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Dermatology

Keloids: How to get rid of them

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Scars come in several different ways- different colors, textures, and sizes. Over time, several scars grow smaller, smoother, and less noticeable.

But even mild injuries may cause scars that are disproportionately large, elevated, and dark in color in about 10 percent of people.

They extend well beyond the initial skin injury and can continue to develop over time. Keloids are classified as these types of scars.

Simple facts about keloids

  • Keloids may be a problem because of their appearance, particularly if they are on the face, neck, or hands.
  • The way to get rid of keloids is not foolproof.
  • In some individuals, particularly those with more pigment in their skin, a keloid forms as a result of an exaggerated healing response.
  • Keloids may be able to enhance the appearance of prescription drugs and in-office procedures.

Why are keloids a problem?

keloids
Keloids, unlike other scars, do not regress over time.

People with keloids, though unsightly, may have problems that go beyond esthetics. Keloids, if they occur near a joint, such as the knee or ankle, may cause pain, tightness, or even restricted range of motion.

Excessive skin stretching can cause itching, and keloids are susceptible to rubbing on clothing because of their larger size, causing discomfort.

Like any scar, keloids can be tricky to treat. However, medical advancements in keloid treatment are being made that could hold promise.

For people who are susceptible to having keloids, preventing keloids by proper wound treatment and avoiding skin damage, such as piercings, is the best approach.

Causes

A keloid develops due to the skin’s exaggerated response to an injury. Keloids can cause even small cuts. Some of the most common keloid triggers include:

  • cuts or punctures, including from shaving
  • burns
  • incisions from surgery
  • insect bites
  • skin conditions, such as acne
  • chickenpox or diseases that cause scarring of the skin
  • tattoos or piercings

Without any apparent cause, some keloids form. An analysis in the Journal of Medical Investigations and Practice states that without the existence of a skin injury, certain keloids have been known to appear. They can also pop up years after an accident has occurred.

It sends collagen-making cells to repair the wound when the skin is injured. The cells hopefully do their job and close the wound, leaving a tiny scar. For keloids, even after the wound is healed, the skin’s cells begin to multiply. The scar tissue, forming a big, raised scar, continues to develop.

Although keloids can occur in any type of skin, they are more likely to develop in:

  • Those with a history of Keloids in the family
  • People under 30, particularly adolescents who are going through puberty,
  • People who are pregnant
  • individuals with darker skin tones, such as those people of Asian, Hispanic, or African-American descent, are also more prone to developing keloids than other people

Keloids are known to be a type of tumor that is benign. They do not turn into cancer or raise serious health issues, even though they can be bothersome.

Keloids and piercings

Use of non-metal earing backs
The use of non-metal earing backs can help avoid the formation of keloids after ear piercing.

Keloids are also formed after piercings. In comparison to other skin injuries, it is unclear if they occur more often after piercings. They are more common than on other parts of the body on the earlobes, but this is possibly because piercings are a popular place for the earlobes.

While it is not always possible to avoid keloids, there could be a few ways to decrease the chance of having one after a piercing:

Use non-metal earring backs

A research in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology investigated the explanation why, after an ear piercing, keloids appeared to develop more often on the back of the earlobe. They determined that on the back of the earlobe, earrings with metal backs more frequently contributed to keloids.

As such, they say that the use of non-metal earring backs may be a way to minimize the risk after a piercing of having a keloid on the back of the earlobe.

Piercings and age

In children who had their ears pierced after 11 years of age, a study in AAP News & Journals found that keloids from ear piercings were more common. The occurrence of keloids was much lower in children under the age of 11 years after ear piercings.

If there is a family history of keloids, the writers recommended having the piercing before 11 years of age, or preventing ear piercing.

Keloids are notoriously hard to remove once you have them and have a very high risk of re-growing once they are surgically cut out. This is because the body is likely to react to this surgery in the same exaggerated way as it did to the initial injury.

Home remedies

There have been no home remedies shown to get rid of keloids once they have formed. Although, after a skin injury, there are a few things that people can do at home to either avoid the development of keloids or diminish their appearance.

Silicone sheeting or gel

Silicone is one of the most frequently used scar treatments, and some raised and keloid scars have been shown to help shrink. Silicone is readily used and has a low chance of adverse effects.

