Almost all of us carry herpes simplex viruses, but few are affected. Why this happens remains a mystery. About 90% of the world’s population is infected with this infection. Once in the body, this virus remains there forever, but it may never manifest itself, but it can be disturbing constantly. Up to 60% of those infected with herpes simplex virus do not even suspect that they are infected, but they can also be a source of transmission of a dangerous virus.
So cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a common viral infection that looks like a fluid-filled blister around your lips that are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and because of that, many times are called just that, herpes.
What is dangerous herpes? What are the frequent rashes talking about? How to be treated?
Usually, the disease does not manifest itself until the weakening of the immune system, which can lead to hypothermia, overheating, pregnancy, large doses of alcohol, stress, and infectious diseases. It is believed that if rashes appear no more often 3-4 times a year and only on the lips, there is nothing to worry about. But if exacerbations occur more often 4-5 times a year, rashes appear not only on the lips, but also on other parts of the body, and extensive ones, then it is necessary to undergo an immunological examination and treatment.
What is herpes?
Herpetic infection is a chronic recurring infection caused by the herpes simplex virus and characterized by a predominant lesion of integumentary tissues and nerve cells.
Now medicine knows not only the viral nature of the disease but also 8 types of this virus itself. The first 3 types of herpes are the most common: type I virus primarily affects the mucous membranes and skin of the mouth, nose, eyes, is transmitted primarily by contact, type II causes genital herpes, contributes to the appearance of colds on the lips, is transmitted primarily through sexual contact, type III becomes the cause chickenpox and shingles.
The source of herpetic infection is a person: carrier or patient. Excretion of the pathogen can last a very long time.
Herpes is a virus that infects a human cell, “embedded” in its genetic apparatus.
What is the cold sores transmission mechanism?
The virus is released on the surface of the affected mucous membranes and skin. In addition to the main transmission routes for type I virus, airborne droplets, airborne dust can also be realized, and type II can be transmitted vertically from mother to child with perinatal infection (transplacental and intranatal). Viruses that invade the body tend to persist for a long time (mainly in the ganglion cells), causing relapses of the infection during periods of weakening of the body’s defenses (colds, vitamin deficiencies). Most often, the primary infection occurs latently, the disease manifests itself later, acute infection occurs only in 10-20% of those infected.
Herpetic infection is classified according to the predominant lesion of certain tissues: herpes of the skin, the mucous membrane of the mouth, eyes, SARS, genital herpes, visceral herpes, herpetic damage to the nervous system, herpes of the newborn, generalized form.
What are the common herpes symptoms?
The most common symptoms of herpes are rashes in the form of vesicles that can appear on the lips, mucous membranes of the nose and mouth, on the genitals, and on the body. Before the appearance of herpetic vesicles in the place of future rashes, precursors appear itching, burning, tingling sensation. It is better to start drug therapy at the precursor stage to prevent the appearance of rashes.
But herpes can occur atypically when there are no classic rashes, but there are discharge, itching, burning, perineal cracks, swelling, redness of the mucous membranes, pain in the lower abdomen, bouts of “radiculitis”.
Genital herpes usually manifests itself as local rashes (vesicles are mainly formed on the glans penis and inner surface of the foreskin in men and on the labia minora and labia minora), as well as common symptoms (fever, intoxication, regional lymphadenitis), pain in the lower abdomen and in the lumbar region, in places of localization of the rash – burning and itching. Rashes can spread to the vaginal mucosa and cervix, urethra. Chronic genital herpes can cause cervical cancer. In many cases, genital rashes are accompanied by herpes in the mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes.
Ophthalmic herpes is manifested by a rash on the cornea, subsequently causing the formation of ulcerative defects, a decrease in the sensitivity of the cornea, which contributes to visual impairment. Herpes of the posterior eyeball is rare. Chronic recurrent herpes of the eye can lead to persistent clouding of the cornea, blindness.
The most dangerous are generalized, visceral forms, lesions of the central nervous system that can lead to disability, and even death. Herpetic infection of the nervous system proceeds as serious meningitis or encephalitis. Herpetic encephalitis in 30% of cases leads to death after treatment leaves serious consequences in the form of persistent paralysis and paresis, dementia. Visceral forms of herpes occur in accordance with the clinic of inflammatory diseases of affected organs. These can be herpetic pneumonia, hepatitis, pancreatitis, nephritis, esophagitis, herpes adrenal glands.
With congenital herpes, the placenta is affected, the child is born prematurely or even dead with vesicular skin lesions and disorders in the central nervous system. In newborns and patients with severe immune deficiency, a generalized form of herpes infection can develop, characterized by a high prevalence of skin manifestations, which depends on skin type, lesions of the mucous membranes, and internal organs against the background of general intoxication and fever. The generalized form in AIDS patients often proceeds in the form of herpetiform Kaposi’s eczema.
Diagnostics of cold sores herpes
The diagnosis is made on the basis of the clinical manifestations of the disease, confirmed by the detection of viral DNA in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antibodies by enzyme immunoassay.
The treatment of cold sores
Herpes treatment must be comprehensive and individual and is prescribed by a doctor. Self-medication can lead to the formation of resistant types of the virus, and sometimes to even greater inhibition of immunity. Vaccination is recommended for persons with recurrent herpes, especially women when planning pregnancy for the prevention of congenital herpes in a child.