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Oral Herpes - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Written By : Dr. James Pendergraft 
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An infection which is instigated by the 'Herpes Simplex Virus' is called the Oral Herpes, the medical name being 'Herpes Labialis'. This condition causes outbreak of painful and tiny sores around the mouth, gums, and lips and also on the sides of the mouth. These sores are called 'fever blisters' or 'cold sores'.


Oral Herpes Simplex is a very widespread disease which is brought about due to the infection of the area around the mouth due to 'herpes simplex virus', which is usually Type 1.

At the start there would be no indications or ulcers. The infection stays in the nerve tissue present in the face. In a few cases, the infection reactivates and creates persistent cold sores which are generally around the same spot, but would not be severe. 'Herpes Virus Type 2' brings about genital herpes and also a virus to the babies at the time of birth, but it could also bring about 'Herpes "labialis'.

The infection of herpes is very contagious. There could be either direct contact or even through towels, infected razors, dishes or any other objects which would be shared. In a few cases, 'Oral to Genital' or the other way round also could bring about oral herpes. This is the reason oral sex should not be practised by people with present herpes ulcers either inside or around the area of the mouth or even the genitals. Recurrence of the infection is not much, but it is instigated by stress, menstruation, fever, exposure to the sun and even a few unknown reasons.


The initial symptoms generally start showing in about one to two weeks in a few cases three weeks, after being infected. The sores of the infection generally remain for about seven to ten days, after that start to settle down.

About a day or two before the sore appears, indications like burning, itching, tingling feel or augmented sensitivity start to show. The various symptoms of oral herpes are: slight fever, sores which are painful on slightly elevated and red area, sores which appear, burst and leak, sores on the skin around the gums, mouth and lips, many tiny sores which appear to create a bigger blister and yellow outer layers which swamp to show pink, remedial skin.


Tests like 'Tzanck test' and 'Viral Culture' are conducted when a sore appears; these tests determine the presence of oral herpes. If the indications are left untreated, the infection takes about a week or two to get back to normal. In case of intake of antiviral medications taken orally, the recovery would be faster and even the pain would be less.

The sores should be washed lightly with water and soap, in order to avoid the infection from spreading to other areas of the skin. The sufferer would be advised to use an antiseptic soap. To ease the pain of the blisters fermentation with ice or warm packs to the infected area is advised. Precautions should be taken in order to avoid other areas of the skin from getting infected.

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