COLD SORES, FEVER BLISTERS, CANKER SORES: What’s the scoop on Herpes Labialis?

It’s not one of the more glamorous topics in dermatology and no one wants to talk about it. It’s much more common than you think. The truth is over 50% of the… US population when tested for the virus, comes back positive.

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 is the most common cause of Herpes Labialis. The virus causes groups of small, fluid-filled blisters to form upon the lips and surrounding areas. These blisters eventually break open and leave a sore with an overlying crust, which usually will heal within 2-3 weeks if left untreated. For anyone who has ever had one of these bad boys, they can be incredibly embarrassing and detrimental to your social life. The virus is passed via close personal contact, so kissing and sexual contact during an outbreak are not recommended. While the virus can deactivate when exposed at room temperature or by drying up, sharing utensils, drinking glasses, etc. during an active infection is not recommended.

Treatment is easy and most often effective. While the virus cannot be cured and remains dormant in the system until an outbreak, the active lesion can be resolved much quicker than if treatment was not received. Valacyclovir (Valtrex) is my personal preference when it comes to treating Herpes Labialis. It’s a short 2 day course of pills as recommended by the FDA. If the medication is taken at the earliest possible sign of outbreak, the physical signs of the eruption can be diminished significantly and the length of that specific outbreak shortens notably. If you’ve suffered from this, visit us at Chelsea Skin & Laser and we can help. It’s an absolute game changer.

Dominic Moccia, RPA-C

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