A cold sore is symptomized by small blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). (1) They may also be called fever blisters or herpes simplex labialis. Maybe up to 90% of people in the world have at least one form of HSV. (1) Two strains of the virus cause cold sores: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can cause sores on the body or even the genitals and spread by oral sex. (2)
Cold sores can be contracted from other people carrying the virus by contacting or sharing personal belongings, utensils, towels and razors, etc. Other causes such as stress, fever, allergies, colds, fatigue, kissing, particular foods, sunburn, contact with infected dental equipment, fever or menstruation may also trigger cold sores.
Symptoms of Cold sores
These may appear 20 days post the infection or when the virus enters the body. Usually, the fluid-filled lesions appear outside the mouth and the lips first. Red swollen glands on the neck and muscle aches are also common. The stages of infection are clear:
- A tingling, burning or itching feeling.
- The area becomes red and swollen, and blisters appear.
- For 2-3 days then, the blisters burst, causing the fluid to flow out.
- Stage 4 is marked by scab formation on the sore, which may crack or bleed.
- Finally, the scab falls off. (1)
Acyclovir in the treatment of cold sores
Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications known as synthetic nucleoside analogues. It is a highly potent inhibitor of the herpes simplex virus (HSV), types 1 and 2, and varicella-zoster virus in the body. One of the best ways to get rid of a cold sore quickly is to take acyclovir as soon as the symptoms are first noticed. It should be used as soon as possible to speed up the healing process and rapidly remove cold sores.
The dosage of acyclovir may be: for Adults, the dosage is 2000 milligrams (mg) every 12 hours for one day. Children 12 years of age and above may be given 2000 milligrams (mg) every 12 hours for one day. Products containing acyclovir may be available as Zovirax or Sitavig. Sitavig (acyclovir tablet) is only for use in treating cold sores on the lips. It does not treat genital herpes. (3)
Precautions while taking acyclovir drugs should be taken. Suppose a person is under medication for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, or pain or arthritis. In that case, the usage of acyclovir can harm the kidneys.
Specific instructions accompany the administration of the acyclovir drugs:
- Do not crush, chew, suck on or swallow the tablet. Place the flat side of the tablet against the upper gum, on the same side of the mouth as the cold sore. Eat and drink normally while the tablet is in the mouth.
- The buccal tablet should not be given to a child to prevent choking.
- The oral suspension should be shaken well before using and measured with the measuring device provided.
- Consult the doctor for dosage, as it is related to the person’s weight, especially teenagers and children.
- Drink plenty of water while taking medicine to flush out the kidneys.
- Take medicine as prescribed. Overdosing or skipping doses is not advisable.
- Store the medicine at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. (3)
Acyclovir is thus an antiviral drug. It will not cure the herpes virus but lessen the symptoms of the infection. (3) Administration of acyclovir may cause some side effects at times as bruising or purpling or red pinpoint spots under the skin, changes in behaviour, confusion, hallucinations, mild signs of kidney dysfunction as little or no urination or pain during urination, swelling of feet or ankles or shortness of breath, headaches or diarrhoea. It is imperative to build your immunity, sleep well and wear lip balm with sunscreen to prevent cold sores. Get in touch with the doctor when if mild symptoms appear.
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Anzen Export’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical team strive to provide relevant information through such articles. To be best informed, we advise consulting a doctor about an ingredient or medicine before taking it.