The Most Effective Treatments and Cures for Cold Sores (Herpes labialis)
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Herpes labialis, also known as orolabial herpes, commonly known as cold sores on
lips or fever blisters, is an infection of the lip or mouth by the herpes simplex
virus. It's a highly infectious, but not very virulent or dangerous (in most cases),
disease for which there is no cure. It produces small blisters or sores around or
inside the mouth, few in number (often only one), lasting for two weeks or less.
The infection may be contagious without showing symptoms at all, as the virus is
capable of reproducing itself on the skin without generating a sore or blister. The
disease persists in a dormant phase and recurs periodically.
The primary symptom of the disease is mild inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and of the gums, and the eruption of one or more sores or blisters on the lips, inside the mouth, or on the gums. Other symptoms, which are more likely to occur in the initial outbreak of the disease and not as common in recurrence, include headache, nausea, sore throat, and fever. An outbreak of the disease may occur with no symptoms at all, particularly in a recurrent phase.
The phases and progression of the disease are:
1. Latent phase, remission, or incubation. In this phase, before the initial outbreak or between outbreaks, the virus retreats to sensory nerve endings and goes dormant, producing no symptoms.
Contagion is still possible during this period. Remission periods between outbreaks typically last as much as a year, or sometimes longer, although outbreaks can occur as often as once a month.
2. Prodromal phase. Pre-
4. Open Sore phase. All of the vesicles burst open and release a watery discharge.
This is the most infectious part of the cycle, and also the most uncomfortable and
painful. It typically lasts about one day before crusting begins.
5. Crusting phase. A crust or scab-
Treatment of the disease, if undertaken, usually consists of topical substances that
can reduce the duration of the outbreak. Aciclovir and penciclovir are two antiviral
medications that can reduce the duration of symptoms by roughly ten percent. Famiciclovere
or valaciclovere can be taken orally in a single mega-
There is no watertight way to prevent infection with herpes labialis, since the victim can be infectious to some degree at any time. However, the chance of transmission can be reduced by avoiding touching active lesions and washing hands often during an outbreak, and avoiding contact with others, especially by the infected area (e.g. through kissing or oral sex).
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