What is Herpes?
There are two strains of the herpes simplex virus, Type I (HSV-1) and Type II (HSV-2). HSV-1 is the type that is associated with the lips, mouth and face and transmitted via saliva, while HSV-2 is usually sexually transmitted. HSV-1 is the most common type of herpes virus, and many people develop the related sores (lesions) inside the mouth, such as cold sores (fever blisters). HSV is never eliminated from the body, but stays dormant and can reactivate, causing symptoms. When the virus is active, painful ulcerations can develop, but the main indicator of a primary infection is from seeing a diffuse, reddish and painful gum inflammation. Multiple pinhead reddish ulcers tend to cluster and join together over several days. It is normal to experience fever and enlarged lymph nodes during this time. Diagnosis is usually made by labs tests of the cells and tissue. Treatment of the primary infection includes fever reducing meds and fluid management. Antiviral medications such as acyclovir will help to lessen the duration and severity of the lesions. There is no known cure for HSV infection, but treatments can reduce the likelihood of virus spreading and manifesting itself.
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