Who doesn't know what herpes is? "Cold" on the lips is familiar to everyone! But if adults in one way or another got used to rare rashes and learned how to cope with it, then herpes in children causes serious concern for parents, especially when the disease manifests itself even in the oral cavity.
ata-article-text-tag href = "/ person / vershinina-marina /" class = "j-article-text-tag j-article-text-tag-person biqpf-autotag"> Marina Vershinina, expert of the Center for Molecular Diagnostics (CMD) of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, told Letidor how this disease is transmitted, how it is dangerous for pregnant women and what methods of prevention exist.
What is herpes and how is it transmitted
This disease (rash on the lips) was known even before our era and accompanied mankind throughout the development of civilization. Very few can boast that they have never experienced the manifestations of this infection on their own experience and do not know how to recognize its symptoms.
The cause of this "cold" is the herpes simplex virus, more often type I (HSV-1, Herpes simplex virus 1).
The prevalence of this virus in the human population is approaching 100%.
This means that almost every inhabitant of the Earth is infected with the herpes simplex virus (with the exception of the rare lucky ones who have a genetic immunity to herpes infection).
Once introduced into the body, the HSV-1 virus remains in it for life, deceiving the mechanisms of immune defense.
From person to person, the infection is transmitted mainly by contact - through the mucous membranes and skin. It is also possible transmission by airborne droplets (when sneezing, coughing), as well as through blood from mother to child.
The contents of herpetic vesicles are more contagious at the time of activation of the infection, but even in the absence of obvious clinical manifestations, transmission of the pathogen can also occur.
How does the disease progress
Infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, most often proceeds secretly, asymptomatic, not showing itself even with primary infection. Therefore, many of those who have never been uncomfortable with bubbles on their lips are also infected with HSV-1 (this is indicated by the antibodies in their blood). Given these circumstances, it is almost impossible to avoid infection of a child.
Nine out of ten babies acquire this virus by the age of three.
From the moment of infection, the frequency and nature of herpes sores depend only on the effectiveness of the child's own immune defense. Strong immunity suppresses the activity of the virus, prevents its reproduction. In moments of weakening of the immune system (during and after illness, against the background of stress, overwork), HSV-1 breaks through the immune blockade and enters the active stage.
Herpetic eruptions can appear not only on the lips, but also on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity (gums, palate), facial skin (in the area of the wings of the nose, cheeks, chin), much less often on other parts of the body surface.
the weaker the immune system, the more dangerous the herpes simplex virus becomes. In patients with immunodeficiency, herpes infection can affect not only the skin and mucous membranes (large areas), but also all vital internal organs, acquiring a generalized, life-threatening course.
Why herpes is dangerous during pregnancy
Herpes virus activation is very dangerous during pregnancy.
HSV-1 is one of the pathogens that can cause intrauterine infection and lead to the development of congenital fetal pathology.
It is also the infection of the child during childbirth when the infection is activated in the woman in labor. The body of the newborn is vulnerable and defenseless against the attack of the virus, so the risk of developing generalized forms of herpes infection in the postpartum period is very high.
Should breastfeeding be canceled?
Under favorable circumstances (when both the mother and the child are doing well) in the first months of life, maternal antibodies play a significant role in the immune defense of the newborn, which penetrate the baby's blood through the placenta. Antibodies are also present in breast milk.
Mother's milk provides not only nutrition, but also protection of the child, supplying ready-made antibodies and contributing to the proper development of their own immunity (no artificial mixture can do this).
Attention! The appearance of herpes sores in the mother is not an indication for canceling breastfeeding.
Transferring to artificial mixtures at such moments will do much more harm than good (this is a serious stress for the baby's body).
it is necessary to use personal protective equipment (mask), do not allow the child to touch (and objects with which the baby interacts: dishes, toys, linen) to the affected skin areas.
How can you protect yourself from herpes
The only defense against the activation of HSV-1 infection is the human body's own immunity.
And it is possible to fight its exacerbations only by strengthening the immune defense.
Anything that helps a child grow up healthy (good nutrition, a balanced daily regimen, hardening, adequate physical activity, walking in the fresh air, etc.) helps to effectively prevent the exacerbation of herpes infection.
To correct immune disorders, it is better to consult a doctor. Immunity tuning is a complex art that requires professional skills. Unsystematic measures (taking certain drugs on the recommendation of the media, acquaintances) most likely will not bring benefits. Antiviral drugs are used to treat rashes caused by the herpes virus.
The most famous and well-proven drug is acyclovir (this active ingredient is included in drugs such as acyclovir, zovirax, vivorax, acigerpine, etc.).
To accelerate the healing of the ulcer formed after opening the bubble, you can use agents with a healing effect (panthenol, solcoseryl, etc.).
Comment of Nina Yurievna Plenskovskaya, pediatrician of the ON CLINIC medical center:
Most often children get sick, in whose close environment there are people suffering from this ailment. In this case, the disease can begin at an early age, usually after 2 years. There are frequent cases when herpes begins with an acute severe form.
This is acute herpetic stomatitis with fever, intoxication, severe damage to the oral mucosa.
This form of infection can occur in a child up to 1 year old, but more often it happens after a year.
The manifestations of herpes are associated with somatic and psychological health. Cold attacks on the lips occur when a child's body is weakened by an acute infectious disease, hypothermia, fatigue, or stress.
In a baby, the appearance of herpes can be associated with the beginning of attending kindergarten, with strong negative emotions, and even with the birth of a second child in the family.
There are no specific methods of preventing herpes.
As with other infectious diseases, it is recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Parents must follow the daily routine of the child, proper nutrition, and teach him to harden. And, of course, remember that a healthy atmosphere in the family is also a good way to prevent "colds" on the lips.