COLD SORES AND HERPES – WHAT IS THE RELATION


Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are common viral infection. these small painful blisters can potentially appear anywhere on the entire body of the carrier of virus, but the most common places are lips, mouth, face, inside or on the nose. They are tiny, fluid-filled blisters on and around your lips. Cold sores are a result of herpes infection. Cold sores and herpes are not two different things, but closely related, so much so that one can’t exist if the other is not there.

It is not rare to see it on your own face or on someone else’s. But we take it for granted as they disappear gradually after slight discomfort and pain. Have you ever thought of what is the reason behind these sores. I am sure nobody bothers even to visit the doctor until it is really painful. Because we know they are common. They will come and will also go away soon.

Nobody suspects anything serious in these. We all take them lightly and have a tendency to let it go. The same thing I also did till things were bearable. One morning I woke up and as a regular practice took my toothbrush in hand. The moment I looked into the mirror, I was literally shocked. I was feeling slight pain near my lips last evening but I ignored it. But I never imagined the pain would turn into something like this.

There were ugly sores around my lips. It was so awful that I myself was finding difficult to look at. Although it was just a blister, I was no comfortable with the idea of going out with this. I tried to cover it with a lip balm but I realized it was not so small and was clearly visible despite of all my efforts of hiding it.

I convinced myself that it is just a minor mark and somehow managed to go out. While having lunch I found it difficult to open my mouth. The pain was increasing with time. I slept that night after applying a softener thrice just to reduce the pain. But the truth was it was not doing any help.

Next morning I thought things will be better but woke up with even more intense pain and spreading sores. If it was only the blisters I would have waited for some more time, but the pain was so intense that I could not resist a visit to my doctor.

As I entered the cabin, my doctor saw my lips and instantly started asking a lot of questions like was it the first time I got this kind of infection on my face and many more. I was not taking it as serious as the doctor was, it was only the pain that took me there. After his queries he declared it was Herpes.

I could not have imagined such a small thing can turn into a lifetime disease. But the reality was it was herpes and that made me serious. All of us have a habit of ignoring these infections taking them as small and unimportant. That day if I had not visited the doctor I also would have done the same.

It was not such a small word. I knew what it actually was. It was herpes, a lifetime disease, a virus that was almost impossible to get rid of. I asked the doctor once again to confirm whether he was sure really sure. And if yes then how is it possible, I mean from where did I get it? He then explained anyone can get cold sores due to

  • Using a toothbrush belonging to an infected person.
  • Sharing infected crockery and cutlery such as spoons, forks, cups or drinking vessels or sharing food in the same plate with an infected person.
  • Kissing a person with a cold sore herpes infection.
  • Performing oral sex with an infected person
  • Autoinoculation, when a newly infected infant, child, teenager, or adult sucks his or her thumb or licks a cold sore on the lip.

The ultimate thing he said was face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be. This made me really worried and asked him what is next. He only gave a prescription slip and told me to hope it does not return soon.

HSV invades the cells of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, causing fluid-filled blisters to appear. Most commonly, herpes simplex affects the lips or nasal region, causing cold sores. I don’t know how many of us simply live with the virus for entire life and don’t even know exactly what we are bearing.

Any kind of cold sores are not to be taken for granted and they only point in one direction- that is herpes. Acceptance is important as running in other direction do not change the reality.

New WHO-led global estimates for herpes simplex virus type 2, published by the journal PLOS ONE, shows that over 400 million people worldwide were infected with the virus in 2012.

Lead author, Dr. Katharine Looker, from the University of Bristol, says, “Approximately 19 million people are newly infected with the virus each year”. HSV-2 and HIV have been shown to influence each other.

HSV-2 is amongst the most common infections in people living with HIV, occurring in 60-90% of HIV-infected persons. HSV-2 infection increases the risk of acquiring a new HIV infection by approximately three-fold. In addition, people with both HIV and HSV-2 infection are more likely to spread HIV to others.

It is a common belief that sore near lips and mouth are caused by the virus we call HSV type-1. But now it has been seen the same can also be caused on being infected by the other type of the same virus. This one is called HSV Type-2 and in 90% of the cases it is responsible for genital herpes.

It is caused by a specific type of the herpes simplex virus named as herpes type 1 virus. This kind of herpes causes painful sores on the lips, gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks, and sometimes on the face and neck. Occasionally, but it may cause genital lesions.

