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have you cold sore?
Infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV) has increased in prevalence worldwide over the past two decades. Oral herpes is very common. More than 60% of Americans have had a cold sore, and almost 25% of those infected experience recurrent outbreaks.
Both herpes virus type 1 and type 2 can cause herpes lesions on the lips or genitals, but recurrent cold sores are almost always type 1.
Prompt recognition of infection and early initiation of appropriate therapy are essential for effective management of this disease. The antiviral treatment must be given before the time that high-titered endogeneous interferon activity - the normal host defense mechanism having a role in recovery - appears. In an otherwise healthy person, the lesions heal without scarring within 6 to10 days.
What does herpes look like?
Before a cold sore appears the area will sometimes tingle, feel slightly raised and may appear red and inflamed.This pain or tingling sensation is called the prodrome and typically occurs 1 to 2 days before the cold sore appears.
A cold sore generally appears as a small, fluid-filled blister which goes through a cycle of phases. The blister will usually weep (ulcerate) and form a scab before healing and disappearing completely.
While anyone can be infected by herpes virus, not everyone will show visible symptoms.
A latent (sleeping) virus can wait inside the nervous system for days, months, or even years. At some future time, the virus awakens and causes the cell to produce thousands of new viruses that cause an active infection (outbreak).
If and when a recurrence does happen it is sometimes related to a time when the immune system is weakened or under pressure, such as after an illness, during times of stress, due to a poor lifestyle, surgery, etc.
Although merely a painful annoyance for most people, oral herpes infection can be life threatening for a person with an impaired immune system (AIDS, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, transplantation).
If you have noticed something different do not delay! Visit your health care provider as soon as possible. Genital herpes can be mistaken for many different conditions and should always be diagnosed professionally.
For the best results, drug treatment should begin during the prodrome stage before blisters are visible. Currently available therapies are not effective in reducing symptoms caused by HSV type 1 or type 2 once the lesion has formed.
There is no cure for herpes virus infections. There are antiviral drugs available that have some effect on lessening the symptoms and decreasing the duration of outbreaks. These drugs work by interfering with the replication of the viruses, and are most effective when taken as early as possible.
Acyclovir can be given intravenously or taken by mouth. It can be applied directly to sores as an ointment, but is not very useful in this form.
Alternative treatments that may affect the recurrence, duration and number of cold sores:
- vitamin C and bioflavonoids;
- vitamin and mineral supplements, zinc;
- vitamin B complex by supporting the nervous system where viruses can hide out. B complex vitamins can also help manage stress;
- a diet that is rich in the amino acid lysine (since an imbalance in the amino acids lysine and arginine is thought to be one contributing factor in herpes virus outbreaks);
- foods rich in arginine (chocolate, nuts and seeds) should be avoid;
- omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) incorporate into the cell membrane and block the virus penetration into the cell.
The clinical results demonstrated that supplementary fish oil and lysine may be useful therapeutic measures. Omega-3 fatty acids and lysine have antiviral activity by themselves and when combined, they exhibit a synergic antiviral effect.
This is supported by taking a natural product Epavir capsules, a patented combination of L-lysine and omega-3 fish oil (60% EPA/DHA) against HSV type 1 infections.