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Doctor insights on: Antivirals For Cold Sores

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Can someone who gets frequent cold sores get a prescription to help prevent outbreaks? Like an antiviral of some kind?

Can someone who gets frequent cold sores get a prescription to help prevent outbreaks? Like an antiviral of some kind?

Can be prevented: Cold sores on the lips or near the lips, are usually caused by oral herpes virus. Sores appear more often when a person is under stress or is sick from another illness. For older children and adults who get sores repeatedly, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral (acyclovir, Valtrex, (valacyclovir) etc...) to prevent future outbreaks, and/or to start treating them at the moment a lip area starts to tingle. ...Read more

Dr. Heidi Fowler
1,014 doctors shared insights

Cold Sore (Definition)

Also referred to as fever blisters, cold sores are small, painful fluid-filled blisters that are usually found around the lips. Cold sores are generally caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 which is related to herpes simplex virus 2 that causes genital herpes. Cold sores are very contagious and can be spread by mouth to mouth contact. They can spread to the genitalia and cause genital ...Read more


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I get at least one cold sore outbreak monthly. They typically run 14-20 days. 5 sores right now. Why is it so hard to get an oral antiviral rx?

I get at least one cold sore outbreak monthly. They typically run 14-20 days. 5 sores right now. Why is it so hard to get an oral antiviral rx?

Talk to your doc..: A typical sore outbreak lasts 10-14 days w/o treatment. If you start medication at the very early onset (some feels/knows before it comes to the skin) it may not even come through the skin, but unfortunately it often does come out despite treatment and may crust over in 3-5 days rather than 10-14 days w/o treatment. Since u have frequent attacks, consult doc for suppressive therapy. Good luck. ...Read more

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What are cold sores?

What are cold sores?

A lip ulceration: "cold sores" are a laymen's term for herpes labialis. This is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. An alternative name for the condition is a "fever blister". It is often painful, but not always, may become crusty and is contagious. The condition usually resolves within two weeks but may reside as a life-long virus. Prompt topical and oral treatment may prevent eruption. ...Read more

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What causes cold sores?

What causes cold sores?

Virus reactivation: Cold sores are caused by reactivation of a latent ("sleeping") virus in the nerves that supply sensation to the inside of the mouth. This is a "herpes" virus, but is most often not the same virus as the one that causes genital herpes. After contracting the virus from someone else's oral cavity, the virus can be reactivated by various triggers, including a common cold or other stressors. ...Read more

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What causes cold sores?

What causes cold sores?

Herpes simplex: Real cold sores, which usually occur on the edge of the lips, are caused by herpes simplex virus. This is contagious by touch, and that is touching anywhere. So if you have active cold sores, you need to practice good handwashing anytime you might have touched the sore. Unfortunately, you can also spread them when you don't even have an active sore, in your saliva. ...Read more

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What causes cold sores?

Herpes simplex virus: Oral herpes, occurs with symptoms of cold sores or fever blisters, is an infection of the mouth and cause by herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. After initial infection, the viruses are transported to the sensory nerve cell bodies, where they become latent and reside lifelong. Upon trigger, these virus then multiplies new virus particles, transport, and releases to the nerve terminal. ...Read more

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What causes cold sores?

HSV1: Cold sores are painful liquid filled blisters that can occur on the lips, roof of the mouth or the gums which are caused by the herpes simplex virus (hsv-1). An estimated 80% of americans have been exposed to herpes simplex virus type 1. However, not all of those people will get cold sores. It depends on your immune system. ...Read more

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Do cold sores bleed?

Do cold sores bleed?

Yes they can bleed: A cold sore is a herpes simplex viral infection that occurs most commonly on th lips of the mouth, but can also occur on the penis and vulva, and other places of the skin. During the first stage, they produce a tender sore, that can then form a scab and bleed. Use vaseline to keep the area moist, and try drug- store medicines for cold sores, or get a prescription for acyclovir. ...Read more

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Dr. Steven Fine
148 doctors shared insights

Antiviral (Definition)

An antiviral is a medicine that slows, stops, or kills viruses. The viruses are usually causing an infection in a person, so the person uses antivirals to help his body get ...Read more