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Is Your Herpes Oral?

Herpes is a general name for a group of similar viruses. But commonly this name is associated with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). HSV has near 8 types, the most spread of which are HSV-1 and HSV-2.

Itís thought that HSV-1 causes infection of lips, mouth, nostrils and surrounding areas and is called Oral Herpes Virus; and HSV-2 strikes genitals so is known as Genital Herpes Virus. In fact both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause disease outbreaks in any of mentioned areas of the body.

After getting into humanís body Herpes Simplex Virus lives in glia of nerve cells, usually under the skin. It may be unnoticeable during the lifetime or may become apparent several times a year.

Diseaseí outbreaks are usually stimulated by any factors that lower the bodyís resistance to infection. It could be mental or physical stress, dental procedures, other viral infections, and increased exposure to the sun; facial injuries, allergic reactions, fatigue, menstruation, surgery, poor diet, and excessive usage of antibiotics; foods high in arginine (chocolate, peanuts, and walnuts).

First outbreak usually has the most severe symptoms while further ones are much milder. It proceeds in a few stages: 1. skin appears irritated 2. on the red swollen base multiple fluid-filled blisters appear 3. after 24-48 hours the blisters open and liquid starts to leak out 4. after 8-14 days blisters heal without scaring

Oral Herpes outbreaks may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms (headache, fatigue, muscle aches, poor appetite, fever, swollen neck glands), feelings like tingling, itching or burning at the site of lesions, mouth ulcers, increased salvation and foul breath, hearing loss and even blindness.

Recurrences often occur in the same area at the site of the original infection but virus also may spread to other organs (eyes, throat, lungs, and brain). Herpes infection can be fatal to an infant and extremely dangerous to adults.

HSV is transmitted by bodily secretions (saliva, urine, blood, stools, skin lesions, eye discharge) during periods of viral activity. Being in latent phase virus is not transmittable. But during next asymptomatic period known as shedding and symptomatic recurrent period virus multiplies and transmits.

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There are three possible ways for disease diagnosis: blister sample test, blister fluid sample test and blood test for presence of antibodies. Samples for two former methods should be taken within 48 hours after signs appear; blood test may be done at any time but often it canít tell the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2.

Herpes Virus can not be cleared from human body. All known herpes treatment is directed to restriction of spreading and multiplying of the virus. Specific antiviral drugs acyclovir, valacyclovir and famcyclovir, available in form of pills or ointment by prescription, interfere with viral DNA-replication slowing the replication rate. Over-the-counter drying or astringent preparations that contain camphor and phenol are effective in early stages. Itís also important to keep damaged areas clean and dry to prevent virus spreading. To alleviate pain in sites of blisters ice could be applied for 5 minutes every hour.

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