Know the basics
What is oral herpes?
Oral herpes (also called herpes simplex-1 or HSV-1) is an infection in the mouth, lips or gums caused by the herpes virus. The disease appears nodules around the mouth and gums blisters. The virus has the same family as the virus that causes chickenpox, shingles, mouth sores and mononuclear leukemia. Most secondary infections spread by contact from an early age so that 80% of adults have been infected with the herpes virus type 1. Another form of Herpes Type 2 is spread by sexual contact.
How common is oral herpes?
Oral herpes usually diagnosed in people with HIV infection or been the sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, syphilis, … However, anyone can get cold sores infected by HSV-1 since childhood. You can limit your ability to disease by reducing the risk factors. Please consult your doctor for more information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of oral herpes?
Some people may get mouth ulcers when they were first exposed to HSV-1 virus, some people have no symptoms. The symptoms usually occur in children aged 1 to 5 years old, and may be mild or severe. They usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus and you can last up to 3 weeks.
Warning signs include:
- Itchy skin around the lips or mouth;
- Appeared lip nodules or blisters near the mouth area;
- Tingling lips or near the mouth area.
Before pitches blisters appear, you may have:
- Sore throat;
- Feeling pain when swallowing.
Notes blisters or redness can form at:
- The blisters can gather into clumps.
There may be other symptoms and signs are not mentioned. If you have any questions about these signs, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have signs and symptoms mentioned above or have any questions or concerns, please consult your doctor. Status and condition can vary in many people. Always discuss with your doctor to be appointed diagnostic methods, treatment and the best treatment for you.
Know the causes
What causes oral herpes?
Cause of oral herpes is viral herpes type 1 (HSV-1), spread primarily by close contact with saliva of an infected person, such as a child being kissed by a carrier. Viruses also can invade the body through wounds in the skin or in the mouth soft skin. After the first infection, the virus remains inactive, after a time will cause cold sores.
Herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2) is usually spread through sexual contact and cause genital herpes. However, sometimes HSV-2 can occur in the mouth by oral sex and cause mouth blisters.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for oral herpes?
Factors that increase risk for oral herpes, include:
- Have a weakened immune system;
- HIV infection;
- Cancer is treated with chemotherapy;
- Having unsafe sex.
There are no risk factors does not mean you cannot get sick. These signs are for reference only. You should consult a specialist doctor for more details.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is oral herpes diagnosed?
The symptoms of oral herpes may go away without treatment within 1 to 2 weeks. Doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs to help you reduce pain and make your symptoms earlier loss. Drugs used to treat oral herpes include:
These drugs promote the most effective if you use it right from the warning signs of herpes.
Antiviral cream can also be used. However, they are quite expensive and often only shorten the duration of illness a few hours to a day.
Penciclovir and acyclovir topical cream is very effective as a herpes outbreak. The common remedy such as moisturizer or lip balm can be completely ineffective.
You can take aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain.
How is oral herpes treated?
Your doctor can diagnose the disease by observing blistering lips your mouth. Sometimes, doctors will proceed to take a sample and send notes included lab for closer examination. These tests may include:
- Viral culture;
- Check the DNA of the virus;
- Tests to check Tzanck HSV.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage oral herpes?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with oral herpes:
- Wash hands with soap and warm water often, especially after using the toilet.
- Keep skin clean and dry blisters. Avoid shaving the affected skin area.
- Know that kissing or oral sex will spread the disease.
- Learn how to detect early symptoms. Starting antiretroviral therapy early can reduce the length of illness.
- Avoid sharing personal hygiene kits.
- Call your doctor if the symptoms get worse, you have a fever or purulent discharge from blisters pitches.
- Immediately call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you suffer a severe headache, shortness of breath, severe eye pain or light makes you uncomfortable.
- Call your doctor if a relapse more than 4 to 6 times per year. You may need to take preventive medications daily.
- Avoid and learn how to cope with physical stress and mental. Stress can weaken the immune system and cause disease returned.
- Eat foods that are healthy. Get enough sleep and sufficient exercise.
- Avoid sun burning. Sunlight can cause a relapse. Always use sunscreen.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: December 5, 2019
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download version
Cold sore. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/basics/causes/con-20021310. October 01, 2015
Herpes oral. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000606.htm. October 01, 2015