Fever blisters are caused by the HZV (herpes zoster virus) and it is usually referred to as cold sores that develop on the gums, lips and both on the inside and outside of the mouth. It usually manifests as blisters that are filled with a fluid and can be quite painful. These sores are very contagious and can easily spread from person to person. Canker sores are different from fever blisters. Canker sores are caused by bacterial infection and develop only on the inside of the mouth and are not contagious.
The Cause Of Fever Blisters:
Fever blisters are caused by a low immune system and can recur repeatedly. There are two known kinds of herpes zoster virus that can cause fever blisters but Type 1 is the most common:
- Type 1 or HZV 1
- Type 2 or HZV 2.
Signs and Symptoms of Fever Blisters:
- Body Pain
- Enlarged Lymph Nodes
The 5 Stages of Fever Blisters
The fever blister outbreak usually lasts 9 to 12 days and pass through 5 stages:
1. Prodome Stage (Day 1 to Day 2) is the initial stage when the infected person will feel severe burning and itching in and around the mouth. Day 1 to 2
2. Blister Stage (Day 2 to Day 3) is when fluid-filled blisters erupt inside and around the mouth.
3. Weeping Stage (Day 4 to Day 5) is the most painful stage when the blisters ulcerate or rupture and turn into open sores. – : when the blisters rupture or ulcerate resulting in open sores that are highly contagious.
4. Crusting Stage (Day 5 to Day 8) is when the open sores finally dry up and form a crust, which eventually fall off.
5. Healing Stage (Day 9 to Day 12) is when the crusts flake off and the sores show signs of complete healing.
Home Remedies for Fever Blisters:
To cure fever blisters you must consult a medical doctor and take oral medications along with oral ointments. However, there are some home cures for fever blisters that are extremely effective in taking care of the symptoms and are helpful in reducing the course of fever blisters. Home remedies for fever blisters are also successful in curbing recurrent outbreaks.
1. Ice packs: Apply an ice pack in the initial stage (for 5 min every hour) to avoid formation of blisters. Ice packs can be used even after formation of blisters to soothe the pain.
2. Aloe vera: Cut the long aloe vera leaf into two and remove the gel and apply it on the blisters. You may also use aloe vera extract.
3. Tea Bags: Place tea bags on the affected area twice a day. The tannic acid content in tea bags can effectively prevent formation of blisters.
4. Honey: Apply some honey directly on the fever blisters. Honey contains anti-viral properties that can reduce the duration of the painful stages of the blisters and completely cure the sores.
5. Diet: include more foods which are rich in Vitamin B and folic acid. Avoid foods that have arginine. Eg. Chocolate, whole grain, oatmeal and nuts. Also avoid salty and spicy foods and coffee.