Cold sores (herpes labialis) is an infection of the mouth and lips caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1.
Often cold sores are confused with aphthae (stomatitis), but aphthae forms in the oral mucosa and on the tongue and not on the outside of the mouth.
Link between cold sores and genital herpes
» Cold sores are mainly caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).
Characteristic are blisters between cheeks and lips.
Most often, cold sores are transmitted by:
- other types of physical closeness.
» Genital herpes (genital herpes) is caused by the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). This virus leads to the formation of small blisters in the genital area, which provoke an unpleasant itching and burning.
Genital herpes is almost always transmitted through sexual contact.
» Through sexual intercourse, the genital herpes virus can also cause cold sores and vice versa.
However, since oral herpes is usually transmitted by HSV-1 and genital herpes by HSV-2, this type of transmission is rare.
Disease stages of cold sores
Herpes infection goes through three stages of the disease.
Initial infection: As a rule, the first infection by HSV-1 occurs in children between the first 6 months and 4 years of age and causes a primary infection.
The virus enters the skin or mucous membrane and multiplies.
At this stage, the following may occur:
- cold sores,
- other symptoms such as fever.
But this does not have to be the case, the infection can also go completely unnoticed. In this case, it is called an asymptomatic infection.
Asymptomatic infection is more common than diseases with symptoms.
The course of cold sores can be described as follows:
- After a few days, the bubbles burst.
- The burst bubbles are soon replaced by crusts.
Latency (resting state): From the site of infection, the virus travels to a nerve node located in the spine called the dorsal ganglion.
In this position, the virus multiplies again and then remains in a kind of rest mode.
Reactivation or reinfection (recurrence, relapse): With certain mental and physical stresses, the virus can be reactivated and cause symptoms and blisters again.
One cause of recurrence may be a viral illness, such as a simple cold.
Causes of cold sores
- Herpes in the oral region is extremely contagious and is transmitted through contact with:
- Mucous membrane
- The disease can be easily transmitted through physical contact with an infected person.
- You can also get cold sores through oral sex. However, this is less common because genital herpes is transmitted through the strain of HSV-2.
- There are other causes, such as:
- strong sunlight,
- psychological stress,
- mouth injuries,
- dental procedures, etc.
According to the theory of the blood type diet, cold sores can be caused by diet, especially when consuming:
- sausages or pork,
- too much nut fruits (walnuts, peanuts, pistachios) or oily seeds (sunflower, pumpkin seeds, etc.).
What is cold sores contagious?
Transmission occurs through direct saliva contact (for example, through a kiss).
Virus transmission can also occur during a symptom-free infection.
Contagion is possible:
- if the lesions are visible,
- in the preceding period (asymptomatic shedding).
Risk factors for cold sores
Factors that favor the onset of cold sores include:
- Weakened immune system (for example, due to regular use of cortisone-containing medication)
- Respiratory infections
- Emotional stress
- Solar radiation (ultraviolet light)
- Menstrual bleeding and hormonal changes
Symptoms of cold sores
- As a rule, herpes labialis appears on the lips and spreads around the mouth.
- The injuries begin as reddened spots that swell into papules and eventually turn into blisters.
This process takes about 1-3 days.
- The blisters burst within a week and crusts remain on the skin.
- A herpes infection of the oral mucous membranes usually does not cause a fever.
The appearance is usually limited to small clusters of tiny bubbles that burst and leave crusts.
- If the immune system is weakened, chronic blistering can occur.
The initial symptoms (prodrom) of cold sores include:
- Tingling at the mouth.
Symptoms usually occur in adults and can be mild or very intense.
Before the appearance of the blisters, the following complaints may occur:
- Sore throat
- Enlarged glands
- Facial pain
Normally, the blisters form within 1-3 weeks of infection by the virus and can last up to 3 weeks.
- Skin itching around the mouth and lips
- Burning lips or mouth
- Very severe pain in the affected area, especially when eating, when moving the lips or tongue.
- Tingling in the lip or mouth region.
- Fluid leakage due to the bursting of some red bubbles.
- Small bubbles full of a light yellow liquid.
- Small bubbles that grow together and form a large bubble.
- As the blisters heal, yellowish crusts form, which eventually fall off, leaving pink patches of skin.
With a renewed outbreak of cold sores, the symptoms are usually weaker.
Renewed outbreak of infection:
The cold sores caused by herpes labialis are considered the most common recurrent disease.
As a rule, they always occur in the same place, initially about once a month, over the years the frequency decreases: about two to three times a year.
Two days before the formation of blisters, you can already feel the first symptoms.
Diagnosis of cold sores
Usually, the doctor detects cold sores (or an infection from oral herpes) by examining the inner and outer oral cavity.
The doctor can have the contents of the blisters examined in the laboratory to confirm the suspicion of herpes virus.
