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Because the herpes virus can be spread easily, it is very important that adults and children learn how to wash their hands correctly. Some forms of ocular herpes simplex are very common; nearly 400,000 people in the United States have had this eye condition at least once. Eye infections can cause irritation, pain and possible vision damage; therefore, it is important to see your health care professional as soon as possible to get your infection diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. It's good to know that, of "the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to," this one can be avoided simply by frequent hand-washing. Charlene CollinsAtlanta Family Health ExaminerCharlene Collins is a retired nurse from Bethlehem, Georgia.
What You Need to KnowCold sores are proof that life can be unfair: Some people get them, others don't. Hand washing should be done frequently to prevent the spreading of germs from one person to another, and from surfaces to your mouth and eyes. Besides being itchy and painful, cold sores (also called fever blisters) make you feel self-conscious. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.
Herpes of the eye can involve the superficial tissues or it can go much deeper into the eye. There may also be pain and tearing of the eyes, which may be most noticeable when exposed to sunlight. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.


There may also be an infection around the areas of the eyelashes and in the pink conjuctival tissue. There are three fairly common types of eye herpes (herpes keratitis, stromal keratitis, iridocyclitis, and herpes retinitis) which will be discussed in this two part article. They're caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), passed on through contact with infected skin or body fluids. Who Gets Cold Sores and WhyMore than half of us have been infected with the HSV-1 virus, usually from well-meaning kisses from relatives or romantic partners. Many people have familiar triggers that tend to bring HSV-1 out of seclusion, causing cold sores. Some people get cold sores twice a year; for others, it's a frustrating, stressful, monthly ritual. Canker Sores Aren't the SameCold sores usually appear on the lip; canker sores affect the inside of the mouth. When You're ContagiousA cold sore is caused by skin damage as the herpes virus reproduces inside infected cells.
Cold sores are most contagious when blisters are present and just after they break open, until the skin is completely healed and looks normal again. But some people can transmit the virus through their saliva at any time, even if they never get cold sores. The cold sore virus is usually present on an infected person's lip, even if there's no obvious sore.
Because HSV-1 can also live in saliva, sharing kitchen utensils or drinking glasses can also spread it. Easing Cold Sore PainWhile the first outbreak can last up to 2 weeks, recurrent outbreaks usually last about 1 week.


There is no cure for cold sores, but some over-the-counter creams and gels can help with burning and pain. Antiviral CreamsAntiviral creams can reduce the time it takes a cold sore to heal if applied at the first sign of a cold sore. Prescription Cold Sore MedicationsOral antiviral prescription medications can also reduce the amount of healing time when taken at the first sign of a cold sore -- red or itchy skin, for example. Another one, a single-dose acyclovir tablet (Sitavig), is put directly on your gums and releases medicine as it dissolves. They are not as common, but cold sores can appear anywhere on the face, including on the cheek, chin, or nose. Can You Spread It on Your Body?It's possible, though rare, to spread the cold sore virus from one part of the body to another. It can happen by touching a cold sore, then touching an area of broken skin or a mucous membrane, the moist protective lining of skin found in areas like the eyes or vagina. You can prevent this self-spread -- or autoinoculation -- by washing your hands and not touching the cold sore. When Herpes Infects the EyeOther areas the cold sore virus can infect are the finger (herpetic whitlow) and the eye (ocular herpes). When kids get herpetic whitlow, it's usually because they've spread the virus from a cold sore by finger- or thumb-sucking. Preventing OutbreaksIt can be tough to prevent cold sores, but reducing your triggers can help.



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