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Physician checking patient's blood pressure

Winter Health Risks: Cold Sores

According to the Mayo Clinic, over 80% of adults worldwide carry the virus responsible for causing cold sores, many of which don’t experience symptoms. Though there are many causes of cold sores – from stress to weak immunity – many aspects of the winter season make outbreaks more common during this time.

Know the signs of cold sores and what you can do to protect yourself all winter long.

 

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores are highly contagious fluid filled blisters caused by a mild form of herpes, herpes simplex virus-1 or HSV-1. Though most often seen on the outside of the mouth or lips, cold sores can also appear on the gums, nose, cheeks, and fingers.

 

Why are Cold Sores more common in the winter?

Though winter isn’t entirely to blame, many aspects of the season trigger cold sore outbreaks.

  • The winter season tends to reactivate HSV-1
  • Harsh winter air creates dry, cracked lips that are more susceptible to cold sores
  • Winter cold and flu season weakens immunity
  • Holiday plans create high stress
  • Viruses thrive in the cold, dry air

 

Cold Sore Prevention

Prevention is crucial because there is no cure for HSV-1 and once you have it symptoms are likely to reoccur. Luckily there are many ways to stay protected.

  • Avoid physical contact with areas where a cold sore is present.
  • Work to increase immune strength and lower stress
  • Cover face to avoid damage to lips from harsh winter winds

 

If you believe you have a cold sore, visit AFC Jacksonville for high-quality urgent care. We offer convenient extended hours seven days a week: Monday- Friday from 8am to 8pm and weekends from 8am to 5pm.