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Cold Sores (Herpes Labialis)

What causes cold sores? Cold sores (aka Herpes Labialis) are caused by HSV-1.  It can remain latent in people for many years before an outbreak is triggered by events such as emotional stress, sun exposure or illness.)  The HSV virus is generally spread by close personal contact on mucosal surfaces of through small cracks in the skin. What do cold sores look like? Prior to the cold sore presenting, you may feel a burning or tingling pain at the site.  Shortly afterward, tiny bumps will form on the skin; the bumps then turn into vesicles (blisters) and may be surrounded by redness on the skin.  The cold sore will typically last 3-7 days. How are cold sores treated? The best treatment for cold sores is a prescription anti-viral pill.  The most common pill is called Valtrex.  Valtrex and other prescription anti-viral pills are much more effective than over-the-counter alternatives, such as Abreva.

Schweiger Dermatology

110 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022

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