Reviews published in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery confirm that the use of silicone sheeting or gel as suggested will provide an efficient way to minimize or avoid the development of existing raised scars.

A heavy cream or lotion on the skin

A review in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science notes that some skin products can enhance the appearance of a scar, such as those containing lanolin or petrolatum. As the wound is healing, people can use the creams on a daily basis to cover the scar.

While creams containing onion extract or vitamin E are commonly used for scars, these ingredients have not been shown to help with keloids, an analysis in American Family Physician and a study in Dermatologic Surgery found.

Medical treatments

Options include:

Tretinoin cream (Retin-A)

Temporarily freezing tissues with cryotherapy
Temporarily freezing tissues with cryotherapy may help to reduce the appearance of keloids.

Tretinoin is a prescription medication that people apply to their skin. Commonly used for acne and aging, it works by accelerating the normal cell turnover of the skin.

A 2010 review in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that retinoids may help decrease the size and appearance of keloids, such as tretinoin cream and isotretinoin.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a procedure that involves freezing the tissues with a handheld device temporarily. The therapy is well accepted by most people, but during the treatment that goes away afterwards, some people may feel extreme pain.

A small study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery indicates that cryotherapy can minimize keloid size by up to 50 percent after several treatments. However, the report also notes that on smaller keloids that are less than 3 years old, cryotherapy works best.

Steroid injections

For years, this therapy has been used with some success on keloids. Injected steroids are an efficient way to decrease the size and presence of keloids, a report in the Journal of Medical Investigations and Practice said.

In American Family Physician, a study notes that steroid treatment works better on younger keloids and to remove part of the scar when combined with surgery. It can be used in combination with cryotherapy as well.

Imiquimod cream

A variety of skin tumors, including superficial basal cell skin cancers, are treated with this cream. After a keloid is extracted, it continues to act well on the skin. The cream decreased the chances of a keloid coming back, a study in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery found.

Radiation treatment

A brief course of radiation therapy, which is offered directly after surgically cutting out the keloids, requires a newer procedure that shows promising results. Several research in the literature on plastic surgery and dermatology indicate a high rate of cure, or at least improvement, of keloid scars in individuals treated with this technique.

Conclusion

Since keloids are hard to treat, it is best to take action soon after an injury, surgery, or piercing to avoid them. People who are susceptible to keloids may wish to fully avoid tattoos and piercings. If, for whatever reason, anyone needs surgery, they should make their doctor aware of any keloid history so that prevention will begin shortly after the surgery.

They can be emotionally and mentally harmful, but keloids do not pose a health danger. There are some available therapies, but no one treatment works for all. People will need to consult with their doctor about options for keloid removal and decide the best course of action to take.

