Herpes is a caused by a virus responsible for several skin infections including oral herpes, commonly known as “cold sores” or “fever blisters”,  as well as genital herpes.  Oral herpes is the most common herpes infection and typically occurs on the lips or oral mucosa.  Both oral and genital herpes are initially transmitted by direct contact and then the virus remains latent in the sensory nerves.  Patients may have subsequent outbreaks a few times per year.  Triggers such as stress, exposure to sun or wind, or immunosuppression play a role in the likelihood of a herpetic outbreak. Treatment of herpes with oral antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir has been shown to reduce the severity, frequency, and duration of outbreaks.




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