Cold sores not only disfigure. It is accompanied by an itchy rash and pain around the mouth, which are the first symptoms of cold sores caused by the HSV1 virus. You can get infected with it, although it usually attacks a weakened body. Herpes itself is not dangerous, but the complications caused by it - it is, which is why herpes must be treated and prevent its recurrence.
Cold sores are a recurring problem for many people, because almost all of us are carriers of the herpes virus. It is estimated that almost 70% of people in the UK are infected*, but only half of them get sick. It is not entirely clear why this is happening. The role of reduced immunity is raised either locally (topically), e.g. as a result of exposure to UV radiation or general immunity (e.g. as a result of cold disease) in triggering an attack of herpes.
There are two types of HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) viruses:
Type 1 (HSV-1) usually causes sores in and around the mouth and lips (known as ‘cold sores’). However, it can spread to another part of the body during a sexual encounter.
Type 2 (HSV-2) usually causes sores in and around the genitals or anus, but it can spread to another part of the body during a sexual encounter. HSV-1 is very uncommon in genital herpes infections.
* Exact epidemiological data are not available.
The incidence of infection and carriage of the HSV1 herpes virus varies greatly. In European countries, it ranges from the lowest in Finland – 52.4%, in Belgium – 67.4%, in the Czech Republic – 80.6%, in Bulgaria as much as 83.9% and in Turkey even – 97%.
The carrier state frequency of HSV2 also varies. From 4.2% in UK to almost 24% in Bulgaria and as much as 42% in Turkey. It is estimated that in Poland about 15% of the population are carriers of the HSV2 virus. Women are more often carriers.
Symptoms of herpes occur in about 20% of infected people. Their disclosure is affected by a decrease in local immunity, e.g. as a result of intense exposure to UV rays, or a decrease in the body's general immunity, e.g. as a result of severe hypothermia, in the course of other diseases, after treatment with antibiotics, after chemo- or radiotherapy.
In people infected with a virus that is "dormant", reduced body immunity significantly increases the risk of herpes incidents, and better body immunity may be manifested, among others, by: reducing the recurrence of herpes labialis (HSV1 virus) and has a beneficial effect in cases of genital herpes (HSV2 virus). Therefore, it is worth taking immuno-supplements containing spirulina extract to effectively strengthen your immunity.
Antiviral drugs (acyclovir, valacyclovir) administered systemically reduce the severity of symptoms of primary and recurrent infection, but do not eliminate the latent virus and do not reduce the risk of infecting other people or the frequency and severity of relapses after cessation of treatment.
The method of treatment and procedure depends on the clinical situation. In the case of cold sores or the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat, we distinguish:
1) Primary infection – in case of high dynamics and high intensity of lesions or in people with reduced immunity of any kind → acyclovir in tablets, 200 mg taken every 4 - 5 hours (5 times a day) for 3 - 5 days or valacyclovir 2 tablets of 500 mg twice a day (every 12 hours) for 3 – 5 days.
2) Recurent infection (periodic treatment of severe relapses) → it is best to start when prodromal symptoms appear, at the latest on the day of appearance of eruptions; acyclovir tablets, 200 mg every 4-5 hours (5 times a day) for 3-5 days or valacyclovir 2 tablets. 500 mg every 12 hours (2x daily) for 1 day or 500 mg every 12 hours for 3 days; In milder cold sores, acyclovir cream is also effective (5 times a day).
In the case of persistent and/or severe recurrent herpes, it is important to check the efficiency of the immune system and support it appropriately. Immuno-supplements may play a role here. It is also important to check whether there is any situation that results in reduced immunity and take action to eliminate it.
It is a condition that is still an embarrassing problem for most people infected with it. This disease is the most commonly diagnosed STD and is usually caused by the herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2). However, in almost half of cases it is caused by the herpes virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is responsible for the appearance of cold sores on the lips. The HSV-2 virus is exclusively responsible for the appearance of genital herpes. Genital herpes does not cause any symptoms in many people and is passed on to a partner during sexual intercourse. Possible symptoms are very easy to recognize by a doctor, they may include pain and skin changes in the form of blisters located in the genital area and perineum (in both women and men). Sometimes herpes affects the anus and buttocks area. It happens that some patients experience frequent recurrence of herpes symptoms, but they are less bothersome than the first time. People who suffer from genital herpes regularly should take antiviral medications on a regular basis.
Read more: → genital herpes