Welcome to Qoctor’s online doctor service which can provide assessment, advice and treatment for cold sores.
First our online doctor will ask you some questions about your health.
Once you’ve been assessed, treatment may be recommended- you can then opt to have a paper prescription sent to your home or local pharmacy, or medication delivered to an address of your choice, from one of our partner pharmacies.
About Cold Sores
Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV1), which is spread by skin to skin contact. About 1 in 5 people have cold sores that flare up from time to time. They usually get better without treatment in 7-10 days, though sometimes antiviral creams or tablets may be used to ease symptoms.
FAQs about HSV1 & treatment for cold sores
- Cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, otherwise known as HSV1.
- HSV2 is a similar virus which usually causes genital herpes, but rarely can also cause cold sores around the mouth.
- Cold sores are spread by skin to skin contact, such as kissing someone who has an active cold sore.
- The first infection may not cause any symptoms, but may be triggered later.
- Cold sores can be triggered by stress, fatigue, viral illness, strong UV/sunlight exposure or during menstruation.
- Cold sores are spread by skin to skin contact
- If you have active cold sores you should avoid newborn babies, elderly, or anyone with a weak immune system (e.g on chemotherapy)
- If you have no active cold sores, you’re not usually infectious to others.
- No, usually not.
- The diagnose tends to be obvious, based on history and the appearance of the lesions
- However, if there’s any doubt, your GP can perform a swab.
• Not usually. People with recurring cold sores occasionally worry that there’s something wrong with their immune system, or that they’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral. But cold sores are very common, and most people who get them are otherwise perfectly well.
• Sometimes tiredness or another viral illness can make you more prone to cold sore flare ups
• If you’re worried, speak to your doctor- they may recommend some general blood tests to check for an underlying cause.
• Usually no particular medication for cold sores is recommended- they naturally get better over 7-10 days.
• There is some general advice when you have active cold sores, such as avoid touching the cold sores; wash hands regularly especially after applying creams or before putting in your contact lenses; and don’t share lip balm or sunscreen.
• Over the counter painkillers like Panadol and Nurofen, or topical anaesthetic gels (e.g Lidocaine) may be helpful for pain/discomfort.
• Antiviral Creams can be bought at your pharmacy- these do not kill the virus but prevent it from multiplying which may reduce symptoms a little.
• Oral antiviral medication may reduce the severity of symptoms. This approach may be appropriate if you have severe or frequent cold sores, or a weakened immune system for some reason.
Health Library- Cold Sores (HSV1)
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