Recurrent Herpes Simplex Labialis (Oral Herpes)

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Recurrent herpes simplex labialis is an infection of the mouth area caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is a common and contagious infection that spreads easily. It causes blisters and sores on the lips, mouth, tongue or gums. It is also known as oral herpes. The infection occurs before the age of 20 and affects the lips and the mouth.

Causes 

It is a caused mainly by a virus known as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). It is a highly contagious infection that can easily spread by personal contact with any person who has the infection. It can also be contacted by touching towels, utensils, razors for shaving, and other shared items where the virus is present.

The virus becomes dormant inside the nerve cells after the first infection and remains so for the rest of a person’s life. It only becomes active by some disease conditions that include: 

Fever

Menstruation

Strenuous activity 

Fatigue

Hormonal changes

Upper respiratory infection

Extreme temperature

Weakened immune system

Recent dental work or surgery

Signs and Symptoms

Blisters appearance near or on the mouth within one to three weeks after first contact with the virus. 

Blisters or sores on the mouth, lips, tongue, nose, or gums

Burning pain around the blisters

Tingling or itching near the lips

Tingling on or near the lips is usually a warning sign that the cold sores of recurrent oral.

Diagnosis

This can be done by examining the blisters and sores on the face. 

Samples of the blister may be sent to laboratory to test specifically for HSV-1.

Complications 

Scarring of the cornea may occur if the blisters or sores occur near the eyes. 

Frequent recurrence of the sores and blisters that requires constant treatment

Spreading of the virus to other parts of the skin

Severe widespread bodily infection especially in people with weakened immune system, such as people with AIDS or HIV.

Treatment 

It remains in the body of an infected person for life, so treatment can eliminated the virus from the body once infected. Its symptoms usually go away within one to two weeks without any treatment. The blisters will usually scab and crust over before they disappear.

Home Care

Apply ice or a warm cloth to the face

Take pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol) 

Medical Prescription

Oral antiviral medicines such as acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir to fight the virus 

Prevention

Wash any items that may have had contact with the infected sores, like towels, in boiling water after use.

Avoid usage of food utensils or other personal items with people who have oral herpes.

Avoid sharing of cold sore creams with anyone.

Avoid kissing or participate in oral sex with someone who has cold sores.

Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately.

 



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