A cold sore, in most cases, occurs around the lip area, although there is also a possibility that this viral infection may infect the other body part areas. Cold sore is also known as fever blister—a zit-like blister caused by herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). Despite the small size, cold sores are somewhat painful and thus, need further attention.
How cold sore appears?
Cold sores are relatively small, yet painful blisters that occur around your labial area after an HSV-1 infestation. Most people experience a tingling, painful, and numb sensation of the lips former to the formation of this group of small zit-like blisters. When firstly appear, a cold sore is red and tender, but will likely change into a blistered or opened up area gradually.
Should or can a cold sore be popped?
Because of its zit-like, fluid-filled appearance, cold sores are often purposely or accidentally popped. Many patients have the urge to do this, because they are told that popping a cold sore will open it up and gradually dry it and thus, speed up the healing process.
In fact, it is advisable to not touch active cold sores. HSV-1 can easily spread to the other body parts when touched. Cold sores commonly occur near the lips and unfortunately, may spread to the eyes and worse, get into them, causing a lot of damages. Touching an active cold sore and not washing the hands afterwards may also transmit the virus into the head and scalp area, which can be a complicated problem to people with weakened immune system or suffering from auto-immune diseases, such as psoriasis and eczema.
If touching cold sores is highly not advisable, popping them is the worst thing you can choose to do. There are some reasons why you should not follow the urge to burst these blisters. First, bursting a cold sore will be painful. This is possible as the causal virus attacks the nerves beneath the skin, making them more sensitive to touch and pressure. In addition, fluid inside the blisters contains the infesting HSV-1, which may spread the blisters to your cheeks, nose, eyes, fingers, and other areas once exposed. Squeezing your cold sores thus, can spread the infesting virus from your to other people’s body, and this should be the last thing you want to do.
Cold sores or fever blisters are also classified as an open wound, especially when they do not naturally heal. When you squeeze cold blisters, you are likely to perform similar thing with one you are doing when squeezing zits. This means, you are forming an open wound while letting the infected fluid out. The tissues beneath the affected skin may also torn and thus, more permanent scars may form after the wound heals.
Related to further infection, popping a cold sore may also cause re-infection. As a matter of fact, based on various studies, once you are infected with an HSV-1, you will be suffering this through your entire lifetime. The virus, hence, stays inside your body and may cause breakouts whenever induced. When you pop a cold sore, the infesting virus will finish its course and goes back through the same nerve and repeat the infestation cycle.
What can be done to reduce the pain?
When cold sores or fever blisters are formed, you are most likely to have the urge to pop them, as they triggers tingling and burning sensation during the infestation period. Therefore, the best way to reduce this urge is by preventing the blisters from forming at all. Hence, initial treatment once you notice the early symptoms should be properly performed.
To prevent blisters from forming, cold sore cream or ointment can be applied onto the potentially-affected areas. It might be easier for you to notice the initial symptoms of cold sore if you have already suffered from it. Nevertheless, the symptoms may include tingling or numb sensation around the labial area, where the skin gets red and tender. Applying the ointment containing herpes-fighting substance, such as acylclovir will be helpful in preventing the blistering stage.
If you fail to perform this early treatment, keeping the formed blisters hydrated is one of the effective methods to prevent your natural respond to scratch the itchy and sore part. To keep cold sores hydrated, try to apply petroleum jelly to keep the blister soft. This will prevent the blisters from dehydration, cracks, or tear.
The urge to pop your cold sores may also be induced by its tingling and itchy sensation. If this is what you are experiencing, compressing the affected area with ice cubes covered with clean towel will be very helpful. This will calm the infested nerves and thus, reduce the pain and sore during the healing process.
Popping cold sores is never a good choice, as this may lead into more complicated risks. Knowing the stages of herpes infection and how to give the blisters early treatments and medication will help us go through the complete phase without any further risks and worse health effects. It is also important to keep in mind that popping herpes blisters may lead to more permanent scars and spots on your face, which will be aesthetically unattractive.
Herpes virus will stay inside your body for the rest of your life, so that maintain a good immune system is very important in preventing any further herpes breakouts. If you are suffering from an auto-immune disease, it is very important to maintain your diet plans to strengthen the immune, as weakened immune system will trigger the HSV-1 to repeat its course. If you are already suffering from an infection, be sure to wash your hands after touching any affected areas, apply required ointment and take prescribed oral medication—if required regularly, and avoid scratching, chipping, or tearing any formed blisters. Compressing those blisters with ice cubes is recommended, but never put the ice cubes directly over the affected skin. Be sure to wash your hands and any towel you used afterwards.
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