Woman covering her lip

Cold Sores in Singapore: What are the Causes and How to Treat Them

Cold sores: small, painful, and often the cause of much embarrassment. Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of a cold sore popping up just before an important event. But why can someone get a cold sore even in the humid, year-round warmth of Singapore? Let’s dive into understanding cold sores, their causes, and effective treatment options.

What are cold sores?

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are small blisters filled with fluid that appear on or around the lips. They can also sometimes appear on the nose or cheeks. After they burst, they crust over and take a week or two to heal. They can be accompanied by symptoms like pain, itching, and swelling.

Cold sore on a lip
A typical cold sore on a lip

What causes cold sores?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Cold sores are primarily caused by HSV-1, while HSV-2 is commonly associated with genital herpes. However, both strains can cause cold sores or genital herpes depending on where the infection is located.

Why can I get a cold sore even though Singapore is so hot?

The term "cold sore" can be misleading. The name does not actually imply that cold weather is the only, or primary, trigger for cold sores. In fact, cold sores can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:


Sun exposure: Overexposure to the sun can lead to cold sores. Singapore, being close to the equator, experiences strong sun throughout the year, which can act as a trigger.


Stress: High-stress levels can weaken the immune system, making an individual more susceptible to an outbreak.


Illness: Other infections or illnesses, like flu or fever, can act as triggers for cold sores.


Hormonal changes: Such as those associated with menstruation or pregnancy.


Skin trauma: Injuries to the skin, like chapped lips, can pave the way for the virus to cause an outbreak.


It’s essential to understand that once you have the herpes simplex virus, it remains dormant in your nerve cells. Various triggers can activate the virus, leading to an outbreak, regardless of the climate or temperature.

How to treat cold sores?

While cold sores can't be completely cured, various treatments can help alleviate the symptoms and reduce the duration of the outbreak:


Antiviral medications: Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription antiviral creams or pills can help reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks. At Glovida, we have well-known cold sore creams such as the Herpatch Herpes Cold Sore Serum 5ml and the Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Cold Sore Cream 10g.


Pain relievers: OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen or paracetamol can help reduce pain and inflammation.


Cold compress: Applying a cold, damp cloth to the sore can help alleviate pain and reduce redness.


Lip balms and creams: These can help keep your lips moist, which may reduce the chance of a cold sore outbreak.


Avoid picking at it: Picking at a cold sore can worsen the infection and cause it to spread.


Sunscreen: Since sun exposure can be a trigger, using lip balm or cream with SPF can be beneficial.


Immunity boosting supplements: Once you get a cold sore, you are susceptible to get it again if there are no preventative measures. Therefore, taking immunity boosting supplements can help to give you the vital nutrients you need to stop cold sores from appearing again in the future. Some recommendations include Sambucol Black Elderberry Immune Defence Syrup, Redoxon Triple Action Effervescent Tablets and Enervon with Vitamin C Caplets.

While cold sores can be frustrating and painful, understanding their causes and knowing how to treat them can help manage their impact. Remember that while Singapore's heat can be intense, it’s not the sole reason for a cold sore outbreak. Taking proactive steps like stress management, sun protection, and maintaining overall health can go a long way in preventing and managing these pesky blisters.


Now, if you're curious and wish to know more about cold sores or perhaps other health concerns in general, we have some good news. You can easily get a free consultation with our experienced pharmacists by sending us a Whatsapp at +65 81015555 or visit our E-Pharmacy at glovida-rx.com.sg.

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