Mouth Ulcers and Cold Sores
In Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle he describes in detail the mysterious substance called Ice 9 which with one touch to the lips will kill a person instantly. It seems possible that Vonnegut took inspiration from oral herpes because it’s caught in exactly the same way – but don’t panic; this virus is far from fatal. Oral herpes is the most common cause of cold sores, small, fluid filled lesions that usually develop around the mouth and often burn, itch and tingle, and mouth ulcers – which are found inside the mouth. Further ailments can sometimes include swollen gums, bad breath, dehydration, a sore throat and excess saliva. Cold sores, most commonly caused by the herpes simplex virus, are highly contagious. The cold sore causing virus is easily passed on via skin to mouth contact, such as kissing, or through a shared object like cutlery, a seemingly innocent lollipop or that pen lid you just can’t resist chewing – in other words catching the virus is often unavoidable. Notoriously Liza Minnelli and David Gest publicly argued for months in the media over who passed the virus on to who (yes that really happened). But don’t get to the end of this article and panic buy a crate of bleach – there’s really no need to start sanitising everything before getting your mouth around it. Whilst the herpes virus admittedly does stay in your body forever its impact is normally pretty minimal with most people just having the occasional cold sore ot mouth ulcer. There are numerous non-prescription treatments available for they do decide to strike, most commonly taking the form of a cream which can be applied to the affected area and clear the sores up in a couple of days – if only Liza and David would vanish as easily. If you are getting constant mouth ulcers you should see your GP in case there is an underlying condition at work.
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