbreak, but it’s always possible that the virus will become active again at any time.
People who experience frequent outbreaks may benefit from taking a daily dose of a suppressing medication on an ongoing basis in order to reduce the frequency and severity of the outbreaks. If you experience more than six outbreaks annually, then you should consult your doctor about taking a daily medication as soon as possible.
Remember: never have unprotected sexual contact with anyone unless you’ve either made sure they’ve had no outbreaks ever and they’re taking a daily medication, or you’ve had them vaccinated against the virus. The only two exceptions to this rule are if you have proof that neither of you has ever had an outbreak and you’re both taking a daily suppressant, or if you’re married to each other and you’ve both had the vaccine.
Outbreaks in Children
Children can experience a fever before a cold sore appears and this is perfectly normal. In these cases a fever reducing medication such as acetaminophen can be given, but never aspirin for children under the age of eighteen. If a fever does not appear before a sore appears, it is still extremely important that the child avoid contact with others until the sore has healed.
A vaccine for the herpes virus has been available since 2016 and is extremely effective at preventing the virus from establishing a permanent presence in the body. The vaccine is designed for people who have never experienced an outbreak and so it is vital that you inform your doctor if you have never had a cold sore before when you go for your vaccination.
The vaccine should be administered in three separate shots, one every six months. These vaccinations should be continued on a yearly basis in order to ensure the vaccine continues to be effective. If you have had a herpes outbreak before you receive the vaccine, your doctor may still administer it, but the vaccine may not be as effective at preventing a future outbreak from becoming permanent. In this case you should return for a booster shot one year after your initial vaccination.
If you experience an outbreak within three months of receiving the vaccine, or if your outbreaks become more frequent or severe after having the vaccine, contact a doctor immediately.
For further information, including information on side effects and the development of any adverse reactions, consult your doctor or local medical library.
A medical booklet titled “Herpes: An In-Depth Guide” has been included for your convenience.
Thank you for choosing the VLN Corporation to meet your health and wellness needs. We hope you feel that you have received value and gratitude for your business. If you have any comments or suggestions on how we can improve our services, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
Customer Care Executive
The evening of the same day you read the letter from the VLN Corporation you come home from work stressed to the limit. Sitting on your porch you notice there is a white envelope stuck between two of the wooden slats. Picking up the envelope you see your name written in tiny neat letters across the front of it. Opening it you find a short letter inside.
There are horrible things happening in this city of late and we need someone with your experience to help us. All we ask is that you meet with us so we can explain the situation fully and come to an agreement on payment for your services. If you are interested, please meet us at the Hillside Diner at 10pm tonight as there are some details we need to go over before you begin your work.
Looking forward to meeting you and working with you,
You read over the letter a few times before folding it up and placing it back into the envelope. “Seems like a hell of a thing to lie about just for a free guard dog,” You think as you get up and head back inside. Whatever their reason, they want your help and you can always use the money. You spend the rest of the evening at home cleaning your weapons and armor in preparation for your meeting.
At a few minutes before 10 you head out the door and take a left down the street towards the Hillside Diner. The diner itself is located on the outskirts of the more residential area of the city and is easily accessible via car. As you enter you see a bored looking man in a dark suit and sunglasses standing just inside the front door. He is clearly here to watch the door and make sure you don’t enter accompanied or, more likely, to stop you from leaving.
You walk straight past him and take a seat in the almost empty diner. You see two other men in suits sitting at a table near the front window. They look like they are waiting for someone too.
You have no idea what these guys want from you, but it can’t be anything good. Your best bet is to get the hell out of here and find some way of reporting them, but you don’t want to alert the two by the window. You’ll wait until the man at the door looks away and make a break for the exit. At least, that is the plan you have come up with until you see the hatch in the middle of the diner’s floor open up.
A man you assume to be Martin climbs out of the hatch and motions for you to come over.
You can’t come up with a better plan on the spot so you get up and walk over to the hatch. “Down here,” Martin calls from inside. You look around but see no other option so, moving as quickly as you can, you climb down the ladder.
At the bottom of the ladder is a small room with several cabinets and drawers along the wall and what looks like a medical table along the back wall. In the middle of the table is another hole, this one having a ladder descending into it.
“Down there,” Martin says from above you, “Come on, quickly now!” You climb down the ladder and find yourself in a much larger room. It is well lit and you can see what look like bars on the other side of the room. you are about to head over to them when Martin speaks again.
“Wait, not that way. This is a trap door so if you went over there they would only see your feet under the door. Come over here instead and lets talk.” You turn to see Martin sitting in a chair on the other side of the room.
There are two other men in the room, both wearing black suits like Martin’s. They stand on either side of him, watching you.
“So, you’re the famed mercenary everyone’s been talking about. I must say you don’t look anything like I expected.” You don’t respond and instead try to figure a way out of this. “No need to worry about how you’re going to get out of here, you’re going to be our guest for a while.”
