Herpes simplex infections are common and when they appear around the mouth and lips, people often refer to them as "cold sores" and "fever blisters." Canker sores are different than cold sores. Air droplets can spread the virus, as can direct contact with the fluid from the blisters. Cold sore treatment include over-the-counter medication, as well as prescription medications. Read more: Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections) Article
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Your Face: A Window Into Your Health
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Top Problems in Your Mouth
Learn about some of the most common problems in your mouth such as sores, oral cancer, TMJ, painful gums, bad breath and more.
Cold Sores Causes, Remedies, & Diagnosis
How to get rid of cold sores? First learn about the herpes virus and how it causes cold sores. When are cold sores contagious?...
Viral Infection Types, Treatment, and Prevention
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Skin Quiz: Acne, Dry Skin, Dandruff & More
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Picture of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1
A herpes virus that causes cold sores and fever blisters in and around the mouth. See a picture of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1...
Picture of Herpes Blister (Cold Sore)
Cold sores (fever blisters) are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), passed on through contact with infected skin or body...
Picture of Cold Sores Treatment
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Picture of Cold Sore and Canker Sore
Cold sores and canker sores aren't the same. See a picture of Cold Sore and Canker Sore and learn more about the health topic.
Picture of Cold Sore Between Nose and Mouth
Can a cold sore appear somewhere other than your lip? They are not as common, but cold sores can appear anywhere on the face,...
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Multiple, very pruritic, erythematous papules, vesicles (“dewdrops on a rose petal”), and crusted papules on erythematous,...
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Eczema herpeticum. See a picture of Eczema Herpeticum and learn more about the health topic.
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Picture of Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)
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Related Disease Conditions
Canker sores are a common complaint, and are small ulcers on the inside of the mouth. Canker sores aren't contagious (as opposed to cold sores), and typically last for 10-14 days usually healing without scarring. A variety of things cause canker sores, for example, medications (aspirin, beta-blockers, NSAIDs, high blood pressure medication, and antibiotics); injury to the mouth from dental work, braces, or sports accidents; acidic foods; allergies; and diseases or conditions like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and lupus. Canker sores can be cure with home remedies, and prescription and OTC topical and oral medication.
Swollen Lymph Nodes (Glands)
Lymph nodes help the body's immune system fight infections. Causes of swollen lymph nodes (glands) may include infection (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasites). Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes vary greatly, but may include fever, night sweats, toothache, sore throat, or weight loss. Causes of swollen lymph nodes also vary, but may include cancer, the common cold, mono, chickenox, HIV, and herpes. The treatment of swollen lymph nodes depends upon the cause.
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
There are a variety of diseases and conditions that can cause tongue problems, discoloration, and soreness. Though most tongue problems are not serious. Conditions such as leukoplakia, oral thrush, and oral lichen planus may cause a white tongue while Kawasaki syndrome, scarlet fever, and geographic tongue may cause the tongue to appear red. A black hairy tongue may be caused by overgrown papillae on the tongue. Canker sores, smoking, and trauma may cause soreness of the tongue.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Pimple vs. Cold Sore
Pimples are areas of skin inflammation with pus in the center. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters. Pimples are caused by bacterial overgrowth and inflammation. Cold sores are caused by infection with herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Benzoyl peroxide and sometimes antibiotics treat acne. Antiviral medications accelerate the healing process of oral herpes.
Genital Herpes in Women (Symptoms, Signs, Treatment)
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms of genital herpes include painful blisters and often fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes for first time infection. Genital herpes is diagnosed with lab tests to test for the presence of the virus. Treatment for genital herpes includes antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the outbreak or reduce the risk of future outbreaks. There is no cure for genital herpes. Condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Bell's Palsy (Facial Nerve Problems) Paralysis Causes and Treatments
Bell's palsy is one type of facial nerve paralysis. The 7th cranial nerve controls the muscles of the face, and although scientists do not know the exact cause of Bell's palsy, they think it may be due to nerve damage from an infection, for example, the flu, common cold viruses, and more serious infections like meningitis. The symptoms of Bell's palsy vary from person to person, but can include mild weakness to total paralysis, dry eye, dry mouth, eyelid drooping, drooling, mouth drooping, dry mouth, changes in taste, and excessive tearing in one eye. People with Bell's palsy usually don't need medical treatment, however, drugs like steroids, for example, prednisone seem to be effective in reducing swelling and inflammation are used when medical is necessary. Most people with Bell's palsy begin to recover within two weeks after the initial onset of symptoms. Full recovery may take three to six months.
Are Skin Rashes Contagious?
