Herpes Labialis : Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and The Cure

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Herpes Labialis Affecting Your Life? Learn What You Need to Know

Herpes labialis is oral herpes. Herpes labialis is commonly referred to as cold sores. It is also known as type one herpes. Herpes labialis is infectious and it is extremely common. It is estimated that in a year more than two per thousand people get infected by the virus that causes herpes labialis. Up to half of the national population gets infected at least once in their lifetime.

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More than three people out of every ten infected will have recurrent outbreaks of the virus and will suffer subsequent episodes of infection. The frequency of such recurrence or outbreaks will reduce in due course of time. The exact timeline varies from person to person.

What is Herpes Labialis?

Labium in entomology is the fused mouthpart that forms the floor of a mouth. Labia is the plural form of labium. Labia in humans are the inner and outer skin folds on both sides of the vagina that look like lips. However, labialis in case of herpes does not refer to the vulva or vaginal lips. Herpes labialis is oral herpes confined to the lips and the immediate surrounding areas of the mouth. A distinction is made between herpes labialis and orofacial herpes. Oral or orofacial herpes is not confined to the lips and the immediate surroundings areas of the mouth.

Herpes Labialis

Orofacial herpes can infect the mouth, parts of the face, parts of the neck and the blisters or sores may stretch downward to the chest, across the shoulders and even around the upper back. There is another type of herpes referred to as herpetic stomatitis. This is another specific infection that is confined to the mouth.

Stoma is a Greek word for mouth. Stomatitis is a common medical term used to refer to conditions in or affecting the mouth. Herpes labialis is often referred to as cold sores and it is not a wrong classification since lips are a part of the face, which is where the symptoms usually occur in case of orofacial herpes.

Causes of Herpes Labialis

Herpes labialis is caused by herpes simplex virus. The family of herpes simplex viruses contains various strains but only eight are now known to affect or infect humans. These have been given numbers one through eight. The most common cause of herpes labialis is herpes simplex virus type one.

Herpes simplex virus type two is the second most common cause. The herpes simplex virus type two is the most common cause of genital herpes. However, this virus can get transmitted from the genital area of an infected person to the mouth or facial area of an uninfected person, thereby causing an infection in or around the mouth. If the symptoms are mostly confined to the lips, then it is herpes labialis.

Human herpes virus one and two or herpes simplex virus one and two are the most common and contagious of all herpes simplex viruses. These two viruses have a much higher likelihood of being transmitted or spread through sexual contact but general physical or nonsexual contact can also facilitate the transmission. Sharing items with people who are infected by herpes simplex viruses can also lead to contracting the contagions.

The other strains in the family are human herpes virus three or varicella-zoster virus that can cause chickenpox, human herpes virus four or Epstein-Barr virus that causes infectious mononucleosis, human herpes virus five or cytomegalovirus that causes mononucleosis, human herpes virus six that is now recognized as one of the agents commonly found in people suffering from roseola and different types of fever, human herpes virus seven that may also cause or facilitate roseola and human herpes virus eight that is found in tumors known as Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

Signs of Herpes Labialis

One of the first signs of herpes labialis is a burning sensation on or around the lips. The pain may be subtle but persistent. Severe infections will cause substantial pain and it may be unbearable at times. The burning sensation and pain would be followed by blisters. The sores or blisters will be small in the early stages but they may get larger and more irritating. Itching is also among the most common and first signs of herpes labialis. Other signs of herpes labialis are sore throat, fever, enlarged lymph nodes and fatigue. The blisters or sores will lead to a rash that may take a week or ten days to heal.

Herpes Simplex Labialis

The rash subsiding does not imply the virus is neutralized. The virus may continue to live but in a dormant state in the facial nerve. Recurring reactivation and subsequent outbreak of the virus is common. This will lead to a recurrence of the same signs of herpes labialis.

The severity of the symptoms may weaken over recurrent outbreaks. It is quite possible for some of the symptoms to spread beyond the immediate area around the lips. The extent of exposure to the virus will determine the severity and the spread of the symptoms.

The signs of herpes labialis may worsen due to exposure to sunlight. Menstrual period may worsen the symptoms. Psychological stress and fever would also increase the severity of the symptoms. Since herpes labialis may be caused by herpes simplex virus one or two or both, there is a possibility of contracting both orofacial herpes and genital herpes at the same time. While genital herpes is usually contracted through sexual contact, herpes labialis can be caused through casual touches as well.

Kissing, normal touch on the face or lips and other nonsexual contact can easily spread the virus and can also worsen the symptoms or signs of herpes labialis.

ICD 10 Code for Herpes Labialis

International Classification of Diseases is the system used by healthcare providers including physicians, doctors, specialists and insurers. Presently, the tenth revision pertaining to clinical modification is used. This is referred to as ICD-10-CM or ICD 10 Code. ICD is for International Classification of Diseases, the number 10 is for the tenth revision and CM is for clinical modification. The ICD 10 Code covers everything from symptoms and diagnoses to procedures or treatments.

Parasitic and infectious diseases are classified with A00 to B99 codes. B00 to B09 pertains to viral infections that are characterized by mucous membrane and skin lesions. B00 is the commencement of the codes used for various herpes simplex or herpesviral infections. The ICD 10 code for diagnosis of herpes labialis is B00.1. This is often referred to as herpesviral vesicular dermatitis. B00.1 is a billable ICD 10 code for reimbursement of costs of diagnosis. The ICD 10 code for herpes labialis has been in effect since 2015. The code may vary in some countries. The code B00.1 is used across the United States and many other countries.

Treatments for Herpes Labialis

There are two types of treatments for herpes labialis. One is traditional medicine and the other is natural cures. You ought to assess the differences between traditional and natural treatments before you choose either. There are no vaccines for herpes labialis yet. Substantial research and trials are underway but we may be a few years away from any promising outcome that would be rolled out for widespread immunization. The main problem with traditional treatments is the effect. Most traditional treatments have no curing effect.

Traditional treatments include docosanol, which is a saturated fatty alcohol. It is deemed safe and its topical application is approved by the food and drug administration. There are other treatments such as antiviral creams, zinc oxide, zinc sulfate and anesthetic. Doctors usually recommend acyclovir or penciclovir. These are antiviral medicines. These usually facilitate healing to a nominal extent but they are not a cure. Doctors also recommend pills such as famciclovir and valacyclovir.

Some traditional medicines have no side effects. Others do and the severity of such interactions would vary from person to person. A few creams and pills may interact with other drugs that you may be taking at the time. It is necessary to factor in medical history and the medications anyone is on when any of the medicines or treatments for herpes labialis is prescribed.

There are many natural treatments for herpes labialis. You may use herbal extracts and homemade concoctions including creams. There are mandatory changes to lifestyle that can be instrumental in the healing process. You may choose natural topical solutions or you may make organic drinks to help the healing from within.

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There are dietary changes you can consider to get the macronutrients and micronutrients that would strengthen your immune system and empower it to fight the viral infection. Avoiding foods that facilitate inflammations and infections in tissues and cells is advised so the symptoms do not worsen.

Natural treatments for herpes labialis are affordable and safer. The remedies do not have identical impacts on everyone. It is necessary to observe and assess the healing process to make the right choices. Herbal extracts, natural homemade remedies, dietary changes, lifestyle and adequate rest coupled with impeccable hygiene would speed up the healing process and you would be able to cure herpes labialis, not just suppress the virus to dormancy.

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Note: This Page was last updated on Monday 17th of December 2018

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