Fever blisters are painful lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus. They generally appear on the lips, but occasionally can occur on the gums and roof of the mouth. Although there is no cure for the disorder, coating the sores with a protective ointment containing an anti-viral agent is recommended.

MOUTH SORES

Two of the most common recurrent oral lesions are fever blisters (also known as cold sores) and canker sores. Fever blisters are fluid-filled blisters that commonly occur on the lips. They also can occur on the gums and roof of the mouth (hard palate), but this is rare. Fever blisters are usually painful; pain may precede the appearance of the lesion by a few days.  The blisters rupture within hours, then crust over. They last about seven to ten days.

Fever blisters result from a herpes simplex virus that becomes active. This virus is latent (dormant) in afflicted people, but can be activated by conditions, such as stress, fever, trauma, hormonal changes, and exposure to sunlight. When lesions reappear, they tend to form in the same location.

From  the time the blister ruptures,until the sore is completely healed is the time of greatest risk for spread of infection. The virus can spread to the afflicted person’s eyes and genitalia, as well as to other people.

Treatment consists of coating the lesions with a protective barrier ointment containing an antiviral agent, for example 5% acyclovir ointment. While there is no cure now, scientists are working on trying to develop one and hopefully fever blisters will be a curable disorder in the future.

 
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