Frequently Asked Questions1. Who is the doctor who treats cold sores?
A dermatologist can treat cold sores.
2. Are cold sores contagious?
- Yes cold sores are contagious.
- Cold sores contain the herpes simplex virus and if these virus particles are transferred to others they too can become infected.
3. How to distinguish between cold sores and pimples?
- Cold sores are associated with tingling, itching or burning pain, occasionally accompanied with a mild, flu-like illness. Pimples are tender to touch, but otherwise painless and do not cause a flu-like illness.
- Cold sores present as blisters filled with transparent, thin, yellow-tinged fluid or irregular, red, weeping open sores. Pimples present as tense, solid red bumps filled with opaque, thick, white fluid, which may or may not be visible through the pimple's surface.
4. How to avoid getting infected with cold sores?
You can take the following steps to guard against cold sores –
- Avoid kissing and skin contact with people while blisters are present. The virus can spread as long as there are moist secretions from your blisters.
- Avoid sharing items. Utensils, towels and other items can spread the virus when blisters are present.
- Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands carefully before touching another person when you have a cold sore.
- Be careful about touching other parts of your body. Your eyes and genital area may be particularly susceptible to spread of the virus.
- Avoid triggers. Situations that can trigger cold sores include too much exposure to the sun.
- Use sunblock. Apply sunblock to your lips and face before prolonged exposure to the sun during both winter and summer, to help prevent cold sores.
5. When to seek medical advice for cold sores?
Cold sores generally heal without any treatment. However, see your doctor if-
- You have a pre-existing health condition that has compromised your immune system.
- If the cold sores does not heal within 1-2 weeks.
- Symptoms are severe.
- You have frequent recurrences of cold sores.