Home > Health A – Z > Cold Sore

Cold Sore (Oral Herpes)

A type of herpes simplex. An outbreak typically causes small blisters or sores on or around the mouth. The sores typically heal within 2-3 weeks, but the herpes virus remains, periodically reactivating (in symptomatic people) to create sores in the same area of the mouth or face.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Interventions for the prevention and treatment of herpes simplex virus in patients being treated for cancer

Treatment of cancer is increasingly effective, but associated with oral complications such as mucositis, fungal infections, bacterial infections and viral infections such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral complications can impact severely on quality of life and may lead to life‐threatening systemic infection. Infection with HSV can cause pain and blistering on or around the lips and within the mouth. Orofacial lesions are most commonly caused by HSV type 1. Aciclovir and other antiviral drugs such as valaciclovir, famiciclovir and penciclovir, have been widely used to treat HSV‐related conditions. Recurrent HSV type 1 infection in patients who are immunocompromised due to treatment for cancer may be more aggressive, painful and slower to heal. These more extensive lesions often require much longer treatment and leave the patient more susceptible to developing drug‐resistant strains of HSV. This review of 17 trials found evidence that aciclovir is efficacious in the prevention and treatment of HSV infections, in terms of preventing clinical/culture positive HSV infections, reduction in healing time, duration of viral shedding and relief of pain. There is no evidence that valaciclovir is more efficacious than aciclovir, or that a high dose of valaciclovir is better than a low dose of valaciclovir. There is evidence that for prevention, placebo is more efficacious than prostaglandin E. However, in all included trials, risk of bias is unclear. No trials reported on duration of hospital stay, amount of analgesia or patient quality of life.

Effectiveness of antiviral agents for the prevention of recurrent herpes labialis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to complete a systematic review and, if possible, a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of systemic and topical nucleoside antiviral agents in the prevention of recurrent herpes labialis (RHL) in immunocompetent subjects.

A spray containing ipratropium bromide administered into the nose to treat common cold symptoms

The common cold is caused by a range of viruses and bacteria. It is the most common illness affecting humans. It causes a runny and stuffy nose, sore throat and sneezing. There is no proven cure for the cold and only symptom relief is available. The aim of this review was to investigate the use of a nasal spray containing ipratropium bromide (IB), which may improve cold symptoms. This review has found that IB may improve the runny nose but has no effect on nasal stuffiness.

See all (59)

Summaries for consumers

Interventions for the prevention and treatment of herpes simplex virus in patients being treated for cancer

Treatment of cancer is increasingly effective, but associated with oral complications such as mucositis, fungal infections, bacterial infections and viral infections such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral complications can impact severely on quality of life and may lead to life‐threatening systemic infection. Infection with HSV can cause pain and blistering on or around the lips and within the mouth. Orofacial lesions are most commonly caused by HSV type 1. Aciclovir and other antiviral drugs such as valaciclovir, famiciclovir and penciclovir, have been widely used to treat HSV‐related conditions. Recurrent HSV type 1 infection in patients who are immunocompromised due to treatment for cancer may be more aggressive, painful and slower to heal. These more extensive lesions often require much longer treatment and leave the patient more susceptible to developing drug‐resistant strains of HSV. This review of 17 trials found evidence that aciclovir is efficacious in the prevention and treatment of HSV infections, in terms of preventing clinical/culture positive HSV infections, reduction in healing time, duration of viral shedding and relief of pain. There is no evidence that valaciclovir is more efficacious than aciclovir, or that a high dose of valaciclovir is better than a low dose of valaciclovir. There is evidence that for prevention, placebo is more efficacious than prostaglandin E. However, in all included trials, risk of bias is unclear. No trials reported on duration of hospital stay, amount of analgesia or patient quality of life.

Common colds: Relief for a stuffy nose, cough and sore throat

There are no treatments that fight cold viruses directly. Painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen (paracetamol) can provide some relief from cold symptoms. So can nasal sprays, but many of the other treatments have either not been studied well enough or have no proven benefit.Colds are very common: Adults come down with a cold two to four times a year, and children have as many as six to ten colds a year. This is because colds can be caused by many different viruses, so an infection from one virus does not make you immune to other cold viruses.Colds usually go away on their own after about one to two weeks, but the symptoms – such as a runny or stuffy nose, cough and headache – can be bothersome. None of the currently available treatments can shorten the length of a cold. Antibiotics are not effective in the treatment of simple common colds because they only fight against bacteria. They can have side effects too, so they should only be used if a bacterial infection develops as a complication of the cold.

A spray containing ipratropium bromide administered into the nose to treat common cold symptoms

The common cold is caused by a range of viruses and bacteria. It is the most common illness affecting humans. It causes a runny and stuffy nose, sore throat and sneezing. There is no proven cure for the cold and only symptom relief is available. The aim of this review was to investigate the use of a nasal spray containing ipratropium bromide (IB), which may improve cold symptoms. This review has found that IB may improve the runny nose but has no effect on nasal stuffiness.

See all (26)

More about Cold Sore

Photo of a young adult

Also called: Herpes labialis, Herpes simplex labialis, Fever blister, Orolabial herpes, Human herpesvirus 1, Herpes simplex virus 1, HHV 1, HSV 1

Other terms to know:
Antivirals, Herpes Simplex Viruses, Viruses

Related articles:
Acyclovir
Famciclovir
Valacyclovir

Keep up with systematic reviews on Cold Sore:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...