Facial Herpes

All About Facial Herpes

Facial herpes are most commonly seen on the mouth area and around the nose. It is caused by HSV, also known as the herpes simplex virus. There are 2 types of this virus and they are refereed to as HSV1 and HSV2. Most cases of facial herpes come from the HSV1 strain but although HSV2 is mostly associated with the genitals, it can also cause facial herpes. Cross infections can happen and in these cases, the virus may spread to the genitals.

Millions of people who are over the age of 50 have HSV1. In some areas of the world, the statistics can reach 90% for people over 50. But most of the time, people do not have any symptoms. There can be a few minor outbreaks in a lifetime but only 30% of people report reoccurrences of facial herpes. The symptoms include tiny fluid filled blisters that appear in the infected areas. These blisters are also referred to as sun blisters, fever blisters, or herpes labialis.

HSV1 is beginning to cause new genital herpes outbreaks. New research suggests that because young people who already have HSV1 are becoming more sexually active when it comes to genital-oral contact, genital herpes is spreading at an alarming rate. This is probably due to the childhood reduction of HSV1, which means that in the teenage years, individuals become more susceptible to getting the infection.

Facial herpes happens when there is a tiny crack or abrasion in the skin. The virus invades the crack in the skin and at first; a person may not be aware that he/she is infected. Occasionally, a person can have beginning symptoms and they include blisters around the gums and lip area, flu-like symptoms, a fever, and sore throat. The blisters can take a full 2 weeks to fully heal and during this time enlarged lymph nodes and neck pain can also be seen. People who suffer with facial herpes have less severe symptoms if they have the disease when they are young. Older people have much more severe symptoms.  

The herpes simplex virus follows the paths in the nerves and remains in the trigeminal ganglion throughout the person’s life. This virus can be reactivated occasionally and cause an outbreak. This is called a reoccurrence. This reoccurrence only means that the virus will attack the body again but it doesn’t mean that the outbreak will appear in the same area. Facial herpes can appear around the mouth area or around the nose. These reoccurrences are normally not as severe as the first outbreak.

The first symptoms of a reoccurring outbreak can be a tingling feeling in the infected area. This may last for 6 to 8 hours and there can also be a slight itch. After the 8 hour period, the skin can become swollen and tiny blisters filled with fluid can start to form. These blisters can be very painful, especially after they pop. The result is dry scabbing skin that can easily split or crack. It can take 2 to 3 weeks for these blisters to fully heal.

The most common way facial herpes is spread is through touching. Hugging or kissing an infected person spread this condition. You can also get it by using a towel, sharing makeup or sharing drinks with an infected person. Although a person is highly contagious when they have open or draining sores, they can also be contagious when there are no symptoms present.

To avoid a reoccurrence while suffering with facial herpes, you should limit exposure to excessive sunlight and tanning beds. It is recommended that you should also avoid drinking hot liquids and tell your dentist that you suffer with facial herpes before having any type of oral surgery.