Herpes labial is also known as oral herpes or cold sores which is an infection of the gums, mouth and lips due to the herpes simplex virus. It causes painful and tiny blisters which are called fever blisters and cold sores. It is usually caused if you have personal or intimate contact with an infected person. Sometimes, touching items contaminated with herpes virus such as dishes, towels, infected razors and soaps can also cause herpes labial. Herpes can be extremely painful, therefore doctors usually provide prolocaine and lidocaine creams. Herpes labial is a self limiting and frequently occurring ailment which is why most patients don’t consult physicians but try to self treat themselves with the help of over the counter medicine. This can be very detrimental and the infection can become worse in some cases. Treatment with antiviral creams, anesthetic creams and zinc oxide creams have favourable effects on herpes which has not reached the advanced stage yet. Antiviral medicine provides relief to patients if they expose their body to the sunlight. Usually herpes labial makes the skin sensitive and triggers discomfort if exposed to sunlight.
Prescription medicines taken under the doctor’s supervision works best to treat herpes labial. These antiviral medicines include valacyclovir, famciclovir and acyclovir. These medications should be taken only during the first signs of blisters, tingling on the lips and mouth sores.
Recurrence of herpes labial can be very dangerous for you if the sores or blisters occur near the eyes. It can also lead to the scarring of your cornea. Herpes labial can have some complications such as unbearable pain that requires immediate treatment, spread of the herpes virus to other parts of your skin and a widespread body infection. Even after herpes labial is treated completely, it can reoccur due to certain triggers such as fever, menstruation, high stress occasion, fatigue, hormonal changes, upper respiratory infection, extreme temperature, weakened immune system and recent dental work.
Applying a warm cloth or ice pack on the face can also relieve pain. Medicines like Tylenol (acetaminophen) can act as a pain killer. However these pain killers only shorten the relapse of herpes labial for a few days. Regular consumption of antiviral medicines helps to restrict the spreading of herpes labial to other people. These medicines don’t prevent the outbreak of herpes in future. People who have weak immune system or have HIV/AIDS should be extra careful if herpes labial occurs, as it can be fatal for their health. Episodes of blisters and sores last from ten to twenty-eight days. However, this period is reduced if you start antiviral medication within 5 days of the beginning of herpes symptoms. The earlier you start the medicine, the sooner you will recover from herpes labial.
Antiviral medicines are ideal for people who are suffering from flu or infection in their body. These medicines have the capacity to fight against harmful infection and boost the immune system. This in turn, helps to reduce herpes labial by fighting against herpes virus. Antiviral drugs can also be prescribed early to cure hospitalized patients. However these drugs are not available over the counter and can only be purchased after consulting a doctor. It is also beneficial and safe for pregnant women.
Children should only take two antiviral drugs namely zanamivir and oseltamivir. These medicines are prescribed by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the CDC. Antiviral drugs should only be given to children after consulting a paediatrician. Those who are healthy and have a strong immune system, need not be treated with these antiviral drugs. It is not recommended for people who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma.
Antiviral drugs can also have certain side effects similar to other medicines. These include headache, diarrhea, cough, stuffy and runny nose, vomiting and nausea. It can also change behavioural patterns in some people, though it is rare. Skin rashes and photosensitivity are also common side effects of herpes labial.
After the treatment of herpes labial is completed, it is important to prevent it from occurring again. Try not to use items used by an infected person, if you are living with someone who has herpes labial, then disinfect and sterilize their items. Try not to engage in oral sex or kiss anyone who has herpes labial. It is important to prevent sharing food, beverages or cold sore creams with a person infected with the herpes simplex virus. If there is a relapse in the occurrence of herpes labial after few days again, it is important to consult a doctor so that he can give a stronger dose.
One cannot completely recover from herpes labial, however, preventing yourself from getting infected after the treatment can help to restrict the relapse of this disease. Consuming antiviral medicines are beneficial to treat you from herpes, and these medicines take a week or two to treat herpes labial.
The price of antiviral medicines in India which are ideal for treating herpes labial is anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.4,000.
The results of the treatment are not permanent as herpes labial can reoccur if certain prevention measures are not taken.
Other alternative treatments for herpes labial include using topical or anesthetic creams to soothe the pain temporarily or using essential oils.