Cold Sores in Pregnancy: Risks, Causes and Treatment
The herpes virus is very contagious, being herpes simplex type 1 the most common, which causes the so-called cold sore or labial fire, whose symptom is the presence of ulcers or blisters on the lips or around them.
Having this disease is very common, since the majority of the population has been exposed to this virus or another of its varieties, remaining latent in the body and reactivating when the organism is weakened. For this reason, it is not uncommon for you to get labial fires during pregnancy if you have already suffered it before or that you are more likely to acquire it for the first time.
You may be wondering whether it is possible that this virus affects the fetus in some way or if it is as dangerous as the case of genital herpes, but unlike this type, the infection by fire on the lips can be easily avoided. In this article we want to inform you more about cold sores in pregnancy: risks, causes and treatment.
Risks due to cold sores in pregnancy
Regardless of the type of herpes virus, the route of infection or the moment of contact, that the infant has acquired it represents a state of risk to their health due to their vulnerable condition. In some cases the transmission of cold sores can be as dangerous as that contracted by the genital tract, especially if the infection occurs immediately after birth.See also Herpes during pregnancy
An infected baby does not necessarily develop herpes in the mouth, but it can also occur in any area of the skin or eyes, where the virus enters the mucous membranes or some wound, and you may see ulcers or blisters in these areas.
When it attacks the eyes, the infant could develop some ocular disease, mainly due to the inflammation of some of its structures, causing its vision to be blurred, with points of partial blindness or to perceive flying spots.
If the disease continues to progress, there is a risk that a more serious type may arrive, affecting other organs, there is even the possibility that it will spread to the central nervous system. If this happens, the baby may have fever, hypothermia, rapid breathing, periods of apnea, lethargy, convulsions and that their skin or mucous membranes turn blue or yellowish. At this point, even with medication, the likelihood of her dying is high and if she continues to live, most are left with sequelae in their development or health in general and are often prone to episodes of herpes constantly.
Although for the newborn the risks of contagious oral herpes are serious, there are cases in which it does not represent a problem; However, if you or your partner is suffering from this disease, you should take precautionary measures and go immediately to the doctor if the baby has symptoms of herpes.
Causes of herpes in the mouth during pregnancy
Cold sores are caused by the so-called herpes simplex virus or human herpes virus that is divided into type I and type II, the first being more frequent and transmitted to the body when there is a wound and comes in direct contact with the blisters or through the saliva of a person already sick. In most cases, this virus is acquired from childhood and is protected latent in the body to reactivate the times when the immune system is weak.
During pregnancy it is normal for your defenses to decrease and you are prone to acquire or reactivate the human herpes virus, these episodes are very common at this stage and generally do not represent a danger to the fetus when you present it on the lips, contrary to infection in the genitals, so you should take precautionary measures, since you can autotransmit to the mucosa of this area if your hands have previously touched the ulcer. In the case of the baby, it could only be contagious with direct contact after birth, whether you, your partner or someone else has a labial fire.
Once you are a carrier of the virus you will be a lifelong, and factors that are present during pregnancy, such as stress and hormonal changes, favor you have outbreaks of cold sores. Other causes that can reactivate the virus is after a disease that lowers your defenses, a lesion on the lip or burns, irritation on the skin, inflammatory processes, fever, dental treatment, among others.
Treatment of Cold Sore During Pregnancy:
In many cases it is enough to wait until the outbreak disappears on its own and no specific treatment is necessary if the necessary care is taken to avoid transmission to the newborn. But you could try with home treatments to reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of the outbreak, it will help if you rub ice on the ulcer for 10 minutes every hour, if you apply a bit of petroleum jelly in the affected place or if you keep directly in the sprinkle a bag of green tea soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.
However, if the ulcers are very painful or persistent, and because this disease is caused by a virus that remains in your body, the treatment that the doctor may recommend you is the application of an antiherpetic cream, mainly with the active ingredient acyclovir, which will help you relieve symptoms. On the other hand, serious outbreaks of cold sores are usually treated with intravenous administration of the drug, if the specialist indicates it that way.
As for the infant, if it develops the symptoms, it is essential that the pediatrician evaluate their condition and based on this, grant the best treatment, could opt for the injection of an antiherpetic in several sessions under constant monitoring, as well as methods to treat the sequelae that they could stay.
Prevention measures against the spread of herpes
The transmission of cold sores to the baby is possible, especially in the first 4-6 weeks of the outbreak, but it can be avoided if you follow some important care, including:
- Wash your hands before touching the infant, anyone who is suffering from the disease and came in contact with the ulcers.
- No person with lip fire should kiss the newborn.
- If there is a blister from herpes in another part of the body, cover it before taking the baby.
- Do not cut the nails of the infant with the teeth even if you do not have an ulcer.
- During pregnancy, avoid oral sex if your partner has or recently had a buccal fire.