Are Cold Sores Herpes? If you find some on your face, herpes test is mandatory without any leniency. Let me explain.
Cold sores are a group of small fluid filled blisters that usually appear around your lips and nose. Practically they can come out of the skin anywhere on the body of the infected person, but the most frequent place will be somewhere around your lips only. Cold sores are not a temporary infection that goes away on its own but it is something more serious than this. You think the infection clears out on its own and once the cold sores disappear, there is no virus living there. But the truth is that cold sores can be a symbol of ever lasting infection- herpes. The virus which you think is gone stays in your body forever, but in a dormant stage. It can practically become active and the sores will reappear whenever the herpes simplex virus feels like. It is not rare to see it on your own face or on someone else’s. But we take it for granted as they disappear gradually after slight discomfort and pain. Have you ever thought of what is the reason behind these sores. I am sure nobody bothers even to visit the doctor until it is really painful. Because we know they are common. They will come and will also go away soon. Nobody suspects anything serious in these. We all take them lightly and have a tendency to let it go. The same thing I also did till things were bearable. One morning I woke up and as a regular practice took my toothbrush in hand. The moment I looked into the mirror, I was literally shocked. I was feeling slight pain near my lips last evening but I ignored it. But I never imagined the pain would turn into something like this.
There were ugly sores around my lips. It was so awful that I myself was finding difficult to look at. Although it was just a blister, I was not comfortable with the idea of going out with this. I tried to cover it with a lip balm but I realized it was not so small and was clearly visible despite of all my efforts of hiding it. I convinced myself that it is just a minor mark and somehow managed to go out. While having lunch I found it difficult to open my mouth. The pain was increasing with time. I slept that night after applying a softener thrice just to reduce the pain. But the truth was that it was not doing any help.
Next morning I thought things will be better but woke up with even more intense pain and spreading sores. If it was only the blisters I would have waited for some more time, but the pain was so intense that I could not resist a visit to my doctor. As I entered the cabin, my doctor saw my lips and instantly started asking a lot of questions like was it the first time I got this kind of infection on my face and many more. I was not taking it as serious as the doctor was, it was only the pain that took me there. After his queries he declared it was Herpes. I could not have imagined such a small thing can turn into a lifetime disease. But the reality was it was herpes and that made me serious. All of us have a habit of ignoring these infections taking them as small and unimportant. That day if I had not visited the doctor I also would have done the same. It was not such a small word. I knew what it actually was. It was herpes, a lifetime disease, a virus that was almost impossible to get rid of. I asked the doctor once again to confirm whether he was sure really sure. And if yes then how is it possible, I mean from where did I get it?
He then explained me that anyone can get cold sores by using a toothbrush belonging to an infected person, or sharing infected crockery and cutlery such as spoons, forks, cups or drinking vessels or sharing food in the same plate with an infected person. Small acts like kissing a person with a cold sores can lead to transfer of the virus to your body, and sometimes even when nothing is visible, usually just after the sores clear away, the transmission can take place from any form of direct contact. The ultimate thing I was left with was to face reality as it is, not as it was or as I wish it to be. This made me really worried and asked him what is next. He only gave a prescription slip and told me to hope it does not return soon. HSV invades the cells of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, causing fluid-filled blisters to appear. Most commonly, herpes simplex affects the lips or nasal region, causing cold sores. I don’t know how many of us simply live with the virus for entire life and don’t even know exactly what we are bearing. That day I realized how important the herpes test was. But a question worried me more- “Are cold sores herpes?”
Any kind of cold sores are not to be taken for granted and they only point in one direction- that is herpes. Acceptance is important as running in other direction do not change the reality. It is a common belief that sore near lips and mouth are caused by the virus we call HSV type-1. But now it has been seen the same can also be caused on being infected by the other type of the same virus. This one is called HSV Type-2 and in 90% of the cases it is responsible for genital herpes. It is caused by a specific type of the herpes simplex virus named as herpes type 1 virus. This kind of herpes causes painful sores on the lips, gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks, and sometimes on the face and neck. Occasionally, but it may cause genital lesions. Having a herpes test makes it clear whether you are suffering from it or not and if yes, which type of herpes is it.
Do your herpes test yourself
You can test for herpes at first on your own. Examine the cold sores carefully and try to see whether they have some type of fluid filled in them. Look out for some commonly occurring symptoms of herpes that will bother you along with cold sores. The first symptoms of cold sores may include pain around your mouth and on your lips, a fever, a sore throat, or swollen glands in your neck or other parts of the body. I hope you have got the hint about your question- “Are cold sores herpes?”
Small children sometimes drool before cold sores appear. After the blisters appear, the cold sores usually break open, leak a clear fluid, and then crust over and disappear after several days to 2 weeks. For some people, cold sores can be very painful. Some people have the virus but don’t get cold sores. When you see any of the above declared symptoms occurring with your own self, do not delay your visit to the doctor any more and have an instant herpes test. It is important to figure out whether it is herpes or something else. If you have it for the first time, it will be a real trouble. Subsequent outbreaks will be lighter than the initial one, but, for the very first infection you will need a doctors help for sure. Leaving the cold sores untreated may lead to many complications, be it the first episode or any other instance of the herpes virus becoming active. It is hence a good idea of getting the tests done for herpes diagnosis. Once you reach the clinic, the doctor will generally have a fair idea just by asking a few questions, but just to be double sure he will arrange some herpes test for you.
How to test for Herpes?
The diagnosis of herpes is easier when the infection is still present, which is why we ask to visit the doctor as soon as you see the cold sores and do not ignore them. There are three general methods for detecting the disease. One is testing the swab sample of fluid from the infected area. But if results are negative it does not necessarily indicate the absence of herpes. Confirmation is more likely if the patient has subsequent recurrences. This type of herpes test involves taking a tissue sample or scraping of the sores for examination in the laboratory. The sample will then be investigated for the presence of herpes simplex virus. If it is present, by bad luck you have herpes but if does not show the presence of any viral infection, you will still not land in safe zone. Some other tests will be done to confirm that it is not herpes. Another common way of herpes test is polymerase chain reaction test. Polymerase chain reaction is used to copy your DNA from a sample of your blood, tissue from a sore or from your spinal fluid. The DNA can then be tested to establish the presence of HSV. With this test you can be quite sure and determine exactly which type of herpes infection you have- herpes type 1 or herpes type2.
The last type of herpes test is called “herpes blood test”. It is the blood test which detects herpes infection that might have occurred in past by looking for HSV antibodies present in blood. Blood tests can also be used to find out if a person is infected or not. However, blood tests may miss very recent infections, if you are late in reporting to the doctor, then blood test is the most reliable way to know the exact condition.
It is always advised to prevent yourself from this incurable disease. But, what if you are already caught by the same… At first, get the herpes test done and know about the exact name and magnitude of virus and then go for treatments. There are many beauty products, which I too have tried myself but they all are mere temporary hiding tools and not cure. To get rid of these frequent cold sores you need to kick the herpes virus out of your body permanently. And if we talk about sore on tongue then topical ointments and salves are of no use if a person has cold sores on the tongue. Therefore, the only choice you are left with is painkillers together with oral antiviral medication. However some homeopathic sprays are available in market as an alternative. Be it normal allergy acting behind the scenes, or it is the deadly herpes simplex virus, you have to be sure in order to save you future and in case you have herpes, future of others too. Knowing whether you have herpes or not is really important and urgent too as you can pass it to others without realizing what you are actually doing. Hence, I am suggesting you to have herpes test as soon as possible without even a single minute delay as it will not only affect you but the people surrounding you too can get infected.