Sources

  • Barara, M., Mendiratta, V., & Chander, R. (2012). Cryotherapy in treatment of keloids: Evaluation of factors affecting treatment outcome. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery5(3), 185–189 (LINK)
  • Chung, V. Q., Kelley, L., Marra, D., & Jiang, S. B. (2006, February). Onion extract gel versus petrolatum emollient on new surgical scars: Prospective double-blinded study. Dermatologic Surgery32, 193–197
    (LINK)
  • Hochman, B., Isoldi, F. C., Silveira, T. S., Borba, G. C., & Ferreira, L. M. (2015, February 25). Does ear keloid formation depend on the type of earrings or piercing jewellery? Australasian Journal of Dermatology56(3), e77–e79
    (LINK)
  • Juckett, G., & Hartman-Adams, H. (2008, August 1). Management of keloids and hypertrophic scars. American Family Physician80(3), 253–260
    (LINK)
  • Keloids and hypertrophic scars. (n.d.)
    (LINK)
  • Keloids: Overview. (n.d.)
    (LINK)
  • Keloids: Prevention and treatment. (2009, August 1). American Family Physician80(3)
    (LINK)
  • Lane, J. E., Waller, J. L., & Davis, L. S. (2005, May). Relationship between age of ear piercing and keloid formation. Pediatrics115(5), 1312–1314
    (LINK)
  • Mustoe, T. A. (2008, January). Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management [Abstract]. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 32-82
    (LINK)
  • Mustoe, T.A., Cooter, R., Gold, M. H, Hobbs, F. D., Ramelet, A. A., Shakespeare, P. G., … Ziegler, U. E. (2002, August). International clinical recommendations on scar management [Abstract]. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery110(2), 560–71
    (LINK)
  • Onyenyirionwu, E & Agu, A. (2015, November 4). Keloids: A review. Journal of Medical Investigations and Practice10(1), 24–29
    (LINK)
  • Perkins, K., Davey, R. B., & Wallis, K. A. (1983, January). Silicone gel: a new treatment for burn scars and contractures. Burns9(3), 201–204
    (LINK)
  • Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar. (n.d.)
    (LINK)
  • Puri, N., & Talwar, A. (2009, July–December). The efficacy of silicone gel for the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery2(2), 104–106
    (LINK)
  • Rawlings, A. V., Bielfeldt, S., & Lombard, K. J. (2012, September 21). A review of the effects of moisturizers on the appearance of scars and striae. International Journal of Cosmetic Science34(6), 519–524
    (LINK)
  • Shin, J. Y., Yun, S.-K., Roh, S.-G., Lee, N.-H., & Yang, K.-M. (2017, February). Efficacy of 2 representative topical agents to prevent keloid recurrence after surgical excision. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery75(2), e1–401–e6
    (LINK)
  • Viera, M. H., Amini, S., Valins, W., & Berman, B. (2010, May). Innovative therapies in the treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology3(5), 20–26
    (LINK)
  • Medicalnewstoday – How do you get rid of keloids? (LINK)

Dermatology

Causes, symptoms, treatment of psoriasis in the ears

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Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an autoimmune disease. In some parts of the body, such as the ears, a thick layer of skin cells can form.

It usually affects the elbows, knees, legs, back, and scalp, although it can also affect more sensitive body parts.

Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune condition in the United States, and it comes in a variety of degrees of severity.

This article discusses the causes of psoriasis in the ears as well as treatment alternatives.

What is psoriasis?

psoriasism in ear

Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system, which causes the fast development of extra skin cells. Experts aren’t sure whatcauses causing it.

It takes roughly 28 days for healthy skin cells to form. The body eliminates old skin cells during this time to make place for new ones.

In people with psoriasis, the body produces new skin cells every 3 to 4 days, leaving little time for old cells to slough.

This results in the accumulation of old and new cells on the affected areas, resulting in thick, red or silvery scales. These scales are often itchy, crack, and bleed, and they can be uncomfortable.

Researchers are still trying to figure out why psoriasis arises in certain parts of the body, including why some people get it in their ears while others don’t. They do know, however, that it cannot be passed from person to person.

According to a report published in the journal American Family Physician, psoriasis is not contagious. Scratching or touching does not cause psoriasis or transfer it to other parts of the body.

Psoriasis around the ears

People with psoriasis in their ears are extremely uncommon. However, if this occurs, an individual’s emotional and physical well-being may be jeopardised.

Psoriasis can cause the skin rough and scaly. Self-consciousness may be felt by people who have symptoms on their face and ears.

Because the skin on the face is frequently more delicate than that on the elbows, knees, and scalp, some treatments may be excessively harsh for this area. As a result, ear psoriasis might be more difficult to cure.

A blockage can occur if scales and wax build up inside the ear. Itching, pain, and hearing loss may cause from this obstruction.

Scales should be kept out of the ear canal to avoid hearing loss and discomfort.

Psoriasis might worsen over time for certain people. This can happen when something sparks a flare, but it’s often unknown why some people’s psoriasis spreads or worsens. New parts of the body, such as the ears, can be affected at any time.

There is no link between psoriasis in the ears and cleanliness, contact, or other things.

Anyone with psoriasis in their ears should see a doctor to find out which psoriasis treatments are safe to use in their ears.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for psoriasis, it is generally managed with treatments.

People who have psoriasis in their ears may need constant medical attention to keep flares under control and avoid problems like hearing loss.

Some psoriasis drugs should not be used in the ears. Certain topical lotions and ointments, for example, may irritate the fragile eardrum. People should inquire about drugs that are safe for the ear canal with their doctor.

Among the treatment options available are:

  • Eardrops containing liquid steroids.
  • In addition, liquid steroids may be used in conjunction with another psoriasis treatment, such as a vitamin D cream.
  • Shampoos with antifungal properties to help clean the ear and kill fungus.
  • Medications that help the immune system work more efficiently.
  • A few drops of heated olive oil to moisturise and remove wax inside the ears and keep them clean

If psoriasis in the ear causes discomfort or interferes with hearing, a specialist can safely and effectively remove the scales and wax.

It is critical not to attempt to remove the scales by inserting things into the ears.

Pushing the debris deeper into the ear can cause in a blockage, eardrum damage, or skin injury.

A doctor may give a systemic drug if the symptoms are mild to severe. Biologics, a relatively new class of medications, can treat the underlying causes of psoriasis.

Causes

The causes of psoriasis differ from individual to person. Certain factors can briefly aggravate psoriasis before it returns to normal for some people.

Others see their scales and other symptoms get worse over time.

In any case, psoriasis people should strive to avoid triggers wherever feasible. Those who have psoriasis in their ears may notice that a flare affects their hearing, which can be extremely aggravating and frustrating.

The following are some of the most common psoriasis triggers:

  • Stress: While it may not always be feasible to avoid the causes of stress, being able to manage it can help prevent flare-ups. Relaxation, exercise, deep breathing, and meditation may all be beneficial.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, mental health disorders, and malaria, might aggravate psoriasis. People with psoriasis should work with their doctors to discover treatments that do not exacerbate their condition.
  • Cuts, scrapes, sunburn, and other skin injuries: Any type of skin trauma might cause in a new case of psoriasis in the affected area.
  • Certain illnesses: When an infection strikes, the immune system goes into overdrive. This can also cause psoriasis flare-ups. Strep throat, ear infections, tonsillitis, and even regular colds can all cause flare-ups.

Avoiding triggers, whether on the ears, face, or other parts of the body, is an important component of controlling this condition.

Hearing loss and psoriasis

Even if psoriasis does not damage the skin in and around the ears, a person may nevertheless experience hearing loss.

People with psoriasis are more prone to acquire abrupt deafness, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.

This type of hearing loss might happen in a matter of minutes or over the course of a few days. People over the age of 50 are more likely to be affected by it.

The cause of sudden deafness in psoriasis is unknown, however it could be linked to the immune system harming part of the inner ear. Within 2–3 weeks, almost half of those who have abrupt deafness regain some or all of their hearing.

Doctors may advise that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have regular hearing tests to ensure that any abnormalities are detected and treated early.

Living with psoriasis in the ears

Many people suffer from psoriasis, which can be emotionally and physically draining, but with the help of a doctor, they can generally manage the condition.

Finding an effective treatment, whether the flares occur in the ears or elsewhere, is critical to reducing symptoms and flares.

Hearing tests and ear examinations should be done on a regular basis for people who have psoriasis in their ears so that any difficulties can be addressed as soon as feasible.

Because everyone with psoriasis reacts to drugs differently, finding the proper treatment may take some time. Some people’s psoriasis medicine stops working over time, necessitating the use of a different treatment.

People with psoriasis should be able to live full, active lives once they find a suitable treatment.

Conclusion

Psoriasis is a painful, long-term skin condition that can affect the inside and outside of the ear.

It is more difficult to treat than psoriasis elsewhere on the body when it does this. Hearing loss can occur as a result of the condition, both temporary and permanent. Although a complete treatment is not yet attainable, people can control their symptoms with condition and live a normal life.

To avoid serious flare-ups, get regular hearing tests and consultations.

Sources:

  • https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/causes
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4797675/
  • https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(18)33001-9/fulltext
  • https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/specific-locations/face
  • https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/scaly-skin/psoriasis
  • http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/psoriasis/default.asp
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314768
  • http://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0301/p715.html
  • https://www.psoriasis.org/content/statistics
  • https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/sudden-deafness
  • http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/psoriatic-arthritis/what-is-psoriatic-arthritis.php
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25687690

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Dermatology

Causes, symptoms, and treatments of nasal polyps

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Nasal polyps are fleshy swellings that grow in the lining of the nose and the paranasal sinuses, which are air-filled cavities that connect the nasal cavity to the rest of the body. They aren’t malignant tumours.

