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Oral Herpes

Cold sores, the bane of many adults existence. It is estimated that some 80% of the entire world’s adult population carries the herpes simplex virus, the virus responsible for the painful outbreaks of afta and cold sores. The virus is sadly incurable, and cannot be removed from the soft tissues, but it can be effectively combated. Here is what you need to know about this virus, and how to control outbreaks and minimize discomfort in the case of one occurring.

The herpes simplex virus

The virus itself can have many different kinds of outbreaks. Genital herpes is a well known form, but the herpes simplex virus can also attack the brain, causing herpetic encephalitis, it can attack the skin, and of course any and all mucous membranes. The herpes virus makes tiny pocks or sores that are pustulent and filled with the virus and antibodies. The outbreaks are characterized by the appearance of such cysts or sores, and these are highly contagious, wherever they may appear. The kind that interests us, or sores that appear on the lip, are the most common, and are known as herpes labialis, herpes of the lips. It is not the only place in the mouth where herpes can appear, as your gingiva can also become infected with herpes and the virus can thus eat away parts of your soft tissues. 

Herpes labialis

Herpes labialis can appear on the lips, the inside of the lips and cheeks, and also on the wet bridge between the nose and the mouth (particularly in cold weather, when this area stays moist). The sores appear when there is an abrasion of this area that comes into contact with the virus, or when the immune system is weakened, and an outbreak cannot be controlled by the bodies natural defenses.

How to treat herpes

An outbreak of herpes is best controlled with topical ointments and creams designed to combat the virus specifically. Such ointments and creams can be easily acquired in most pharmacies, and are usually prescription only. Patients with frequent outbreaks are sometimes told to ingest antiviral medication that kills the virus in the soft tissues, and can weaken the presence of the virus in the body. Not so severe outbreaks, however can be treated with at home and natural cures. Aspirin is said to reduce outbreaks and treats symptoms, as well as licorice root, the enzyme L-lysine, zinc and also aloe vera, which treats any and all skin abrasions and irritations. These cures do not actually attack the virus, but do heal the skin, strengthening the body, and helping it cure itself.  

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