192 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
4. Cold sores or fever blisters
Painful red blisters on
the gums that have burst
open and become small,
Many people get cold sores or fever blisters caused by the herpes virus.
People who become infected with herpes carry the virus forever. Most
people are infected as children. The herpes sores can come and go. For
more information, see page 104.
The herpes sores usually heal after 1 or 2 weeks. But for persons
infected with HIV, the sores come more often and last much longer.
1. One or more small, sometimes painful, red blisters appear on the
lips and skin around the mouth. In people with HIV infection, they
also appear just inside the lips, and on the gums and the roof of the
2. The blisters burst and become small open sores that often spread
into each other.
3. After the blisters on the lips burst, a yellow crust
forms over them.
The herpes sores can pick up other infections,
particularly in people with HIV infection. Also, the
liquid inside the sores and blisters can spread
infection. If herpes is spread to the eyes, it can
cause blindness. Keep fingers and hands away
from sores because they contain very active
virus. It is very important to wash the hands
before and after touching the face or eyes.