What Are Cold Sores?
A cold sore is a blister on the lip or around the mouth. This blister is usually swollen, red and inflamed, and can be painful. Other names are oral herpes, mouth herpes, herpes simplex labialis or a fever blister. These lesions can appear alone, or in small clusters, and when they break, a clear fluid often leaks and then the blister will scab over. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, known as HSV and can appear around the mouth, as well as in the genital region. In the United States, more than 50 percent of adults have oral herpes, which is typically due to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). A closely related herpes simplex virus, HSV-2, causes most cases of genital herpes. But either HSV-1 or HSV-2 can cause a cold sore on the mouth area or in the genital region. Unfortunately, this condition is highly contagious and can be transmitted very easily when the infected area is touched. Cold sores are easy to diagnose and treatment by our board-certified dermatologists will ensure they are cleared up fast and effectively.
Understanding Cold Sores
Some individuals, who have the herpes simplex virus, may never get a cold sore or fever blister. However, the virus that causes the cold sores cannot be cured so once an individual is infected with the virus, it stays in the body for the rest of their life. While some may never show symptoms, others will have cold sores or blisters appear unexpectedly or without much warning. Those who have been infected should adhere to the following protocol to help prevent ongoing or unexpected breakouts:
- Avoid things that trigger cold sores, two most common are fatigue and UV light.
- Always use lip balm with spf to keep your lips moist and protected
- Wear sunscreen as too much sun exposure can cause blisters to flair-up
- Do not share items that could spread the virus, such as lipstick, razors, straws, toothbrushes, etc.
- Wash your hands often
- Discuss how often you have breakouts so that you can be assessed for oral medication to prevent future outbreaks
Those diagnosed with HSV-1 should communicate to their partners that they carry this virus so that their partner can be made aware. Kissing and saliva exchange is one of the most common ways to transmit this condition. Our expert dermatologists will educate you on both types herpes simplex virus and treat you appropriately.
Cold Sores Reviews
"I have had 2 recent visits to "Snyderma Dermatology." My first appointment was a skin check to look for skin cancer, suspicious moles, etc. I saw the third doctor in the practice, Dr. A (can't remember her full name but she's the only Dr. whose last name isn't Snyder). Great experience, she took a thorough look at my whole body, measured a couple of larger freckles and moles and recommended I return in 6 months to re-measure and make sure the spots aren't growing. We discussed my options around removing a mole on my neck and she was very informative with no pressure. I expressed a desire to learn more about skin care treatments to prevent signs of aging. We talked briefly about some options and she recommended I come in to see Rachel, their aesthetician, for a complimentary visit, where I could learn more about products and procedures. This was fine by me because that is exactly what I wanted. My second visit was scheduled a week later. Rachel was right on time and very friendly. She spent close to an hour with me and was very informative. She wanted to know my concerns and goals and tailored her advice to those. She did not push products or services, and was very open with pricing. I loved my time with her. I purchased several products, which I had intended to do, that's why I came in. I was happy to hear that the soap and sunscreen I buy at Target are good products (yay for saving money there). Couple random notes: Yes, the staff is pretty and glamorous. I would hope so, as they are there to talk about having nice skin. They are also friendly. You do have to pay to park in the garage, this did not faze me. On the topic of Retin-A: yes, you can get a prescription for it. No, your insurance will not pay for it and it will cost you full price, not your prescription co-pay. Insurance will typically only pay for for Retin-A under 2 conditions: 1- you are under 18 and treating acne or 2- you have a Diagnosable skin condition such as Rosacea, and can show that you have tried other, less expensive medications to treat it. There is no way any insurance company is going to pony up the cash to pay for Retin-A for cosmetic reasons. Trust me, I've been down that road many times. So buying a retinol product from the office does not end up being more expensive that Retin-A. Also, Retin-A has a high concentration of retinol and it is better to start at a lower concentration (to see how your skin tolerates it) and work your way up. Great experience, I am planning to go back."- W.H. / Yelp / Jun 16, 2011
"Dr. Renee Snyder isn't cold. She's awesome. She has a dry sense of humor that I find hilarious. She puts you at ease with her professional, calm demeanor. The biopsy of my moles barely registered, pain-wise, and it was over quickly. She's very upfront and direct about medical information, and was patient with the questions I had. I wouldn't go anywhere else. Oh, and if you are not a high-maintenance, high-style kinda gal, don't be put off by the fancy office and pretty office staff...they are very helpful and accepting of everyone...makeup and stilettos or not."- S.T. / Yelp / Mar 25, 2012
"One evening I was getting ready for bed, scratched my back, and came away with blood. I looked in the mirror and saw a mole that looked exactly like all the ones that I'd seen in brochures of what moles aren't supposed to look like. I researched dermatologists, called Dr. Snyder's office, and set up an appointment as soon as possible. Dr. Snyder did a full skin check, confirming that the mole was really funky looking, and did a punch biopsy straight away. Just under a week later I got a phone call from her confirming that it was a melanoma, and we made an appointment for a wide local excision. I had another atypical mole excised a few months post-melanoma surgery, and since then I've had regular skin checks and several biopsies. Dr. Snyder really knows her stuff, and her professional demeanor and ability to answer all of my questions in a straightforward way puts me at ease. She's friendly and nice, but she's more focused on the task at hand than trying to be my bestie. Given most of my appointments with her have involved wearing nothing but a hospital gown and/or being cut open, professionalism and efficiency are key. The office is clean and bright and the staff are super nice. Parking isn't free and there's a bit of a dipsydoodle to get from the parking garage down to the lobby to go up to the 4th floor, but I'm really happy to have found a doctor I can trust."- M.F. / Yelp / May 01, 2012
"I looked around in Dallas and Austin for a dermatologist I could trust and visited a few different doctors before I finally found myself in Dr. Snyder's office. She is the only dermatologist I've found who talks to you like a real person. She understood that I was kind of scared about having weird moles - who isn't scared these days, the way the media totally freaks us out - and she talked me through every procedure. Her office staff were really down to earth too, it is a very nice office but doesn't feel intimidating. I would be comfortable going there with any concerns. Also as a total plus these days, they are completely flexible to helping you figure out insurance.....def not something every office is willing to deal with."- A.C. / Yelp / May 08, 2015
"Dr Snyder was very kind to my 80 year old mother who was there for a skin check. She spoke directly to my mother, which was much appreciated by my mother and by me. Some professionals talk to me about my mother when the appointment is for my mother. Dr Snyder was thorough and efficient when looking at skin lesions and moles. She froze several moles off and did a biopsy on one. All of this took no more than 30 minutes. All of the instruments needed for treatment were right there, ready to use and so we didn't have to wait while the equipment was accessed. I was very impressed by Dr Snyder and by her office staff. Will recommend her highly."- C.P. / ZocDoc / Jun 22, 2015
How to Treat Cold Sores
Cold sores usually go away on their own within a few days. However, if they are visible on the lip or near the mouth, this can be embarrassing, and also painful. Our dermatology office can assist to speed up the healing process by prescribing antibiotics, skin creams, and ointments. Treatment by a dermatologist can help speed up the healing faster, but often it just takes time. There are numerous over-the-counter ointments that have proven to be effective as well. If you get cold sores often, we will discuss treatment options based on outbreak frequency and severity.
Plan Your Procedure
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Schedule Your Consult Today!
Getting a cold sore is never fun, and at Snyder Dermatology in Austin, TX, we understand you want it controlled fast and effectively. We will work with you to diagnose the condition and then create a treatment plan so that future outbreaks are kept to a minimum. Call our office to learn more and schedule your appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists.