Oral herpes is a communicable infection characterized by painful lesions in the mouth, gums, tongue as well as the inside of your cheeks. The herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is responsible for these mouth sores, while herpes simplex virus-2 causes genital herpes. It can be transferred via infected saliva and mucous membranes. Oral herpes comes from the same family of viruses along with chickenpox and measles. This disease can affect anybody, especially children 1-2 years and older.
The disease goes through three stages. The first one is Primary Infection. This is where the HSV-1 virus enters the skin and multiplies. Skin lesions usually characterize this stage. But most of the time, it can go undetected, as it doesn't show any symptoms. Latency would then follow. Here, the virus strikes the mass of nervous tissues known as the dorsal root. They will reproduce and go dormant. Triggered by stressful conditions, they would soon come back and fall into the last stage, which is Recurrence.
It is very easy to treat oral herpes. It isn't as alarming as other forms of herpes. Here are the ways to treat it:
Specific antiviral drugs. Oral acyclovic (Zovirax) can be taken in pill-form or topical creams. This drug can prevent the replication of the virus. Valacyclocir (Valtrex) and Famciclovir (Famvir) are both oral pills that work the same way. As mentioned, acyclovir (Zovirax) has a topical solution, which must be applied every 2 hours for 4 consecutive days. Penciclovir (Denavir) helps soothe the oral sores faster and lessens the pain. Docosanol cream (Abreva) is an FDA-approved drug that should be applied 5 times a day, especially at the onset of pain.
Over-the-counter medicine. Anesthetic drugs such as Anbesol gel, blister lip ointment, campho-phenique, Herepecin-L, Viractin and Zillactin can also be taken to stop the itchiness on the swollen area. Children are not advised to takes aspirin, so a dose of Acetaminophen can be substituted.
Symptomatic relief for oral herpes
- Avoid touching the sores.
- Refrain from kissing and sex.
- Eat only soft and bland foods and chew slowly.
- Wash hands as often as possible.
- Apply cornstarch or similar product on the affected area to avoid scratching.
- Put ice packs on the affected area to lessen the swelling.
- Take aspirin to stop the pain.
With today's medical advancements, oral herpes can be easily treated. You should not expect an overnight miracle though. Discipline and sacrifice still work best. The most important thing in treating oral herpes is to keep the body clean at all times. Early detection is the key for a speedy recovery. Follow the medications listed religiously. Give the body the rest it deserves. With just a few days' sacrifice, you can be free and reclaim your life.