a doctor examining a patient's skin near her wrist

Herpes Simplex Treatment

Herpes simplex is the clinical phrase for a viral infection that causes cold sores, which are also known as fever blisters. They are painful, fluid-filled, highly contagious, and very conspicuous because they generally erupt on and around the mouth.

At IDI, we help patients manage outbreaks of cold sores, giving them the tools and treatment options that best accommodate their individual medical circumstances and lifestyles.

 

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What is Herpes Simplex?

Herpes simplex cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 viral strain. The condition is spread by direct or indirect contact from the infection site to the mouth, but infections and outbreaks in the eyes and nasal cavity can occur. Genital herpes is typically caused by the HSV-2 viral strain, though HSV-1 can also be transmitted to the genitals.

The first outbreak of cold sores tends to be the most severe. Cold sores are usually preceded by a tingling or itching sensation at the site for a few days before the outbreak. The eruptions tend to start out as small, firm blisters which fill with fluid and sometimes burst and scab. They can be itchy and painful.

In addition to the blisters, you might experience the following symptoms during your first few outbreaks:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sensitive gums
  • Sore muscles
  • Sore throat

 

Blisters will clear up on their own within two weeks, though some outbreaks might last as long as one month.

Diagnosis Process

A visual examination is usually all that will be necessary to confirm a herpes simplex diagnosis, but samples might be taken for laboratory testing and confirmation.

Treatment Options

While herpes simplex is not curable, you can manage the condition with medications that cause the outbreaks to be shorter and more infrequent. Additionally, some medications can help make the viral strain less transmissible.

If you experience severe, painful, and frequent outbreaks, a course of antiviral injections might be recommended.

If you struggle with cold sores, the team at IDI can help you overcome the discomfort of periodic outbreaks. Contact us today for an appointment.

 

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