I've got a question about whether different kinds of sores are associated with different kinds of herpes. (HSV-1 vs. HSV-2)
I first got oral herpes as a teenager - textbook case, missed a few days of school, no biggie. Went years without another outbreak, then in my mid-20s got my first big cold sore on my lip. That cold sore popped back up 2 or 3 times a year, always in exactly the same place, for about the next ten years, until a doctor finally prescribed Denavir (a topical cream) and Acyclovir (an oral antiviral). I started using those any time I felt the warning signs - tingling or numbness at the site - and that pretty much kept the cold sore away.
My husband has had cold sores, too, but they are very infrequent, like once very few years, and he does not take any kind of medication for them.
About two months ago my he started complaining about painful pimples around his mouth. I didn't really pay close attention, other than to notice that they seemed to be getting worse and had started looking infected. He complained that they were very painful, too, so I finally convinced him to go to the doctor. To our surprise, the doctor diagnosed herpes.
Neither of us had seen herpes like this before, in this cluster of pimple-like blisters around the outside of the mouth. For both of us, it had always been a big blister on the lip. But my husband took two big doses of Valtrex and it did seem to help the stuff finally start clearing up.
But then a few days later he started developing more blisters. And then I got the first (lip) cold sore I'd had in maybe 3 years. And then I started getting a few of the little, pimply blisters on the outside of my mouth, and then on the inside of my mouth, inside the cheeks. I was completely freaked out.
I saw my doc and took Famivir, which seemed to clear up my problem. My husband took more Valtrex, which got him back to healing again. All good. But now he's had 4 or 5 recurrences in the past two months, and now I have some of the little blisters on the inside of my mouth again.
We've been super, super careful about not spreading anything. We're both familiar with all the rules about washing hands, not touching sores, etc. - all the safety/sanitation rules you're supposed to follow during outbreaks. So I think the recurrences might be because of stress, as we're both unemployed right now and our financial situation is becoming downright grim.
However, what's with the little blisters around the mouth and/or inside the mouth, which neither of us had had before? Is it a different kind of virus; i.e., could it possibly be HSV-2? Does that virus present itself differently? I've looked at bit on the internet, and it appears the answer is no, but I wanted to hear from people with actual experience.
I have never had any genital symptoms and neither (to my knowledge) has my husband, so there is no reason other than the unfamiliar types of blisters to suspect HSV-2. But I do plan to ask my doc to test me for both types the next time I see her.
im pretty sure its not HSV2 because that refers to genital herpes and it may just be that you ARE getting a different type of blister now because they do vary but i think its strange that it varies on one person i thought it stays the same on one person
I am incredibly new to this, but one thing I do know, and that is that either strain can occur in either location. HSV2 is not specific to genital, nor is HSV1 specific to oral. It's a matter of HSV2 being more COMMON to genital, and HSV1 being more COMMON to oral.
Catharine101 is right, but I will add: HSV-2 prefers living below the waist and HSV-1 prefers living above the waist. So when one type infects an area it prefers less it has a harder time thriving, thus fewer OBs occur overall and less severe. Usually the HSV-2 goes away with time after awhile of OBs on the face, is my understanding. Apparently since you both have suffered from HSV-1 orally for years you needn't worry about getting it genitally, too (I'm only referring to type 1, as you can still contract type-2 genitally). My opinion is that you are correct about the stress causing you both to have more severe OBs. Stress can sure run you down and hamper your immune system! If I were you both, I would take extra vitamins and look after your overall health as the cold sores are a sign from your bodies that you need to listen to. High doses of L-lysine supplements are helpful too for oral herpes; they have an L-lysine ointment you can buy in healthfood stores too that I've seen. Oh yeah, I think it's just HSV-1 acting up because of the stress you're both under.
Thank you, everyone. I admit I have been just completely flipped out by the unfamiliarity of this particular situation - the new type of blisters and, of course, the persistence of the outbreak. I know it is probably stress and the associated generally not taking good care of myself right now, but I've still got that little bit of worry in the back of my mind. However, I'm seeing my doc this week and, one way or the other, will get the answers I need. (I'm sure he'll look at me, sigh, roll his eyes and say, "Duh, it's stress, you idiot")
I was taking L-lysine, usually take it with an outbreak, but tapered off after the first week. Good advice - will start up again because I know it does supposedly help.
Thanks again for the input, though. That's why I'm here!
Last edited by ember919; 07-22-2007 at 12:06 PM.
Reason: more input