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Cold Sore or Canker Sore

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    You have seen people with them or may have even had one yourself, but do you know the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore? Probably not. But the connotation that either one of these sores has is definitely not a good one. The initial reaction to cold sores or canker sores is to get away in the thought that they are contagious and if that person gets anywhere near us we can get them too. The presence of a cold sore can be ostracizing. Therefore its important to know the difference between the two and know the treatment options associated.

    Both cold sores and canker sores are disorders of the mouth that can appear as sores or lesions in or around the mouth. Cold sores normally appear outside the mouth where as canker sores occur in the mouth, around the tongue, gums, cheeks, lips or even throat. These sores can be painful, especially if agitated. Although these two sores can be difficult to determine from one another they are very different in origin and treatment.

    Canker sores are oral ulcers that present as open sores in the mouth. There is no known cause of canker sores however canker sores seem to appear as a result of an allergic reaction, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or emotional stress.

Because the cause is unknown several different treatment plans are available. Treatments include allergy testing, nutritional supplements, non prescription numbing agents, mouth rinses, or antibiotic tetracycline. Although, home remedies that include hydrogen peroxide rinses, and milk of magnesia have been used as well.

    On the opposite hand, we know what causes cold sores, however there is no cure. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus stays in the body and can cause reoccurrences of the symptoms for the rest of your life. To contract herpes simplex you must come in contact with an open sore or body fluids of an infected person. The virus is most contagious when cold sores or fever blisters are present, therefore its important to take the proper precautions when they are present. Kissing is the number one way to transmit oral herpes, however any direct skin to skin contact can cause the transmission.

    Presently the treatment of the herpes virus is maintained through treatment of the apparent cold sores and blisters. Currently there is no vaccine or cure for the herpes virus. Medical treatment of physical sores includes ointments, anti-viral drugs, antibiotics, and creams. Natural remedies include nutritional supplementation as well as amino acids, Echinacea and topical antiseptics.