Fever Blisters are Contagious at Certain Times
Fever Blisters are from the Herpes Family
Fever blisters, often called cold sores, are usually areas of painful ulcers of tiny fluid-filled blisters, usually occurring in the middle 1/3 of the face around the lips and nose. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type I (HSV I), which is contagious when in its ulcerative form. This is not the herpes simplex virus type II (HSV II) which causes genital herpes. Once you have the virus, it may remain in remission for months and even years, or it may never even occur. But it may become clinical and exhibit as the uncomfortable fever blister, due to a scratch, a stretching of the mouth, illness, anxiety, fatigue, menstruation, certain foods, or too much sunshine. Fever blisters often have swollen or sore lymph nodes associated with them, especially below the mandible on the neck. A fever blister rarely occurs in the upper or lower 1/3 of the face, and usually in the middle 1/3. Four out of five people in the United States carry the virus but it normally remains sub clinical with no symptoms.
Both herpes I and II lie dormant in the nerve tissue until stimulated. Those who do have recurring fever blisters can “feel it coming on” a day or so before they actually erupt. Treatment should begin immediately. Do not touch the active sore with your fingers or you may cause spreading to other parts of your body such as your eyes or genitals.
Prevention of fever blisters requires avoidance of contact of any kind with any person who may have them and that means sexual contact, as well as kissing or touching. Avoid significant exposure to sunshine, tanning beds, and wear sun block. There is no known cure for fever blisters but the sooner medication is begun, the less the severity of the outbreak. Lysine and vitamin B complex, 1,000 milligrams daily, may help prevent these bothersome sores.
The sooner treatment is begun, the sooner the patient will gain some relief. Ice is helpful in minimizing swelling and redness. A patient who “feels” the fever blister coming on before it appears, should utilize Denavir as a prescription by your dentist. It provides excellent results. There are other medicines which also work well, but the key to decreasing the discomfort and longevity of the cold sore is to begin immediate treatment. Unfortunately, the herpes virus cannot be cured and medication is utilized to shorten the episode and for lessening paint.
Primary infection occurs usually in children around two years of age. These children run a high fever, are quite sick, and should intake lots of water to avoid dehydration. The ice of a pop cycle adds water to the diet and provides ice to make the blisters feel better. Primary herpes lesions are inside the mouth, not outside. They are on the tongue, gums, and in the throat, and the lymph nodes are usually swollen. Primary herpes usually takes 7 to 10 days to run its course.
Recurrent infection creates the fever blister that is commonly known, and occurs later when the virus is reactivated. These fever blisters occur outside the mouth usually around the nose or lips.
Can a fever blister be spread to other people? Yes, both HSV I and II can be spread when the virus is in the active stage. Even herpes simplex I (fever blister), can be spread to the genitals during oral sex. Kissing can spread the virus if it is active. Millions and millions of people have the herpes simplex virus I–80% of the population. But only 15-30% actually ever have clinical symptoms, and the rest remain sub clinical without fever blisters.
American Dental Association-Life Member, Fellow of Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry