Oral herpes is a type of infection which is caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus causes painful sores on your lips and inside your mouth. You may also have some symptoms like fever and muscle aches during this infection.
The herpes simplex virus only affects humans. It is noticed that, Mouth sores commonly happen to the children of age 1-2 years, but they can affect people at any age and any time of the year.
This viral infection can be transferred from one person to another person by touching infected saliva, mucous membranes, or skin. Because this virus is highly contagious, most people have been infected by at least 1 herpes subtype before adulthood. Due to its contageosness, people often consider this infection as a social stigma. Click here to know more about how to deal with herpes infection.
After the herpes virus infects you, it has 3 stages.
Primary infection: At this stage, this virus enters in your skin or mucous membrane and start reproducing to increase its number. During this stage, some symptoms can be noticed like oral sores, fever and muscle aches.
Asymptomatic infection: The virus may not cause any sores or symptoms. It is also possible that you may not know that you have this herpes virus infection. This is called asymptomatic infection.
Asymptomatic infection has two stages:
At this stage, the virus moves from the infected site to the mass of nervous tissue in your spine which called the dorsal root ganglion. There the virus reproduces again and becomes inactive for some period of time.
At this stage, when you encounter certain stresses either emotional or physical, the virus may reactivate and cause new sores and symptoms.
Causes of Oral Herpes
Herpes simplex is a DNA virus which causes sores in and around your mouth. There are types of herpes subtypes which may cause these sores.
Herpes simplex virus, type 1 or herpes-1, which is responsible for 80% cases of the oral herpes infections.
Herpes simplex virus, type 2 or herpes-2, which causes the rest, cases of oral herpes infections.
Symptoms of Oral Herpes
Incubation period: The time duration between contact with the virus and the appearance of symptoms is called the incubation period. For oral herpes, this period is about 2-12 days. The average incubation period for a normal person is about 4 days.
Duration of illness: Signs and symptoms of this infection will be lost in 2-3 weeks, but fever, tiredness, muscle aches, and irritability may occur for some more days.
Before the appearance of sores, pain, burning, tingling, or itching can be felt at the infection site. Then the clusters of blisters erupt. These blisters break down rapidly and appear as tiny, shallow, gray ulcers on a red base. After a few days, they become crusted or scabbed and appear drier and more yellow
The sores may occur on the lips, the gums, and the front of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the throat, and the roof of the mouth and the most intense pain may cause by these sores during eating and drinking.
They may also extend down to the chin and neck.
The gums may become mildly swollen and red and it may bleed.
Neck lymph nodes may often swell out and become painful.
When to call the doctor
Call your doctor immediately if you have seen or noticed any of these symptoms in your child, which suggest dehydration, occur because of less eating and drinking:
Decrease in urination (fewer wet diapers in infants)
Irritation shown by your child
Have sores in or around the mouth.
It has been noticed that the educated patients and educated consorts can drastically reduce the transmission of infections. Use antiviral medicines to get rid of herpes, is very useful in decreasing both recurrence frequency and viral shedding.
Around 15 years ago acyclovir became available for oral use. Research and studies indicate that the medication was not only safe, but it is also highly effective. When this medicine is taken directly, then the patients’ symptoms of both acute infections and recurrences rapidly improved. When the medicines are taken ONLY for recurrences, a little effect on recurrence frequency is found. The asymptomatic viral shedding is decreased up to 80% in patients who took acyclovir regularly. It obstructs the enzymes that copy viral DNA, and it also obstructs the replication of the virus. Acyclovir is very less toxic to normal cells because the least amount of drug is taken up and normal cell enzymes are less sensitive to the chemicals. The problem with acyclovir is it doesn’t stay in the body for a long time.
Prevention of Oral herpes:
The persons should avoid touching saliva, skin, or mucous membranes that have sores.
The sores and symptoms of oral herpes are completely clear up in 2-3 weeks. But the sores may reappear again under certain stressful situations.
If you want to gain more information about oral herpes and its treatment, you can also visit Herpes cure.