Oral herpes are also commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. In contrast to genital herpes, oral herpes (HSV-1) affects the mouth. Oral herpes is caused by a virus known as herpes simplex virus. The infection triggers tiny, fluid-filled blisters around the lips as well as the inner parts of the mouth. For more information about oral herpes, keep reading this article to the very end.

What Causes Oral Herpes?

Oral herpes is triggered by herpes simplex virus – type 1. The virus can be acquired through skin-to-skin contact, for example, sharing of personal effects like towel, eating utensils like spoons and cups as well as kissing.

After the virus gains its way into the body, it stays dormant for about 3-7 days before manifesting. Then again, it is important to point out that there are people who do not experience the signs and symptoms associated with oral symptoms. The bad news is that, once the virus gets into the body, it stays there for the rest of your life. While there are medications, they are only used to suppress the signs and symptoms, even though the viral infection can clear without any form of supportive treatment after about 3 weeks.

Signs and Symptoms

As pointed out earlier, not everybody experiences the signs and symptoms associated with oral herpes. The CDC estimates that roughly 60% of first-time sufferers do not experience the signs and symptoms. As such, the infection can stay dormant in the body for years. But when the first outbreak occurs, the signs are quite severe. Most people often get the feeling of being sick or suffering from cold or flu. In children, primary outbreaks are quite common and severe since their immune system is still developing. Unlike adults, neonatal herpes is usually passed from the mother to the child during birth.

Listed below, are some of the signs and symptoms commonly associated with oral herpes:

· Bad breath, which is also commonly referred to as halitosis.

· Swollen and bleeding gums. This infection is also commonly referred to as gingivitis.

· Formation of blisters round the lips and inner parts of the mouth.

· Swollen lymph nodes.

· Sore throat.

· A general feeling of being sick. In most cases, patients feel as if they are down with a case of flu.

· Dehydration which is usually caused by decreased intake of solid foods and liquids.

· Large amounts of saliva being formed in the mouth.

Oral herpes in children is characterized by formation of blisters inside and outside the mouth as well as swollen gums. This in turn makes eating or swallowing of food painful. It is for this reason why dehydration is common in children suffering from oral herpes. Unfortunately, mouth sores can take up to 14 days to clear in children. Therefore, if you have noticed any of the above symptoms in your child, you need to take them for a medical check.

Adults who suffer from initial outbreak are more likely to experienced sore throat, which is accompanied by inflamed tonsils. There are people who may also experience glandular-fever like symptoms.

Once a person has contracted the herpes simplex virus – type 1, whether or not they experienced the symptoms illustrated above they stay with the virus for as long as they live However, the virus can be activated by a number of factors, which are commonly associated with the weakening of the immune system, for example, illness, medications, emotional and physical stress.

Recurrences, which are also commonly known as cold sores, are quite mild and heal faster compared to the primary outbreak. The key reason for this is because the body has developed sufficient antibodies required to fight the disease.

Recurrent oral herpes are usually characterized by:

– Tingling sensations round the areas on the lips where the infection initially occurred.

– Redness or swelling of the lips prior to the formation of cold sores.

– Tiny, fluid-filled blisters on the skin. These eventually break to form yellow crust. The crust often clears after 7 days.

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