Treatment of cold sores
Cold sores can heal on its own within a week.
Nevertheless, there is no means to rid the body of the virus once it has been infected with it.
There are treatment options to relieve the infection-related pain.
The doctor may prescribe medications that shorten the duration of infection and relieve pain, such as the following antiviral agents (antivirals): • penciclovir (pencivir) • acyclovir (Zovirax®, acyclostad®) • famciclovir (Famvir) • valaciclovir®® (Valtrex®)
The virus-fighting agents must be taken when the first symptoms become noticeable (within the first 48 hours):
tingling or burning.
If bubbles have already formed, they are of no use.
A medicine containing antibiotic and cortisone, such as sulmycin ointment with Celestan-V, is not helpful because cold sores are caused by a virus; an antibiotic is only effective for bacterial infections.
Over-the-counter ointments can help relieve the pain.
However, there is always a risk that the symptoms will recur, especially with stress.
Diet and nutrition for cold sores
As a rule, diseases can be cured or avoided by natural diets; The most effective methods are explained below.
According to the blood group diet, there is a connection between:
- Blood group
- Development of diseases and symptoms after eating certain foods.
For example, a person with blood type 0 may get sick after eating the following foods:
- Milk and dairy products
- Smoked salmon
- Peanuts, pistachios
- Lentils, etc.
All people can get cold sores by eating the following foods:
- Excess of seeds and fruit.
According to hygienism, the ideal diet is vegan, with a raw food content of at least 50%; the reasons are as follows:
In the body, there are mainly two types of lymphocytes (white blood cells) present in the blood:
- TH1 cells: fight viruses and bacteria;
- TH2 cells: are activated by substances that cause parasites and allergies.
By activating one cell type, the other is inhibited and vice versa.
Under normal circumstances, the TH1 cell is able to fight herpes, but a poor diet can weaken defenses against the virus because the body is just fighting other battles against:
- parasites (which are mainly found in meat and fish)
- Substances that cause allergic reactions, such as cereals, which belong to the sweet grasses, and dairy products.
A plant-based diet usually does not lead to an activation of TH2 cells, so it is recommended to consume:
- Seeds and nut fruits.
Natural remedies for cold sores
Yoga is surprisingly effective in treating herpes.
Stress and an attacked immune system are risk factors for herpes.
Yoga has a relaxing effect and can be used extremely helpful in this case.
It is said that there is a close relationship between herds of herpes and stress.
If the emotive tensions decrease, the number of relapses of cold sores can be reduced.
Aloe Vera Real aloe is a panacea
that can be used for a wide variety of ailments.
The gel contained in the freshly cut leaves is used.
Apply this gel to the cold sores; in this way, their healing is supported and the inflammation generated by the bladder is alleviated with immediate effect.
The lemon has disinfectant properties and can accelerate the rupture of the vesicles and the formation of crusts.
- put lemon juice on a handkerchief or cotton bud;
- Gently apply to the blisters 2 to 3 times a day.
Tea tree oil Tea tree oil
is among the most effective essential oils because it is a natural antiviral.
Apply 2-3 drops to the blisters 4 times a day.
Garlic and cloves
Garlic has a high antibacterial and antiseptic effect.
Swallow 3-4 cloves daily to strengthen the immune system, or squeeze garlic cloves and apply the liquid to the blisters 2 to 3 times a day.
In this way, the deep layers of the skin can be reached and the vesicle root can be acted.
Propolis is found in conifers and poplar buds, it is a brownish, resinous mass.
Bees often use propolis to seal their hives.
The antiseptic properties are also used in the treatment of cold sores.
Melissa extract Melissa extract
(or ointment) can relieve the itching of cold sores, making it one of the most effective home remedies.
Packs Cold packs in the form of ice or tea bags relieve the pain.
Refrigerate at regular intervals throughout the day.
Also, the attachment of heat (tea bags) can support the healing of the bubbles enormously.
Medicinal plants and medicinal herbs
› Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata): This plant strengthens the immune system because it fights HSV-1 with its antiviral effect.
› Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): This ancient medicinal plant contains compounds that activate macrophages, which favors the destruction of infected cells; it also helps repair the infected tissue.
› Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): contains polyphenols that promote the healing of vesicles and crusts; in addition, the intensity of symptoms is reduced if cold sores break out again.
› Olive tree (Olea europaea): The leaves of the olive tree have antiviral properties against HSV-1 and prevent the virus from multiplying.
› Rhubarb (Rheum officinale): The anthraquinones obtained from rhubarb root have an antiviral effect against the herpes virus type 1.
› Santolina insularis: Essential oil from holy herb has an antibacterial and antiviral effect. Heiligenkraut prevents the cell from transmitting the herpes virus and deactivates it.