Oral Herpes Information
Oral Herpes, also called cold sores or fever blisters are a very common form of a group of viruses which receive the name herpes. Examples of members of this family are the varicella-zoster virus, responsible for chicken pox and shingles, and the Epstein-Barr virus which is responsible for mono, and CMV. Oral Herpes are caused by herpes simplex (a. K. A HSV) which is the virus responsible for oral and genital herpes.
Oral herpes, or cold sores, appear as small, white or clear blisters on the face, especially on lips. These blisters appear on mucous membranes and can therefore appear on, or inside, the nose, mouth, and genitals. These blisters are painful, they first appear as small whit spots, then ulcerate and finally crust over. They can appear as single sores or as a big cluster. The sores are highly contagious and can be passed on through kissing, sex and close social contact.
Once the sores heal the virus hides among nerve cells and begins its dormant phase. In some cases the herpes will never trigger an infection again, in other cases the host will be plagues with constant attacks. Recurrent infections are often triggered by fever, too much sun, and even menstruation. However, some victims will break up with blisters without any apparent pattern being followed.
Oral Herpes are often considered a relatively benign type of herpes that is not to be worried about. However, there are complications that can occur from a oral herpes infection. For instance HSV can cause severe eye infections, which are painful, causing extreme sensitivity to light, and the horrible feeling of having something lodged inside the eye.
Babies can also be infected by their mother at the time of delivery if the baby touches the affected area as he or she is delivered. If you think you might have genital herpes or have had it in the past, and you are pregnant you must tell your physician, so he can take preventive measures. In some cases patients will be required to give birth through a cesarean section, as children can suffer serious infections. It is also important for pregnant women to avoid having sex with a sexual partner that has, or she suspects has, herpes. Condoms can provide help if the patient will not abstain.
Oral herpes treatment
What is the treatment? There are two types of treatment: a) non specific treatment like that will minimize the symptoms and b) specific antiviral drugs that are designed to speed up healing or prevent infections.
Good non specific therapies include the application of ice, washing hands after eating or touch one's mouth. It is important to avoid kissing and oral sex when infected.
Specific drugs include acyclovir, valacylclovir or famciclovir. These drugs can reduce the impact of the symptoms and the frequency of the attacks. The drugs impede the multiplying of the virus reducing the effect it can have on the infected area. These drugs can also reduce the extent and duration of any blisters and lesions if applied early.
*To get tested for Oral Herpes today at a local clinic, please call toll free 800-CDC-INFO. No appointment is necessary.
*More information about the Oral Herpes test.