Cold Sores

General Illness Information

Medical Term: Herpes simplex

Common Name: Cold sores

Description: The so-called cold sores on lips, and in the language of medicine – «labial form of herpes simplex», or herpes simplex, in latent form is present in about 80% of the world’s population. But sometimes, when immunity of a person goes down – due to hypothermia, virus manifests itself as one or two plaques on the perimeter of lips.

Mechanism of infection with herpes simplex virus can occur as follows:

  • virus is transmitted by direct contact (for example, through a kiss), by air-dropping (sneezing), through personal hygiene products (razors, combs, toothbrushes, towels) or from mother to fetus (congenital form of herpes);
  • virus, penetrating through mucous membrane and bypassing protective barriers, is later settles in endings of human nerve cells, where it begins to multiply (replicate), integrating viral particles into human genetic code, and human body reacts by activating immune defense mechanisms. As a result, virus «fleeing», and fragments of viral DNA migrate into trigeminal ganglion (nerve node or plexus of trigeminal nerve), where they «fall asleep»;
  • when hour «X» comes, and human immunity weakens, herpes simplex virus again activates and continues its multiplication, which manifests itself in the form of painful vesicle formations on the surface of lips in the places of neurons departing from trigeminal nerve.

However most people have its inborn form. Therefore, if you want to find out if you have «sleeping» herpes in your body, you should go through a study in a medical laboratory.

Causes

Herpes is divided into two forms: primary (appeared for the first time) and recurrent (repeated).

  • Primary herpes infection can manifest itself not only in the form of rashes on the lips. Primary herpes can appear: on skin of the face (any other areas of the skin), on cornea of eyes, and also in the mouth. Infection in early childhood occurs through people who have contact with the child, as well as through personal belongings of sick people. One must bear in mind that it is possible to get herpes even from a person without any clinical manifestations of herpes – just during contact with apparently healthy skin. Summarizing the above, infection usually occurs: through kisses (face-face contact), while eating with one glassware, one fork / spoon, a towel used by another person to wipe face / body, through use of someone else’s personal belongings, through touching objects touched by a person with active clinical manifestations of herpes.
  • Repeated outbreaks of herpes – during primary contact with cells, herpes virus penetrates deeply into tissues, including nerve fibers. Spreading through nerve fibers, virus penetrates into nerve ganglia, in which it will be in inactive state for the rest of your life. Under the influence of adverse environmental factors, virus will periodically activate and cause clinical manifestations.

Risk factors

  • contact with a person who has clinical manifestations of herpes;
  • weakened immunity on background of colds;
  • weakened immunity because of steroids, chemotherapy, hepatitis;
  • overcooling;
  • excessive exposure to the sun, dehydration;
  • stress and severe physical fatigue;
  • abrasions, cuts, scratches on the skin and red lip rims;
  • dental and cosmetology procedures;
  • menstruation can also contribute to exacerbation of herpes.

Diagnosis

Oral herpes is easily diagnosed only in presence of external manifestations – wounds or ulcers. In this case, it is not difficult to diagnose the disease yourself by comparing herpes on the lip with photos in the Internet. However, in early stages of the disease symptoms are absent, and it is possible to diagnose herpes only by laboratory methods. Prodromal symptoms, manifested even before appearance of visible herpetic lesions, will allow to differentially diagnose symptoms of herpes virus infection from, for example, allergic stomatitis.

Herpetic infection is most reliably confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which determines not virus, but protective antibodies IgG and IgM circulating in blood. Immediately after infection, IgM appears, and after primary infection and subsequent relapses in blood IgG is detected. Herpes simplex virus after primary infection permanently lives in nerve cells and can appear in blood before exacerbation.

Treatment

There are the following types of treatment of herpes virus activity:

  • use of pills and ointments (antiviral drugs and medicines for immune system);
  • use of homeopathic remedies.

Synthetic drugs stop progress of the disease, protect body from occurrence of complications, prevent relapses, but do not rid you of herpes virus itself. These drugs are most effective at primary infection, and less effective at repeated outbreaks.

What happens when pills get inside, into the body? When they reach the stomach, they dissolve. Active substances are released, which are absorbed into the blood. Blood spreads active components to all tissues and organs. Getting into cells, components of antiherpetic drug block infections. During treatment you should remember that herpes pills are serious pharmacological drugs. They have contraindications and side effects from their action.

Medications for herpes can cause:

  • kidney disorders;
  • violations in the work of nervous system;
  • allergic reactions.

Meanwhile, mechanism of treating herpes on lips and other parts of the body with homeopathy is complex and ambiguous. Properly and patiently conducted homeopathic treatment often leads to significant improvement in condition of the patient suffering from herpes: reduces frequency of seizures (sometimes – until complete disappearance), facilitates their severity and duration.

Homeopathic remedies for herpes have delayed action. They should be taken for a long time to achieve positive changes. Purpose of such drugs is to raise immunity, normalize work of the whole organism. By achieving these goals, natural defense mechanism suppresses infection for a long time.

These means do not cause side effects, unlike synthetic drugs and ointments. They have almost no contraindications, and they are sold in any pharmacy without prescription. These means can help patients achieve long-lasting effect, while traditional medications allow to eliminate symptoms, but do not prevent subsequent relapses.

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