Direct and indirect contact can spread some types of rashes from person to person. Rash treatment depends upon a rash's underlying cause. A rash that sheds large amounts of skin warrants urgent medical attention. Rashes can be either contagious or noncontagious. Noncontagious rashes include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, psoriasis, nummular eczema, drug eruptions, hives, heat rash (miliaria), and diaper rash. Rashes usually considered contagious include molluscum contagiosum (viral), impetigo (bacterial), herpes (herpes simplex, types 1 and 2 viruses), rash caused by Neisseria meningitides (N. meningitides) (bacterial), rash and blisters that accompany shingles (herpes zoster virus), ringworm (fungal) infections (tinea), scabies (itch mite), chickenpox (viral), measles and rubella (viral), erythema infectiosum (viral), pityriasis rosea (viral), cellulitis and erysipelas (bacterial), lymphangitis (bacterial, and folliculitis (bacterial).
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. The flu may be prevented with an annual influenza vaccination.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Herpes Viral Infections of the Eye
Herpes of the eye occurs due to herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). Symptoms of herpes of the eye include pain in and around the eye, rash or sores on the eyelids, redness, swelling, and cloudiness of the cornea.
A ganglion is a fluid-filled cyst that forms from the joint or tendon lining. Ganglia are most frequently found in the ankles and wrists and are usually painless. A ganglion often resolves on its own. Aspiration of the ganglion fluid or surgery may be necessary.
Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury. The depth and size of the wound incision and the location of the injury impact the scar's characteristics, but your age, heredity and even sex or ethnicity will affect how your skin reacts.
Miscarriage is the medical term for the spontaneous loss of pregnancy from conception to 20 weeks gestation. Risk factors for a woman having a miscarriage include cigarette smoking, older maternal age, radiation exposure, previous miscarriage, maternal weight, illicit drug use, use of NSAIDs, and trauma or anatomical abnormalities to the uterus. There are five classified types of miscarriage: 1) threatened abortion; 2) incomplete abortion; 3) complete abortion; 4) missed abortion; and (5 septic abortion. While there are no specific treatments to stop a miscarriage, a woman's doctor may advise avoiding certain activities, bed rest, etc. If a woman believes she has had a miscarriage, she needs to seek prompt medical attention.
Are Cold Sores (Fever Blisters) Contagious?
About 20% of cases of cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and approximately 80% of cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Cold sores are transmitted by sharing utensils and razors, kissing, and oral sex. There is no cure for cold sores.
Genital Warts in Men (HPV)
The HPV virus (genital warts) in men can cause health problems. Genital warts are confined primarily to the moist skin of the genitals or around the anus. Genital warts are caused by the human papillomaviruses (HPVs), which are transmitted through sexual contact.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- acyclovir cream - topical, Zovirax
- valacyclovir - oral, Valtrex
- Valtrex (valacyclovir)
- acyclovir, Zovirax
- Over-the-Counter Products
- Valtrex (valacyclovir) vs. Zovirax (acyclovir)
- famciclovir, Famvir
- docosanol - topical, Abreva
- Zovirax (acyclovir) vs. Abreva (docosanol)
- Valtrex (valacyclovir) vs. Famvir (famciclovir)
- lidocaine - topical, Lidamantle, Xylocaine
- benzocaine spray - mucous membrane, HurriCaine
- pramoxine (Itch-X, PrameGel, Orax, Sarna Sensitive, and Others)
- penciclovir cream - topical, Denavir
- Valtrex (valacyclovir) vs. Abreva (docosanol)
- Valtrex (valacyclovir) vs. Valcyte (valganciclovir)
Prevention & Wellness
- Herpes Viruses Can Reactivate In Astronauts While in Space: Study
- Health Tip: Cold Sores 101
- Could Herpes Virus Help Cause Alzheimer's?
- Mother Advocates for Newborn Safety After a Kiss Leads to Her Baby's Death
- Health Tip: Coping With Cold Sores
- Psoriasis, Cold Sores Most Stigmatized Skin Disorders: Survey
- Many Americans Under 50 Living With Cold Sore Virus
- Genital Herpes Vaccine Shows Promise in Mouse Study
- Health Tip: What Causes a Cold Sore?
- Studies Link Cold Sore Virus to Alzheimer's Risk
- Cold Sore Virus Active Without Symptoms, Study Finds
- Frequent Cold Sores Tied to Genetic Mutation in Study
- Immune Cell Discovery May One Day Lead to Herpes Vaccine: Study
- Could Herpes Virus Affect Memory in Older Adults?
- Millions of Americans Have an STD: Report
- Ritual in Some Jewish Circumcisions Raises Risk of Herpes Infection: Report
- Gene May Be Linked to Frequent Cold Sores
- New Hope Against the Cold Sore Virus