What is labial herpes and how to treat it

Labial herpes (herpes labium), or, as it is also called, cold sores, is one of the most common types of infections in the world. This infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, less commonly herpes simplex type 2. Labial herpes can be transmitted through kissing or sexual contact, causing genital herpes.


The appearance of a bubbly watery rash in and around the lips is a phenomenon familiar to almost everyone. Herpes on the lips belongs to those types of virus, which are very simple and easy to get infected, but completely impossible to cure. Herpes, as you know, lives in the body forever. As a rule, the virus is in a latent form until certain reasons for activation.

Decreased immunity

Let’s consider several reasons that provoke the virus to go into activity:


stressful condition, nervous tension, depression;

open sores on the lips;

abuse of alcoholic products or drugs;

chronic fatigue;

poor nutrition;

Unhealthy Lifestyle;

severe overheating or hypothermia.

All these phenomena quite intensively reduce immunity, as a result of which, accordingly, labial herpes occurs.

Transmission routes

The infectious herpes labialis virus is transmitted by:

By airborne contamination. Being on the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, nasopharynx, upper respiratory tract and nose. The virus is released into the environment when you sneeze, talk, scream or cough.

The household method of transmission of the virus occurs through common household items, visiting public toilets, through the water in swimming pools and baths.

The contact line of transmission is kissing or smoking a patient’s cigarette, here the virus is transmitted through the exchange of salivation. Through the dirty hands of a virus carrier during a handshake.

Due to medical errors. By means of unsterilized medical devices and instruments.


The primary signs of the manifestation of labialis are very similar to the symptoms of ordinary acute respiratory infections, and therefore these diseases are usually confused. At the initial stage, labial herpes is practically not clearly expressed. In some cases, there are:

itching in the area of ​​infection;

pain in the lips or nasopharynx;

an increase in body temperature;


severe irritability.

After 1-2 days, a rash occurs in the form of transparent watery bubbles. The development of labial herpes is equally the same for everyone and proceeds in stages:

Burning and itching begins in the affected area, redness occurs in the localization area, symptoms of general intoxication increase.

There are rashes in the form of watery transparent bubbles ranging in size from one to four millimeters. They contain a significant number of virus particles. A large number of bubbles can combine into a solid focus and spread over the skin of the face. Any part of the body can be affected through the hands – from the eyes, neck to legs.

After 2-4 days, the bubbles begin to burst, painful ulcers form, they begin to gradually become covered with dried crusts of a yellowish-brownish color. Erosion cracks, exposing the affected tissue. There is a possibility of further penetration and additional infection.

Over the next 4-6 days, the tissue begins to heal gradually, the crusts fall off, the time for remission comes. The disease rarely seriously injures the deeper layer of the skin, therefore it does not leave scars.

The total duration of herpes labialis from the moment of virus activation to the time of remission varies widely, from 6 days to 2 weeks.


Labial herpes has the ability to recur. Secondary cases of the disease may appear approximately every 2-3 months. More often with a problem with the immune system. The following serious complications are likely:

deepened skin lesions, scars and scars;

periodic occurrence of tumors;

the occurrence of neuropathologies;

virus infection of the eye area, the formation of conjunctivitis, the occurrence of cataracts or glaucoma.


At the initial stage of the onset, the treatment of labial herpes can be carried out independently at home. With a fairly frequent manifestation of a cold on the lips, it is better to immediately go to the clinic for consultation with the attending physician. In this case, after the diagnosis is made, the doctor will make a certain discharge and prescribe the appropriate medications. Remedies for herpes on the lips are divided into antiviral and immunomodulatory. Antivirals are available both in tablets and in the form of ointments and gels.

Consider the most effective antiviral drugs:

Valacyclovir, Valvir, Valtrex, Valacyclovir Canon, Valtsikon – tablets. Used to treat and prevent herpes labialis and herpes zoster virus infections.

Acyclovir – tablets, powder, lyophilisate, ointment, cream. It is used in the treatment and prevention of exacerbations of recurrent infections of the skin and mucous membranes caused by herpes simplex type 1 and type 2. The drug is usually well tolerated.

Famciclovir-Teva, Famvir, Famatsivir, Familar, Minaker – tablets. They are used for primary disease, exacerbation of chronic infection. They are also used to suppress recurrent infections.

It is necessary to use immunomodulatory agents:

Interferon, Lokferon, Inferon, Lyophilisate (preparation for solution for injection). There are contraindications, apply only after consultation and recommendation of the attending physician.

Imudon – lozenges. Immunostimulating drug. Increases the production of immunoglobulin A.

In some cases, it is necessary to take antipyretics:

Nurofen – tablets.

Ibuprofen – tablets, ointment, gel, suppositories, capsules, suspension.

Mig 400 – tablets.

Nurofen forte – tablets.

Nurofen Express – tablets.

With a mild course of labial herpes, you can only do with herpes ointments on the lips. But with a more serious manifestation of the disease, which is expressed not only in frequent rashes, but also in a prolonged course of the rash, it is necessary to use special pills for colds on the lip, which should be prescribed by the attending physician.

Summing up, it is worth noting that herpes on the lips usually does not cause complications and is easily treated. But we must remember that labial herpes requires complex treatment. In addition to medications, traditional medicine can be used to help the rash heal faster. If relapses of labile herpes occur frequently, then this may indicate a disease of the internal organs or serious problems with the immune system. Therefore, with persistent herpes on the lips, an urgent need to consult a doctor.

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