Do you suffer from recurring sores on or around your mouth and lips? If so, know that you are not alone! Over 20% of the population suffers from sores along with you.
Fever blisters, caused by Herpes Simplex Type-1 virus, are fluid filled blisters that most commonly occur on a person’s lips. They can also form in the mouth, particularly the gums and roof of the mouth, but this is rare. Fever blisters are usually painful. The pain can start at the very hint of the lesion beginning to form. The blisters rupture within hours, and then they crust over and form scabs. Typically, fever blisters last about 7-10 days.
Once a person is infected, the virus remains with you. It hides away in your nerves until activated. Conditions such as stress, fever, trauma, hormonal changes, and exposure to sunlight can cause the blisters to form again.
I used to get fever blisters as a child every time I had a fever. A few days after my body had healed, I would feel my lips tingle in the corner of my mouth. Sure enough, within a day, I could see the fever blister forming. Over the past few years, I have stopped getting them after fevers. Instead, they appear each time I am overexposed to the sun. That very night the tingling starts and the next day the blister shows it’s ugly head somewhere on my lips, usually around the corners again. The last blisters I got were very severe. I was under a lot of stress from moving 1000miles away from my family and friends, having to deal with military issues, and saying goodbye for month away from my husband. Not long after he left for Officer Training School in Alabama, I developed extremely sore, dry corners of my mouth that cracked. Then, a few days later I had two large blisters in each corner. This time, the blisters lasted a long 10 or so days! I could barely open my mouth because of the crust. If I stretched the blisters, they would crack open and bleed.
Fever blisters are not curable, but there are some antiviral ointments that help treat the affected areas.
For over six years in a row Carmex has ranked highest in a survey of over-the-counter lip balms recommended by pharmacists across the nation. This product is a lip balm for dry, chapped lips. It is also great for cold sores and fever blisters. At the first tingle, apply Carmex to the entire area. It leaves the blisters moisturized and soothes the cracking. Some people claim that Carmex even shortens healing time. Carmex comes in small tubes and tubs and runs about $2 at the drugstore.
Acyclovir 5% cream, also known as Zovirax, is FDA approved for the treatment of recurrent fever blisters. Oral acyclovir, given 5 times a day for children, shortened the course from 10 days to 4 days and reduced the duration of fever, eating, and drinking difficulties. Lower doses shorten healing by about one day and had no help with pain. However, by using a higher dose and starting during the tingling phase did have a significant effect on pain and duration.
Herpecin-L is my personal favorite. It is a unique product used for the treatment, protection, and prevention of blisters. Herpecin-L, unlike some other products, helps prevent painful cracking and promotes healing without numbing or drying the area. It contains dimethicone for protection, and comes with a sunscreen to help guard against the sun’s harmful rays. When I go outside in the sun, I keep Herpecin-L on my lips! I have not had an outbreak since I began using this product!
Some other things you can do to protect yourself is to avoid contact with another person when a lesion is present. Wash hands carefully before touching another part of your body or anyone else. The virus easily spreads to other people. Don’t squeeze, pinch, or pick at the blister. It will only elongate healing times.
More than 80% of Americans carry the virus that causes fever blisters. Treating a cold sore early will help shorten the duration and will ease the pain and discomfort. Try one of the above products; all three have proven themselves worthy in my experiences!