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Herpes labialis is basically an infection that is caused due to a virus called herpes simplex. This condition results in development of small and painful blisters in the areas near the mouth, gums and lips. Such blisters are also called fever blisters or cold sores. This condition is basically caused by the type 1 herpes simplex virus.

In some cases the symptoms may not be obviously visible and in maximum cases the virus rests within the nerve tissues in a person’s face. This virus tends to reactivate from time to time and produces cold sores. The first symptoms of herpes labialis are noticed in a period of 1 to 2 weeks following contact with a person who is infected.

The sores or lesions associated with herpes labialis may last for around 7 to 10 days and then resolve. Once the lesions heal the virus tends to return to the nerve cells and lies dormant in that region and a recurrence of the infection may occur at a later time. In most cases the recurrence of this infection may be milder as compared to the first outbreak.

Recurrence of herpes labialis may be triggered by factors such as sun exposure, menstruation, illness and stress. Before the lesions erupt patients often experience tingling or itching of the skin. Following this the blisters erupt and these are filled with clear or yellowish fluid. With time the blisters break and the liquid in them oozes out and finally healing takes place.

Diagnosis of herpes labialis is done through physical examination along with culture test of the lesions. Patients suffering from this condition have to take antiviral medication as this can help in reducing the symptoms associated with this condition. Antiviral treatment also helps in reducing the severity of the symptoms and increases the time gap between outbreaks.

Patients of herpes labialis should avoid contact with the lesions or cold sores. This will ensure that the virus does not spread to other areas. It is also advisable for individuals suffering from this condition to avoid sharing face towels, toothbrushes etc with other people. This will ensure that the virus is not transmitted to other individuals. Infected people should also take precautions while indulging in sex.

The most common symptoms of this condition include pharyngitis or inflammation in the lower throat areas and gingivostomatitis. Patients also experience general malaise, fever and may have problems in eating. Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck region are also commonly observed in many cases. The lesions may become quite painful and patients may find swallowing rather difficult.


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