Polyps come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes, such as teardrops. They eventually resemble grapes on a stem as they mature.

Polyps can appear in one or both nostrils at the same time, and they can grow alone or in groups.

Large polyps or clusters can obstruct the patient’s ability to breathe and cause their sense of smell. They have the potential to obstruct the sinuses and cause issues such as recurring infections.

Nasal polyps afflict 4-40% of the general population, and males appear to be 2-4 times more likely than females to develop them. People that develop them are usually in their twenties or thirties.

They are more prone to forming in people who have asthma, sinus infections, or allergies. Nasal polyps can occur in children with cystic fibrosis.

The causes

nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are caused by a variety of causes that are unknown. Although non-allergic asthma is associated to a large percentage of cases, no respiratory or allergic trigger is detected in some cases.

Colonic and uterine polyps, which are found in the digestive tract and uterus, respectively, have no relation to nasal polyps.

Although the specific mechanism of polyp creation is uncertain, most studies agree that they are caused by swelling (inflammation) in the nose or sinuses and are not a disease.

Inflammation, according to some experts, causes fluid to accumulate in the interstitial space (the space between mucous-forming cells) of the nose and sinuses. Gravity eventually pushes these heavy cells down, becoming polyps. A bacterial or viral infection, an allergy, or an immunological response to a fungus are all possible triggers, according to scientists.

Nasal polyps most commonly arise around the sinus openings (in the nasal passage), however they can form elsewhere in the nasal passages or sinuses.

Diagnosis

After asking about symptoms and seeing the patient’s nose, a doctor should be able to make a diagnosis. With the help of a lit tool, polyps are frequently visible.

The following tests may be ordered by the doctor:

  • Nasal endoscopy – a narrow tube with a small camera (or magnifying lens) is inserted into the patient’s nose.
  • CT scan – this enables the doctor to locate nasal polyps and other abnormalities linked to chronic inflammation. The doctor will also be able to identify any other obstructions.
  • Skin prick allergy test – if the doctor thinks that allergies may be contributing to polyp development, he or she may do an allergy test.
  • Cystic fibrosis – if the patient is a young child, the doctor may order a cystic fibrosis test.

Treatment options

Nasal polyps are commonly treated with the following methods:

1) Steroids

The doctor may prescribe a steroid nasal spray or drops to reduce inflammation and shrink the polyps. Patients with one or more small polyps are more likely to receive this treatment. The following are examples of possible side effects:

2) Tablets containing steroids

In cases of larger polyps or more severe inflammation, steroid tablets may be administered, either alone or in combination with a nasal spray. Although steroid tablets are successful at shrinking polyps, they carry the risk of more serious side effects, such as weight gain, and should only be used for a few weeks at a time.

3) Additional drugs

Other medications may be used to treat disorders that exacerbate the inflammation. Antihistamines for allergies, antibiotics for bacterial infections, and antifungal medicines for fungus allergies are just a few examples.

4) Surgery

Surgery is only utilised if the polyps are exceedingly large or if the patient’s other therapies have failed.

Polypectomy

The most common method for removing polyps is surgery. A local or general anaesthetic is administered to the patient. In the patient’s nose and sinuses, a long, thin tube containing a video camera is introduced.

Micro-telescopes and surgical equipment are then used to cut away the polyps. To free up the nasal canal, the surgeon may remove small pieces of bone from the nose.

To help prevent recurrence, the patient will most likely be prescribed a corticosteroid nasal spray after surgery. To aid post-surgical healing, some doctors prescribe using a saline (saltwater) rinse.

Natural treatments

If the symptoms of a nasal polyp appear to be related to an allergic reaction, avoiding the allergen that causes the reaction would most likely assist.

Although tea tree oil and other therapies have been suggested, there appears to be little evidence to back them up.

A steam bath might help relieve congestion symptoms.

Only a high therapeutic dose of vitamin D can help lessen symptoms. It is unknown how this works, how it should be supplied, or how effective it might be.

Complications

A big polyp, or cluster of polyps, can sometimes obstruct the flow of air and the drainage of fluids from the sinuses or nasal cavity, resulting in the following complications:

  • Chronic or frequent sinus infections.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • The structure of the face may be altered, leading to double vision. Sometimes, the eyes may be set wider apart than normal (more common in patients with cystic fibrosis).

Preventive tips

  • Humidity. Consider using a humidifier if your home’s air is dry.
  • Hygiene. Handwashing frequently and thoroughly lowers the risk of bacterial or viral infection, resulting in fewer incidences of sinus and nasal tract inflammation.
  • Irritants. Some people may be able to lower their risk of developing polyps by avoiding irritants such as allergies, chemicals, and airborne pollution (which cause inflammation).
  • Asthma and allergy management. Patients who follow their doctor’s asthma and/or allergy treatment guidelines are less likely to develop nasal polyps.
  • Nasal lavage or nasal rinse. Using a nasal lavage or saline spray to rinse the nasal passages can assist increase mucus flow and remove irritants and allergens.

Sources:

  • http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lary.23610/full
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12383287
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179194/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/177020
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2504067/
  • http://www.hoajonline.com/histology/2055-091X/1/2
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nasal-polyps/basics/symptoms/con-20023206
  • http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Polyps-nose/Pages/Treatment.aspx
  • https://journalotohns.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1916-0216-42-27

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Dermatology

Cold sores: What to know

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Cold sores are little blister-like lesions that appear on the lips, chin, and cheeks, as well as in the nostrils. They are less common on the gums and the roof of the mouth.

Before they burst and crust over, cold sores usually cause pain, a burning sensation, or itching. They’re also known as fever blisters.

The herpes simplex virus type 1 is the most prevalent cause of cold sores (HSV-1). These sores can also be caused by an infection with a different strain of the herpes simplex virus, known as herpes simplex virus type 2. (HSV-2).

HSV-1 is carried by 48.1 percent of all 14–49-year-olds in the United States, making them more prone to cold sores.

Although there is no method to cure or prevent cold sores, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the frequency and duration of outbreaks.

The causes

causes of cold sores

HSV-1 and HSV-2, the viral strains that cause cold sores, are highly contagious and spread rapidly during close contact, such as sexual contact.

Following the virus’s entry into the body, a person may experience the following symptoms:

  • sores around the genital area, in some cases
  • sores in or around their mouth or in their nostrils
  • flu-like symptoms

If transmission occurs during oral sex, oral herpes blisters, often known as cold sores, can develop around the genitals.

Without therapy, a cold sore outbreak usually lasts 1–2 weeks before the virus is suppressed by the body’s immune system.

The virus does not leave the body, and while it is usually dormant, it can reactivate to cause cold sores on occasion.

The majority of people with oral herpes are unaware of their infection until they develop cold sores or other symptoms. Because the virus remains dormant, some people only experience one outbreak with no recurrence.

Others may experience recurrent outbreaks that last for years.

What is the definition of genital herpes?

The symptoms

Some people with oral herpes have no symptoms, while others develop them after their initial infection.

Despite this, at least 25% of people with oral herpes have recurrent outbreaks. Cold sores occur in the same places over and over again in this example.

The following are some of the first signs of an HSV-1 infection that may develop 2–20 days after introduction to the virus:

  • swollen lymph nodes
  • lesions on the tongue, mouth, chin, cheeks, or in the nostrils
  • mouth or tongue pain
  • lip swelling
  • a high body temperature
  • headaches
  • dehydration
  • nausea
  • difficulty swallowing
  • a sore throat

Gingivostomatitis, an infection of the mouth and gums, may also be present. This lasts 1–2 weeks and does not happen again.

With the initial oral herpes infection, adults may develop pharyngotonsillitis, an infection of the throat and tonsils.

Symptoms of cold sores at various stages

When a cold sore recurs, it goes through various stages.

  • The sores break and produce fluid.
  • A yellow crust forms on the sores.
  • The crust comes off, revealing pink skin that heals in 3–4 days.
  • A tingling, itching, or burning sensation around the mouth often indicates the start of an outbreak.
  • Painful, fluid-filled sores appear, usually around the mouth.

Most cold sores heal in 1–2 weeks without treatment and do not leave a scar.

Diagnosis

Recurrent outbreaks can be managed at home by recognising the people and taking medication.

Consult a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • The signs and symptoms are severe.
  • Within ten days, a cold sore does not begin to heal.
    Gums swell up.
  • The person’s immune system is compromised.
  • Other signs and symptoms are alarming.

A doctor can typically diagnose the problem based on the symptoms and a visual inspection, but in some situations — such as if the patient has a weaker immune system — a blood test or a sample of the sore’s fluid may be ordered.

HIV, drugs after an organ transplant, certain types of cancer, and various cancer treatments are all factors that might decrease the immune system.

Treatment

Without therapy, most cold sore breakouts go away in 1–2 weeks.

Some over-the-counter and prescription treatments, on the other hand, can shorten the duration of an outbreak and alleviate any discomfort or pain, though they do not remove the virus from the body.

Treatments should be used as soon as the first signs of an outbreak show in most cases.

Creams with antiviral properties

Antiviral lotions sold over the counter can help to decrease the duration of an epidemic. Acyclovir or penciclovir is found in most creams, including Zovirax and Soothelip.

For 5 days, the cream should be applied to the affected area every 2–3 hours.

Antiviral medicines taken orally

The following are some examples of antiviral drugs that can be taken by mouth:

  • valacyclovir (Valtrex)
  • acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • famciclovir (Famvir)

If a person has a weaker immune system or has frequent breakouts, a doctor may prescribe one of these drugs.

It is taken once or twice a day.

These drugs can help to decrease the duration of an outbreak and prevent it from happening again.

Pain relief

Analgesics like benzocaine or lidocaine are used in over-the-counter solutions. They do not hasten the healing process, although they can help to alleviate pain.

The following are some cold sore pain relief medications:

  • Orajel
  • Blistex
  • Cymex
  • Anbesol

People should use a Q-tip to dab these ointments, lotions, or gels onto the sores, and they should not share these goods.

If a person uses their finger to apply the drug, they should wash their hands before and after.

Alternative drugs include ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

At home remedies

Some people find relief from cold sore symptoms by using the following home care techniques:

  • using petroleum jelly to keep the skin moist, preventing cracking
  • dabbing the area with diluted geranium, lavender, or tea tree oil
  • applying cold, soaked tea bags to the area every hour

There is no scientific proof that these therapies are effective or safe.

Complications

Oral herpes can cause difficulties in some people, especially those with compromised immune systems.

Complications that may arise include:

  • If the sores make it difficult to drink, you may be dehydrated.
  • Herpetic whitlow is a painful infection caused by a wound on the skin that causes blisters on the fingers.
  • Herpetic keratoconjunctivitis is a secondary infection that can cause eye swelling and irritation, as well as sores on the eyelids and vision loss if left untreated.
  • If the infection spreads, encephalitis (brain swelling) may ensue.

Encephalitis is a life-threatening condition.

Preventive tips

When you have sores, attempt to:

  • Kissing and other skin-to-skin contact with the affected area should be avoided.
  • During oral sex, use a dental dam or a condom.
  • Personal things, such as towels and lip balm, should not be shared.
  • Use proper handwashing practises.
  • Avoid touching regions including the eyes, mouth, nose, and genitals where sores can form.
  • If it’s necessary to touch the sores, wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after.

Conclusion

Oral herpes can cause painful and inconvenient cold sores.

Many people have no problems and may treat outbreaks at home with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

If you experience cold sores or any other oral herpes symptoms, you should see a doctor very away if you have a weakened immune system.

Recognizing early signs of an outbreak and acting quickly to treat it can assist. Cold sores usually resolve after 1–2 weeks without treatment.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526068/
  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cold-sores/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525782/
  • https://herpes.org.uk/cold-sores/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172389
  • https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/encephalitis-herpes-simplex/
  • https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus
  • https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/herpes-simplex-overview
  • https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db304.htm
  • https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/oral-herpes/
  • https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/herpes-keratitis
  • http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/1101/p1075.html
  • http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/RS_CommonMeds1.pdf

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