Call it a fever blister, a cold sore, or an oral herpes simplex, if you have had one before, you would definitely be able to see the next coming. If you have never had one, then this article will help you identify the fever blister symptoms and more.
Fever blisters are those small lesions filled with fluid that appear on your lips, mouth, cheeks, or even your gums. Also known as Herpes Labialis, these blisters are caused by a virus named Herpes Simplex. There are two types of herpes simplex viruses, herpes simplex virus type 1, and herpes simplex virus type 2. Generally, oral herpes simplex or fever blisters, is caused by the type 1 virus, and type 2 virus is the one responsible for genital herpes. However, studies show that any type of herpes simplex virus, be it type 1 or 2, can be responsible for fever blisters. These blisters are contagious and can easily spread by either direct or indirect contact. Meaning that you don’t necessarily have to touch the blister to be infected, you can get the infection even by sharing the same towel, razors and other shared items. So how would you know that the red painful blister that you have is a fever blister? How can you differentiate normal blisters from fever blisters? The following section discusses the most identifiable symptoms and signs of a fever blister.
Common Symptoms of Fever Blisters
Studies reveal that almost 85% of the people across the globe have been infected by the herpes simplex type 1 virus. Speaking of fever blisters, it is considered to be one of the most common skin conditions in the United States with more than 30% of the population being affected by it. The virus can also affect the baby at birth if the mother is affected. The first outbreak may appear in an infant between 6 months to 5 years of age. Even in adults, most of the time, fever blisters appear without any prior signs and symptoms. Mentioned below are some of the most common symptoms of fever blisters. Have a look!
- Blisters with fluid
- Painful lesions
- The area around the blister goes red
Before you actually see those blisters appear on your lips, cheeks, gums or mouth, you might sense their coming. Many people sense a painful, tingling and itching sensation on the site. This is known as the prodrome, and can be an indication that the blister may appear within a day or two. After two days, you will actually see a group of small red dots forming a group on the skin surface, consequently noticing the fluid accumulation within them leading to swelling. When this happens, you may experience the following symptoms.
- Body aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Inability to eat or drink because swallowing becomes painful
- Bleeding gums
- High fever
Once the fever blisters have appeared, they may stay for many days which may be anywhere between 10-14 days. Eventually the fever blisters rupture automatically. This stage is considered to be highly contagious as the fluid or the skin contains the virus that can attack anyone in direct or indirect contact with the person. After they rupture, they take form of ulcers which tend to leak at times. As they heal, they become reddish and sore, consequently drying up and changing their color from reddish to brown. Mind you that at this stage, you might feel extremely itchy and dry. Try not to scratch the ulcer as it may bleed making the healing process all the more slow. Within a week to 10 days, the ulcers end up drying completely and the skin starts to flake off. You may still continue to feel dry and itchy on the area, but the feeling will disappear as the blisters heal completely.
Remedies and Treatment for Fever Blisters
The interesting part about the herpes simplex virus that causes fever blisters is that, it always remains in the body in a non-active stage, and it can activate itself anytime and cause the outbreak again at any point. There are many triggering factors that can cause the recurrence of fever blisters. These include stress, illness, menstruation, allergies, infections, or any kind of trauma. Though there is nothing that can be done to get rid of the virus completely, there are certain remedies that can definitely help in handling the outbreak. These remedies include application of heat and cold packs. Applying honey or aloe vera on the affected area would also prove to be of help. Speaking of fever blister medication, there are many ointments and oral antiviral medications that can be prescribed by your health care specialist after examining your symptoms properly and keeping in mind the side effects that they may cause.
It is strange but the herpes simplex virus is quite a silent predator in the body. The reason why I’m saying this is because you may actually experience no signs and symptoms of being infected till almost 20 days until the breakdown occurs. Though fever blisters are not a serious problem and they also leave no scars or marks behind, it is still necessary to be cautious when it comes to getting infected. For this, understanding the symptoms and the nature of outbreak becomes important. I hope that this article helped you understand the same up to a certain extent. Take care.