If your loved one has to worry about cold sores suddenly, you might be worried that something else is going on. The good news is that cold sores, while not very fun, aren’t extremely dangerous for your loved one. Here is some information that can help.
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are a really common virus that can flare up during or before a cold or fever. This is partly why they’re also referred to as fever blisters. Cold sores start as a blister, which then cracks and forms a crust.
Cold sores might be scarier for your elderly loved ones because they are likely to have a more compromised immune system, so the virus can take more of a toll on them.
Cause of Cold Sores
The actual sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1, and they can be extremely painful.
Are cold sores contagious?
Cold sores are extremely contagious, which is why so many people have them.
How long do cold sores last?
Cold sores can last anywhere from two to four weeks and can occur multiple times.
Cold Sores Symptoms
Before a cold sore appears, your loved one might mention that an area around their mouth itches or even tingles. This can happen a day or longer before the actual blister forms. Once the blister forms, it might swell a bit with fluid before finally breaking and then forming a crust.
Some other symptoms before cold sores break out include:
Cold Sores Treatment
Your loved one’s doctor may recommend an antiviral medication for your loved one. These can treat the cold sore itself, helping it to go away a little bit faster, or you can use it as a preventive measure.
This is particularly helpful if your loved one has a bad reaction to cold sores, such as having a high fever and severe pain, or if they tend to have them extremely often.
There are also topical over-the-counter treatments for cold sores.
Cold Sores Prevention
Again, antiviral medications may be effective for your loved one to prevent cold sores, but there are other ways to help prevent them, too.
If your loved one tends to get them only when they are sick, then it’s a good idea to build up their immune system with a healthy diet. Your loved one’s doctor may have other suggestions as well, so be sure to ask.
Also, your loved one’s elderly care providers are experienced with helping loved ones deal with embarrassing problems such as cold sores, so be sure to ask what else they’ve tried.
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