Herpes: why it usually appears on the lips, what threatens pregnant women and what forms it can take

Health Tips

Why does herpes come back?

Herpes may not show up at all. And it can give quite a lot of episodes during the year, which is associated with the state of the immune system. The most common cause of relapses is a weakened immune system in the form of colds.

Classically, herpes simplex appears as a limited reddish spot with grouped small identical vesicles with serous contents. In people whose immune system is actively “fighting” the virus, there may be an atypical manifestation of the infection in the form of reddish spots without vesiculation (vesicle formation).

There are two theories explaining the recurrence episodes of this infection. The first hypothesis is called “static”. Its essence is that the virus is in a suppressed state in the ganglia of sensitive neurons, and a decrease in immunity, the factors of which most often include colds, leads to the virus moving to the upper layer of the skin, where it actively multiplies.

Another theory is called “dynamic”. She believes that the virus constantly multiplies and is released into the skin, but the protective forces (immunity) resist the clinical manifestation of this infection.

Unfortunately, at the present stage of the development of medicine, once in the sensitive ganglia, the herpes simplex virus cannot be “removed” from the body. You can create conditions so that these episodes do not exist at all, or there are few of them. Treatment is to suppress viral replication.

labial and genital herpes

Herpes on the lips, the so-called labial, can go away without treatment. But a person with an active manifestation of herpes is contagious to others, manifestations lead to unpleasant sensations in the form of pain and burning. Therefore, when an episode of herpes occurs, you should consult a doctor to prescribe a course of antiherpetic treatment, which includes both external treatment and systemic treatment in the form of appropriate tablets. Patients with frequent episodes of herpes need a deeper examination.

Genital herpes is a type of simple herpes and is most often caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (genital), although in recent years it can also be caused by herpes simplex virus type 1. The danger is that during the primary infection of a pregnant woman, there may be a risk of developing congenital deformities and miscarriage. In addition, genital herpes is a kind of sexually transmitted infection.

How is herpes transmitted and why is it dangerous for pregnant women?

More often by contact. That is, with the manifestation of herpes on the skin or mucous membranes in one of the localizations of the infected person, it “transfers” to a conditionally healthy skin or mucous membrane of another person. More often, for the penetration of the virus, the mucous or skin must have small, often imperceptible damage. That is, the skin or mucous membrane at the site of infection has lost its barrier function. Self-infection (autoinoculation) is also possible, when a patient transfers herpes from one infected area to another.

Children can become infected both during pregnancy: through the placenta, blood, and during the passage of the fetus through the birth canal. There may also be contact infection after birth. The most susceptible to the latter are children with a weakened immune system, an immature immune system. Infection during pregnancy most often occurs in premature babies.

A child can be infected by a close relative, for example, through a kiss. Tabloids often write about such cases, attaching creepy photos of injured babies as illustrations.

The spread of the virus is possible in immunocompromised children. These are children with severe chronic diseases whose body is so weakened that the virus begins to spread throughout the body. For example, there is a disease called Kaposi’s eczema herpetiformis. These are most often children with manifestations of exacerbation of atopic dermatitis (the old name is neurodermatitis), in which herpes due to inflammation on the scalp begins to spread widely and leads to threatening conditions. But it should be remembered that for the spread of herpes there must be conditions in the form of a weakened organism. Healthy always “localizes” (limits) the course of infection.

Photo: Pexels.com

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