It is often confusing for any one to decide whether the symptoms point to cold sores or angular cheilitis. The symptoms are indeed similar and are bound to mislead a layman. Only medical professionals are equipped to pronounce the actual reason for the development of the symptoms. Having said this, very severe chapped or cracked lips may signify Angular Cheilitis.
The purpose of this article is to enable patients to identify a cold sore from angular cheilitis in the initial stages itself if in case it is not possible for them to visit a doctor right away and since these infections can not be left without treatment for more than a couple of days from the beginning.
Medical fraternity calls cold sore by the name Herpes Labialis. Herpes virus is the cause of a cold sore. A cold sore shows its presence in form of a blister on the lips and/or in the region of the mouth. Cold sore is very much painful and alarmingly visible. The blister will normally develop into a scab and will be followed by pus formation. The tenure of the cold sore is about ten to twelve days after which it would vanish on its own.
Treatment: Care should be taken by the patients suffering from cold sores to avoid oral contact with others as cold sores are very contagious and spread fast. A variety of anti-viral creams are available in the market which are known to accelerate the recovery from cold sores, of course under medical advice.
Angular Cheilitis on the other hand is characterized by inflammation of the lips and crack around the mouth. Lips will have a lot of burning and area of the mouth would be very painful when mouth is opened and closed for talking, eating or drinking. The cracks on the lips and around the corners of the mouth are naturally visible and at times very embarrassing to the patient. The causes of angular cheilitis are traced to vitamin deficiencies, improper eating habits, ill-fitting dentures, accumulation of the saliva at the corners of the mouth which makes a perfect ground for the bacteria to develop, extremely cold weather, dehydration, high fever, a weak immune system etc. Some people have a habit of licking their lips with their tongue too often-even these people could develop angular cheilitis. Those who are suffering from Diabetes or HIV are at times victims of angular cheilitis. Large proportion of patients suffering from Angular Cheilitis will be free of this infection in about three to four days. Angular Cheilitis could be the result of bacterial infection or a fungal infection or both.
Treatment: The causes of Angular Cheilits can be different and hence a medical professional has to treat the condition differently. Generally they treat the angular cheilitis with the help of topical anti-fungal ointments. Precautions include keeping the affected area clean and dry so as to control further spreading and keeping the body well-hydrated by drinking as much water as possible.