A small sore situated on the face or in the mouth that causes pain, burning, or itching before bursting and crusting over. The favorite locations are on the lips (the labia), chin or cheeks and in the nostrils. Less frequented sites are the gums or roof of the mouth (the palate).
Labial herpes is also called fever blisters or cold sores. It is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1. The virus lies latent (dormant) in the body and is reawakened (reactivated) by factors such as stress, sunburn, or fever from a wide range of infectious diseases including colds. Recurrences are less common after age 35. Sunscreen (SPF 15 or more) on the lips prevents recurrences of herpes from sunburn.
The virus is highly contagious when fever blisters are present. It is spread by kissing. Children become infected by contact with someone who has a fever blister and then they spread the virus by rubbing their cold sore and touching other children. A person with fever blisters should be careful not to touch the blisters and spread the virus to new sites, such as the eyes or genitals.
There is no cure for fever blisters. Medications that can relieve some of the pain and discomfort include ointments that numb the blisters, antibiotics that control secondary bacterial infections, and ointments that soften the crests of the sores. Acyclovir, an antiviral drug, prevents the herpes simplex virus from multiplying and, in pill form, has been reported to reduce the symptoms and frequency of recurrence.
Fever blisters have plagued people for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, an epidemic of fever blisters prompted Emperor Tiberius to ban kissing in public ceremonies. Today, fever blisters still occur in epidemic proportions. About 100 million episodes of recurrent fever blisters occur yearly in the US alone.
- Labial sounds
The lips are not only anatomic features of note, they are organs of speech essential to certain articulations. A sound requiring the participation of one or both lips is a labial (labium in Latin means lip) sound or, simply, a labial. All labials are consonants. There are bilabial sounds such as “p” which involve both […]
Unstable. For example, labile blood pressure is blood pressure that abnormally increases and decreases frequently.
- Labile diabetes
A type of diabetes when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high. Also called “unstable diabetes” or “brittle diabetes.”
- Labiodental sound
A sound that requires the involvement of the teeth and lips, such as “v,” which involves the upper teeth and lower lip.
The singular form of labia.