Categories: Health & Fitness

Herpangina: virus, duration, symptoms, contagious?

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What is herpangina?

Herpangina is a acute viral infection caused by Coxsackie A virus. "This infection affects the mouth and oropharynxexplains Dr. Candice Champagne, ENT and cervico-facial surgeon. It is more frequent in young children, especially those aged 6 months to 4 years. It most commonly occurs in summer and early fall, but can occur throughout the year".

What is the virus responsible for herpangina?

The virus responsible for herpangina is Coxsackie virus group A. "This virus belongs to the family of enterovirus, continues the specialist. There are different serotypes of the Coxsackie virus, and they can cause a variety of conditions, the most common being lherpangina and foot-hand-mouth syndrome". Coxsackie A virus is primarily spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, such as saliva or nasal secretions from an infected person. It can also be spread through contact with objects contaminated with the virus.

What are the symptoms of herpangina?

Herpangina usually begins with the appearance of a high fever, often over 38°C. "It appears within 2 days of blisters in the mouthespecially in the tongue, soft palate, uvula and pillars of the tonsils, then these vesicles become ulcers within 24 hours, details our interlocutor. It is associated with severe throat pain, sometimes responsible for drooling and food refusal". Children are often very tired and irritable. "In most cases, the symptoms of herpangina diminish within a few days and complete recovery usually occurs within 7-10 days.".

What is the difference with angina?

Herpangina and angina are two separate infections that affect the throat.
"Angina is an acute infection of the tonsilswhich can be viral or bacterial, resumes Dr. Champagne. It causes swelling of the tonsils and small whitish deposits may cover the tonsils". There are sometimes intense pains in the throat. There are never any blisters. Angina can occur at any age.
► "Herpangina is an acute viral infection characterized by the appearance of smalls vesicles then ulcers in the mouth, especially in the back of the throat, on the tonsils, and on the soft palate". There is usually no enlargement of the tonsils.
"To differentiate herpangina from angina, it is important to consult your doctor, as the diagnosis is based on the clinical examination". Treatment for herpangina is primarily aimed at relieving symptoms, while bacterial angina is usually treated with antibiotics to clear up the bacterial infection.

What is the incubation time?

The incubation time of herpangina, i.e. the period between exposure to the virus and the appearance of the first symptoms, is generally 3 to 6 days. "It is important to note that during the incubation period, the infected person may already be contagious and able to spread the virus to others, even if symptoms have not yet started to appear.".

"Antibiotics are useless and ineffective since it is a viral infection"

Is it contagious ?

Yes, herpangina is contagious. The virus mainly spreads through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, such as saliva or nasal secretions from an infected person. It can also spread through contact with contaminated objects by the virus. "During the period when symptoms of herpangina are present, the infected person is contagious and can transmit the virus to other peoplerecalls the ENT. This includes the period before symptoms appear (incubation period) and any time the blisters or ulcers are present in the mouth". It is important to take hygiene precautions to reduce the risk of spreading infection. "VSThis includes washing hands frequently with soap and water, avoiding sharing personal items such as pacifiers, mouthed toys, glasses and toothbrushes, and maintaining good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing".

What is the treatment for herpangina?

The treatment of herpangina is symptomatic, that is, it is mainly aimed at relieve symptoms and promote healing. "For example, the paracetamol relieves pain and reduces fever"says the doctor. "Antibiotics are useless and ineffective since it is a viral infection". Hydration is also important. "It is necessary to watch that the child drinks enough. In babies, rehydration solution may be prescribed". Cold drinks and soft, cold foods (ice cream, yogurt) can help relieve throat pain. "Avoid spicy, acidic, hot or rough foods which can wake up the pains, as well as carbonated drinks". It is important to get enough rest to allow your body to fight infection and recover. "Avoid strenuous physical activities during the period of illness".

Thanks to Dr Candice Champagne, ENT and cervico-facial surgeon, Practitioner at the Marcel Sembat Clinic in Boulogne Billancourt (92).

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