Zovirax is an antiviral for use on the skin. It is used to treat cold sores, a viral infection occurring on the lips.
When treatment is started at the first sign (tingle) of a cold sore, it prevents the cold sore from appearing. It can also limit the severity of cold sores and speed up the healing process.
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are a very common illness caused by the Herpes Simplex virus (HSV).
Cold sores usually occur on or around the lip, or nose. Unless there is a secondary infection, cold sores usually clear up within 10 days, and do not leave a scar.
The virus remains in the body and cold sores may recur if the person is stressed, tired, feverish or injured. Exposure to sun or wind can also trigger the cold sores. Cold sores are contagious, especially by direct contact, eg. Kissing. Cold sores are usually preceded by a feeling of tingling, burning, itching, or numbness in the spot where the cold sore is developing. As the cold sore becomes visible, small red spots and fluid blisters appear. There usually merge together into what looks like one sore.
What are the symptoms?
The primary infection can progress in different ways. Some people only have very mild symptoms or none at all. The first outbreak starts one to three weeks after the virus has been contracted. It subsides spontaneously within a few weeks. Later, if HSV is reactivated, the blisters will return
The first symptom of an outbreak is an unpleasant tingling feeling in the skin. After a short while, a number of fluid-filled blisters appear
The sores become covered by scabs which typically fall off after eight to ten days. The virus can spread until the sores are completely covered by scabs.
Around 20 per cent of the people with HSV antibodies have recurrent attacks of cold sores throughout their lives.
In children, the virus can infect the mouth and throat (gingivostomatitis herpetica acuta). The infection may be accompanied by a fever and general aches and pains.
What can be done to prevent cold sores?
*Use sunscreen so the virus is not reactivated by exposure to the sun.
*Avoid astringents on the cold sore.
*Remember that the cold sore is very contagious
*Avoid passing it on through kissing and using others peoples towels, face flannels, etc.
*Don't touch eyes with fingers after touching cold sores.
*Catch the cold sore early next time. Have Zovirax on hand, ready to use at the first tingle.