Recurrent Herpes Labialis


What is Recurrent Herpes Labialis?

Recurrent herpes labialis (RHL) is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is characterized by recurring episodes of small, painful blisters on the lip and/or around the mouth. It is also known as cold sores, fever blisters, or oral herpes. Although the condition can affect any area of the mouth, it usually affects the corners of the lips. Recurrent herpes labialis is a common condition that affects up to 80% of young adults.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptom of recurrent herpes labialis is the formation of small, painful blisters or sores. These can appear on the lips, gums, or the roof of the mouth. Other symptoms include a tingling or burning sensation when the blisters first form, redness and swelling of the affected area, and a sore throat.

Treatment of Recurrent Herpes Labialis

Treatment of recurrent herpes labialis usually consists of anti-viral medications. These help reduce the intensity and frequency of outbreaks. Some of these medications include acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. Topical creams containing benzocaine or lidocaine may also be used to reduce pain and discomfort. Additionally, oral and topical corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation.

Preventing Recurrent Herpes Labialis

There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of recurrent herpes labialis. These include:

  • Avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who has cold sores.
  • Keep your lips clean and moisturized.
  • Avoid picking at blisters or sores.
  • Avoid triggers like stress, fatigue, or illness.