A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Oral Herpes

Oral Herpes: Oral herpes is an infection of the lips, mouth or gums due to the herpes simplex virus. It causes small, painful blisters commonly called cold sores or fever blisters. Oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). After the first infection, the virus goes to sleep (becomes dormant) in the nerve tissues in the face. Later the virus reactivates causing cold sores.

Herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2) usually causes genital herpes. However, sometimes HSV-2 is spread to the mouth during oral sex, causing oral herpes. Herpes viruses spread easily. You can catch this virus if you have intimate or personal contact with someone who is infected. You can also catch it if you touch items infected with the herpes virus such as infected razors, towels, dishes and other shared items.

It is not possible to completely prevent becoming infected with the herpes simplex virus or to prevent outbreaks of cold sores.
Cold sores are at their most contagious when they burst (rupture), but remain contagious until they are completely healed. You should therefore avoid close contact with others until your cold sore has completely healed and disappeared. Parents may spread the virus to their children during regular daily activities.

It is possible for the cold sore virus to spread to other parts of your body. This is known as a secondary infection. Secondary infections can usually be easily treated with antiviral medication. If this happens see your doctor immediately.


Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

Health Issues

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UK-based trade group the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) has written a formal letter of complaint to the BBC about a controversial BBC2 Horizon programme about the food supplements industry.