You try the door leading out of the room, but of course it is locked. The bars on the other side of the room look more promising. “Those bars are electric and can be set to a level where they will only tickle you,” Martin says, “But I don’t think you would want to go through them anyway. The current goes right into the lake and if you’re close enough to the bars when they kick in you get a nasty shock.
We had a snoop around down here once and one of our boys got a little too enthusiastic trying to get info from one of the prisoners and ended up drowning him.”
You try the windows but find them to be locked and unreachable. Giving up, you decide to take a seat and listen to what Martin has to say.
Now, you are probably wondering what all this is about so I’ll get right to it,” Martin begins, “What do you know about the riots that happened 7 years ago?”
“Not much,” you respond. You remember hearing something about some big riot in the city but you were pretty far out in the sticks at the time and it didn’t affect you.
“Well, the riots were only the beginning. They may have stopped by the time the military pulled it’s head out but that was just the start of our problems.” Martin gets up and starts pacing as he speaks, the two men with him also start moving about the room. “By the time they had declared martial law and started rounding up people the damage had already been done.
The secret police are still pulling rabble rousers out of their caves in the wilderness today and I don’t know how many cells of rebels are still out there. We may have thought we had it bad but it was only due to our close proximity to the main city that we managed to avoid being caught up in all that mess. By the time they had it under control it was too late, society had already gone back to the wild west days. Large convoys of military and supply trucks were getting looted and attacked on a regular basis. It was those attacks that eventually lead to the creation of our own little community here.”
One of Martin’s men comes over and hands him a folder filled with papers. He gives you a moment to look through them while he continues his story. “We tried to maintain contact with the new rulers of the city but they had become increasingly hostile towards anyone who wasn’t a full citizen and when their inquiries became demands we cut all contact. At that point they were sending patrols up to our borders so we decided to make our boundary lines a lot more obvious.
We built the wall.”
I didn’t see any wall on my walk here,” you say.
“That’s because you were only checking out the inner portion of our territory. The wall is much farther out. We had several engineers draw up plans for an enormous wall that would completely surround the city, keeping the riff raff IN and our community safe from their influence.”
One of the men brings Martin a large map of the city and points to various places as he speaks, “Here, here and here are three primary gates. This one here is where you came in and the other two are a patch of woods that we cleared out. We have people living in there to maintain watch and let people in or out as the case may be. We also have a gate here on this old highway and another one over here leading to an overpass where we cleared out an area to build on.
Now, the wall obviously isn’t complete, we’ve been working on it for almost ten years now but we’ve run into problems with both money and construction as well as resistance from the city government. We aren’t recognized as a legitimate community so we can’t apply for grants or anything of the sort and our attempts to enslave the poor fools who are incapable of leaving the city have been met with resistance. I believe some of them may have even moved into the sewers.” Martin laughs at this. “It’s amazing how a few well placed guns can force someone from their home, even if it is underground.”
So you’ve just decided to enslave all the poor folks?
That seems rather harsh. I thought you folks were just protecting the city from the poor.”
“I didn’t phrase it as a question,” Martin says.
So what is it that you want from me?”
“You appear to have some medical training, though I’m not convinced that you are a doctor. No offense intended.”
“None taken,” you say.
“I want you to come work for me. You obviously have acquired some medical knowledge beyond the basics and I could use someone with those skills. Additionally, since you are not a citizen of this fair city, I don’t think you’ll be as inclined to rat us out to the councils.”
Why would I?
You’re treating me well enough. I haven’t been paid this well in years.”
Martin smiles and then says, “Now that’s something I was wondering about. You say you are a doctor and your use of big words and advanced language makes me think you are probably telling the truth.
How is it that you are working as a bartender and living in a run down part of town?”
“It’s a long story,” you say.
“I’m the mayor. I think I have the time.
Sources & references used in this article:
Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: control, diagnosis, and treatment by V Sizaire, F Nackers, E Comte, F Portaels – The Lancet infectious diseases, 2006 – Elsevier
Commentaries on the History and Cure of Diseases by W Sears, M Sears, R Sears, J Sears – 2008 – Little, Brown
Get Rid of Cold Sores Faster by Popping Them Updated on March 12, 2019 by W Heberden – 1816 – books.google.com
The Chemotherapy Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Treatment by TYW Need – patientslounge.com
Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of topical 5% acyclovir-1% hydrocortisone cream (ME-609) for treatment of UV radiation-induced herpes labialis by J McKay, T Schacher – 2009 – books.google.com
Meeting IX.—May 20, 1896: On the Treatment of Inoperable Cases of Carcinoma of the Mamma: Suggestions for a New Method of Treatment, with Illustrative Cases by TG Evans, DI Bernstein, GW Raborn… – Antimicrobial agents …, 2002 – Am Soc Microbiol
ICP0, a regulator of herpes simplex virus during lytic and latent infection by GT Beatson – Transactions. Medico-Chirurgical Society of …, 1896 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Everything You Need to Know About Std-Sexually Transmitted Disease by RD Everett – Bioessays, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Everything you need to know about mononucleosis by SG Woods – 2002 – books.google.com