Cold Sores

Herpes labialis is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are 2 types of the virus type 1 (HSV1) and type 2 (HSV2).
Dr. Konstantina Mamali
DERMATOLOGIST - VENEREOLOGIST
As the Dermatologist - Venereologist Dr. Konstantina Mamali explains, "The HSV1 type usually causes herpes simplex and the second type, HSV2, causes genital herpes. However, it is possible to observe overlap. It is a fairly common infection that is very easily transmitted, with the result that almost 100% of the population is infected by the age of 5 years."
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Cold Sores

Where it is observed

Herpes in the mouth, or oral herpes, usually manifests itself as blisters and small ulcers on the skin or lips. Although, as its name suggests, it most commonly occurs on the lips, in many cases it can also occur around the lips, within the oral cavity, or on the nose, chin and fingers.

Once the person is infected with the virus, it may remain dormant in the tissues of the facial nerves and ganglia and may be activated from time to time. It is a very common condition and usually disappears on its own within 10 days. Until it disappears on its own, it is infectious and often quite painful. It has been shown that more than 85% of people aged up to 23 years are carriers of the virus.

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Cold Sores

Symptoms

The symptoms of Herpes Zoster are divided into mild or severe. Although in the majority of cases it is a mild disease, special attention should be paid to hygiene issues in order to avoid contamination and transmission of the virus to another part of the body.

Before the appearance of the rash at the site where the virus has been inoculated, there may be a feeling of itching, stinging, burning or itching. Several times, the person may suffer from fever, sore throat or painful swallowing.

The most common symptoms of herpes zoster are as follows:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swollen lymph nodes in the area of infection
  • Pain at the site of the blisters, ulcers and erosions of the skin and mucous membranes
  • Herpetic stomatitis with dysphagia, pain and bubbles in the mouth
  • Often coexists with and recurs simultaneously with streptococcal upper respiratory tract infections
Cold Sores

Diagnosis

How is it cured?
The diagnosis of herpes simplex can be made by a simple clinical examination of the affected area. For a definitive and definite diagnosis, a special blood test is required, where antibodies against the virus are detected and a culture of a sample from the infected area is taken. By detecting antibodies we can distinguish whether an infection is a primary infection or a recurrent infection.
Cold Sores

How it is transmitted

Skin contact

Sexual contact

Contaminated objects

Cold Sores

Treatment

The following may be used to treat herpes simplex:

  • Oral antiviral drugs which are the most effective
  • Topical antimicrobial creams - reducing the risk of infections
  • Laser
  • Local antiviral creams - dubious effectiveness
  • Antiseptic soaps
  • Anti-inflammatories
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Treatment with cream or anti-inflammatories is not a permanent treatment for herpes simplex. In addition, the use of topical antiviral creams has not been shown to be particularly effective in eliminating the virus.

The use of oral antiviral drugs is effective only if administered in time (within the 1st to 3rd 24-hour period), but does not lead to elimination of the virus. They are usually administered for 5 days and reduce the symptoms leading to a rapid cure of the episode. Antiviral drugs work by slowing down the multiplication of herpes and reducing the incidence of herpes.

Laser treatment has been described and tested and is particularly effective, especially in people who have frequent herpes outbreaks (more than 6 times a year). In people with frequent recurrences, oral antiviral treatment may be required for at least 6 months.

Finally, several alternative and homeopathic treatments have been proposed to combat herpes. Examples include: consumption of certain foods such as dairy products, herbal therapy - use of bee balm, and homeopathic treatment using the calendula plant. However, none of these practices are a true cure for the herpes simplex virus. They may soothe the painful and unsightly symptoms for a short time, but they do not provide effective eradication of the virus.

Cold Sores

FAQ

How does the appearance of herpes zoster begin?

The herpes virus is found in large quantities in the secretions of the human body such as saliva and genital secretions. The contact of an even slightly injured skin with these secretions leads to the entry of the virus at this site and its multiplication, resulting in the appearance of the classic lesions. The time between contact with the virus and the onset of symptoms is 4-5 days. The lesions then escape but the virus migrates to the sensory ganglia of the neurons or to the lymphatic tissue and once the body's defenses are reduced, it multiplies, causing relapses.

Usually, when the first contact with the herpes virus is made at a young age, it is too mild to be noticed. However, in 20-30% of people who become infected at a young age as well as older patients, the first contact with the virus occurs in a severe form called Herpetic Gingivostomatitis. These individuals develop precursor symptoms such as fever, chills and bilateral epigastric lymphadenopathy. Clinically, erosion of the gums (exfoliative gingivitis) and friable bubbles in the oral mucosa occur, making eating and drinking a difficult and painful process.

The symptoms of herpes simplex are divided into mild or severe. Although in the majority of cases it is a mild disease, special attention should be paid to hygiene issues to avoid contamination and transmission of the virus to another part of the body. Before the appearance of the rash at the site where the virus has been inoculated, there may be a feeling of itching, stinging, burning or itching. Several times, the person may suffer from fever, sore throat or painful swallowing. Then, the main symptom that appears, usually within the next 24 to 48 hours, is one or more bubbles of clear fluid on an erythematous base in the lip area. The bubbles break off to form a vesicle and healing occurs after a cycle of 5-6 days. In some cases, herpes zoster is particularly severe and harmful, especially in cases where there is contamination and spread to the eyes leading to herpetic keratitis, which can even affect vision.

Can herpes simplex be cured?

Medication cannot lead to the elimination of the virus. In the case of frequent recurrences of herpes simplex (more than 6 episodes per year), prophylactic suppressive treatment with antiviral drugs, but at a lower dose, is recommended for a long period of time (6-12 months).

Treatment should be administered within 48-72 hours of the onset of precursor symptoms to stop viral replication and reduce the severity of the episode.

Is herpes simplex infection serious?

Although it is considered a relatively harmless infection, which does not pose serious risks to the person, there are cases where it can become extremely dangerous. Such cases include having herpes near or even inside the eye, as well as in cases where the person's immune system is weakened and more susceptible to infection.

How can I protect myself from herpes simplex?

Protection against herpes simplex is done by avoiding direct skin contact with people who have clinical symptoms of the virus as it is highly contagious in this stage. In addition to direct contact, sharing towels and objects should be avoided because the virus can also be transmitted through them.

What should I avoid if I get infected with herpes simplex?

If you are diagnosed with a herpes simplex virus infection and you develop the characteristic blisters, you should under no circumstances try to break them. If you break them, then you may lead to the transmission of virus to your fingers and then to other areas you touch.

At the same time, as we know, fingers are a source of infections, so it is very likely that the area of the herpes infection will be contaminated with other harmful germs. Rubbing and injuring the area should be avoided. It is recommended that women should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol and should avoid using make-up products at and around the site of infection.

Why should I choose Cosmetic Derma Medicine for the treatment of Herpes Zoster?

Cosmetic Derma Medicine Medical Group is the largest and most specialized medical group in the field of Dermatology and Plastic Surgery, with 14 clinics in Greece & Cyprus. At Cosmetic Derma Medicine, we use the latest technology Nd-YAG Laser which is completely painless and effective in the elimination of herpes simplex..
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