Herpes labialis is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, characterized by an eruption of small and usually painful blisters on the lips, mouth, or the skin around the mouth. These blisters are commonly called cold sores or fever blisters.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Herpes labialis is an extremely common disease caused by infection of the mouth area with herpes simplex virus, most often type 1. Most Americans are infected with the type 1 virus by the age of 20.
The initial infection may cause no symptoms or mouth ulcers. The virus remains in the nerve tissue of the face. In some people, the virus reactivates and produces recurrent cold sores that are usually in the same area, but are not serious. Herpes virus type 2 usually causes genital herpes and infection of babies at birth but can also cause herpes labialis.
Herpes viruses are contagious. Contact can occur directly, or through contact with infected razors, towels, dishes, etc. Occasionally, oral/genital contact can spread oral herpes to the genitals (and vice versa), so people with active herpes lesions on or around their mouths or on their genitals should avoid oral sex.
The first symptoms usually appear within 1 or 2 weeks, and as late as 3 weeks, after contact with an infected person. The lesions of herpes labialis usually last for 7 to 10 days, after which, then begin to resolve. The virus may become latent, residing in the nerve cells, with recurrence at or near the original site.
Recurrence is usually milder. It may be triggered by menstruation, sun exposure, illness with fever, stress, or other unknown causes.
Symptoms & Signs
Warning symptoms such as itching, burning, increased sensitivity, or tingling sensation may occur about 2 days before lesions appear.
Avoid direct contact with cold sores or other herpes lesions. Minimize the risk of indirect spread by thoroughly washing infected items in hot (preferably boiling) water before re-use. Do not share items with an infected person, especially when herpes lesions are active. Avoid precipitating causes (especially sun exposure) if prone to oral herpes.
Avoid performing oral sex when you have active herpes lesions on or near your mouth and avoid passive oral sex with someone who has active oral or genital herpes lesions. Condoms can help reduce, but do not entirely eliminate, the risk of transmission via oral or genital sex with an infected person.
Unfortunately, both oral and genital herpes viruses can sometimes be transmitted even when the person does not have active lesions.
Diagnosis & Tests
Diagnosis is made on the basis of the appearance and/or culture of the fluid or scrapings from the lesion. Examination may also show enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck or groin.
Untreated, the symptoms will generally subside in 1 to 2 weeks. Antiviral medications along with analgesics may be given by mouth to shorten the course of the symptoms and decrease pain.
Washing the blisters gently with soap and water helps to minimize the spread of the virus to other areas of skin. An antiseptic soap may be recommended. Applying ice or warmth to the area may reduce pain.
Take precautions to avoid infecting others (see Prevention).
Herpes labialis usually disappears spontaneously in 1 to 2 weeks. It may recur. Infection may be severe and dangerous if it occurs in or near the eye, or if it occurs in immunocompromised or immunosuppressed individuals.
Herpes infection of the eye is a leading cause of blindness in the US, due to scarring of the cornea.
Herpes Treatment- A beautiful melange of time-tested resonance homeopathic medicines and homotoxological remedies so as to stimulate the immune system to heal itself following nature's laws.
Symptoms caused by HSV 1 infection (HSV 1 is known to affect the following areas of the body.)
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