Cold sores and cranker sores are common ailments. In Germany, for example, around 78 percent of people have experienced a flare up associated with the herpes simplex virus one (HSV1), which causes cold sores. Both cold sores and cranker sores appear near the mouth, but they are definitely not the same condition. And knowing the difference between the two is crucial to ensuring the right treatment. Unsure how to tell the two apart? Keep reading.
What Are Cold Sores?
Also sometimes called fever blisters or oral herpes, cold sores are caused by HSV1 (genital herpes are caused by HSV2). A person infected with the virus can experience repeated outbreaks of cold sores. Some of the things that can cause cold sore outbreaks include colds and flus, stress, hormonal changes and trauma to the face.
Cold sores are blisters or groups of blisters on the lips, the roof of the mouth, tongue or gums. They usually last from around seven to ten days, and can burn and itch. Cold sores are very contagious, and can be passed through kissing, and the sharing of utensils and personal items such as lip balms.
While cold sores usually clear up on their own, there are certain steps you can take to speed up the healing process, says the founder of SUNDT DE. “Firstly, there are prescription antiviral medications, such as Acyclovir, Valacyclovir or Famciclovir. You can also try an over-the-counter cold sore ointment, or home remedies such as applying a damp cloth to the area to remove crust and reduce redness. When it comes to alternative medicine, many people swear by lysine, which is an amino acid that can be taken as an oral supplement or in the form of a cream.”
What Are Canker Sores?
Unlike cold sores, cranker sores only ever occur inside of the mouth on the gums, on the tongue, on the roof of the mouth and at the back of the throat. They are often characterised by a tingling or burning feeling. In terms of appearance, cranker sores can be white or yellow and sometimes have red edges. They are usually oval in shape and can vary in size. They can also sometimes appear in clusters.
While the cause of cranker sores is unknown, there are several things that can trigger outbreaks. These include: hormonal issues, vitamin deficiencies, allergies, stress, and hot or spicy food. Cranker sores are not contagious.
While they can be annoying, cranker sores usually disappear within a week or two of the intial outbreak. There are also several treatments that can be used, particularly for larger cranker sores.
In severe cases of cranker sores, your physician may prescribe a mouth rinse containing dexamethasone or lidocaine to alleviate pain and inflammation. There are also other over-the-counter and prescription products that can be applied to cranker sores to accelerate the healing process, such as creams, gels and pastes. Many of these contain Benzocaine Fluocinonide and Hydrogen Peroxide. There are also oral medications that can be taken as a last resort in canses where cranker sores do not respond to other treatments.