Labial herpes is a tiny but painful sore that appears in the mouth or anywhere in the face. It does not have symptoms at the initial stage, but can be seen sometimes as an infection of the gums (gingivostomatitis), causing their swelling. Labial herpes is probably one of the most prevalent infections in the world!
After the initial infection, the problem becomes hidden (latent) and reappears as blisters and sores around the mouth area. Though not severe, it causes discomfort, inconvenience, and embarrassment.
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How Does it Occur?
Labial herpes is caused by the herpes Simplex Virus 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV1 and HSV2). The first signs of infection may be due to either HSV1 or HSV2 organisms but the second occurrence is usually because of the presence of HSV1. HSV2 rarely causes secondary infection.
Who is Vulnerable?
The infection usually occurs among young people and children. It is seen that one-third of children below five years of age, living in underdeveloped countries, are vulnerable. Almost 70 to 80% of the older children are susceptible to the problem in these parts of the world.
In the more developed countries, one-fifth of the children below five years are susceptible to the HSV1 virus while about half the people aged between 20 and 40 years are affected. Improved figures in developed countries may be partially attributed to better hygiene awareness and lower population figures.
For pregnant women, labial herpes is a major concern as it may be transmitted to the child during delivery. Women without a history of herpes may become a victim because of their partners. If the partner has labial herpes, oral sex can transmit the disease.
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Symptoms of Labial Herpes
1. When the infection occurs the first time, many people do not have any symptoms
2. For others inflammation of gums and lower throat are possible
3. For some, there are lesions in the mouth area
4. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck area
5. Lesions inside the cheek and on palate, tonsils, lips, and tongue
6. Unchecked drooling and inconvenience in drinking and eating
7. Swallowing food becomes very difficult
8. Later, for about two weeks a person may experience loss of appetite, fever,mood swings, muscle pain, and bodily discomfort
9. The lesions later resemble ulcers and start breaking. After about 10 days they start decreasing in size. Sometimes dehydration also occurs.
Labial herpes is the most common problem, caused by HSV1, which recurs. It may recur from lesions that persist near the mouth or on the lips. Almost 15% of those who have a tooth removed may develop labial herpes about 72 hours after the procedure!
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Why Does it Recur?
The reasons for the recurrence of labial herpes include tension before menstruation, abrasion of the skin, tattooing on the lips, abnormal exposure to ultraviolet light, tooth treatment, neurosurgery, or even just plain stress!
Prevention and Treatment
Avoiding all actions that can help bring on the infection helps to prevent a recurrence to an extent. For instance, if you are sensitive to UV light, then sunscreen with an appropriate SPF should help protect the skin from exposure to harmful rays.
Treatment for primary infection is based on administering oral acyclovir, for five days, five times a day. For secondary infection, there is an initial attempt to prevent the recurrence. However, once it recurs, treatment continues based on administering anti-viral medication.
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Blurb: Labial herpes occurs in the mouth area and is recognized by painful lesions. A good population of children and a higher population of adults are affected by this problem all over the world. Though it cannot be cured, labial herpes is mild, on secondary infection, and can be contained by anti-viral medication.