The skin around the blisters is often red, swollen, and sore. The blisters may break open, leak a clear fluid, and then scab over after a few days. They usually heal in several days to 2 weeks.

Cold sores usually start to heal on their own within a few days but for some they turn out to be a nightmare. Cold sores are a clear indication of herpes. It is an alarm to fix an appointment with the doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will diagnose the problem by asking a number of questions. After being sure he will prescribe herpes medication accordingly.

The first symptoms of cold sores may include pain around your mouth and on your lips, a fever, a sore throat, or swollen glands in your neck or other parts of the body. Small children sometimes drool before cold sores appear. After the blisters appear, the cold sores usually break open, leak a clear fluid, and then crust over and disappear after several days to 2 weeks. For some people, cold sores can be very painful. Some people have the virus but don’t get cold sores.

There are many beauty products, which I too have tried myself but they all are mere temporary hiding tools and not herpes cure  . To get rid of these frequent cold sores you need to kick the herpes virus out of your body permanently. And if we talk about sore on tongue then topical ointments and salves are of no use if a person has cold sores on the tongue. Therefore, the only choice you are left with is painkillers together with oral antiviral medication. However some homeopathic sprays are available in market as an alternative.

There are antibiotics that almost all the doctors prescribe and are effective in relieving the symptoms and decrease the frequency of outbreaks. There are antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir which are frequently used for herpes, but they can only reduce the symptoms and cannot cure the infection. Let us have a look at the benefits of using these antiviral medicines. The medicines

  • Decreases the severity and length of these outbreaks.
  • Helps the sores heal faster, keeps away new sores from forming, and decreases pain/itching.
  • These medications may also help reduce how long pain remains after the sores heal.
  • In addition, in people with a weakened immune system, these drugs can decrease the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of the body and causing serious infections.

Other than this, there are natural methods that are comparatively less harmful and side effect free. These are a number of natural products that can help you dealing with herpes outbreak. Keep yourself aware of all these and use them in need.

Olive Oil

Apply heated olive oil, some lavender oil and bee wax mixed in it to the infected area.

Echinacea

Any part of this medicinal plant consumed as tea, juice or pills can heal herpes.

Ice Pack

Ice pack can give you instant relief if applied for adequate amount of time.

Baking Soda

Apply cotton dipped in baking soda to the infected area to relieve pain.

Tea Bags

After cooling, apply the tea bag on the infected area. Leave it for 5 minutes on the sores.

Cornstarch

To dry the herpes sores, apply some cornstarch directly on the infected area.

Aloe Vera Gel

 Aloe vera is the best remedy for herpes with its natural healing properties.

Soap and Warm Water

Soaking the herpes sore in warm water surely relieves the pain and itching. To keep the affected area infection-free and clean, use soap.

Herpes is a really contagious as well as chronic disease. Click here to get about how to cure herpes with natural remedies.

Herbal Tea and black coffee

Herbal tea is an effective solution for avoiding any type of skin diseases. For treating pain and itching arising due to herpes black coffee sip can also be an alternative.

Stress is a major factor in causing any viral outbreak, and oral herpes is no exception. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, having an outbreak is a very stressful situation in itself! Stress suppresses the immune system of your body and hence stress management is the only way to suppress the dormant herpes virus. So try to avoid dwelling on the stressful implications of your outbreak. Make sure that you are completely relaxed and avoid stress completely to easily get rid of herpes. Also try as much as possible to avoid stress in day to day life.

Maintaining hygiene also has a role to play. Applying sun-block or moisturizing balm before leaving and avoiding physical contact with a person suffering from herpes may save you from the disease. One should wash items such as towels and linens in boiling hot water after each use and should not share utensils, straws, glasses, or other items if someone has oral herpes.

The blisters although heal without scarring but they have a tendency of reoccurring. This type of lesions will reoccur again and again with random frequency but generally on the same place of the body. The only help you can do to yourself is get it tested by your doctor and then prepare yourself for the next episode. Choose the treatment that suits you the best and is least harmful to your body. never ever neglect any type of cold sore on your body as it is likely the very frightening herpes virus. As you might have already figured out, cold sores and herpes are more similar than then seem.

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