Encyclopedia

Oral herpes

What is oral herpes?

Oral herpes is an infection of the mouth and lips caused by a specific type of herpes simplex virus – also called type HSV-1 or type 1 herpes simplex virus.

The virus causes painful sores on the lips, gums, tongue, palate, inside of the lips, and sometimes on the face and neck.

This can also lead to other symptoms such as fever and muscle aches. Some people think gangrene is caused by HSV, but this is not true.

Gangrenous ulcers appear only inside the mouth and tongue and on the soft palate, not on the surface of the skin.

There are two types of HSV virus, they are called HSV-1 and HSV-2. These two types of viruses have markedly different DNA, as well as the ability to cause oral and genital lesions.

However, HSV-1 causes about 80% of all cases of oral herpes and only about 20% of genital herpes.

While with HSV-2 it is exactly the opposite – 20% of cases are oral and 80% genital. Studies also show that in about 40% of cases of genital herpes in young people and teenagers, it is caused by HSV-1, due to the more frequent practice of oral sex.

What are the symptoms of oral herpes?

When infected with the HSV-1 virus, the time from exposure to the virus to the appearance of the first symptoms is from 2 to 12 days, with most infected within 3 -6 days.

Signs and symptoms last between 2 and 3 weeks and may be accompanied by systemic symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, irritability and irritability.

  • Pain, burning and itching are felt at the site of infection before the sores appear. Sometimes these symptoms appear immediately before the sores or blisters appear. The vesicles then burst and small, very slightly indented, gray sores appear, and the skin around them is red. A few days later they form a crust or peel off and dry out and turn yellow.
  • Mouth sores – the most pain they cause is felt very soon after they appear. Mouth sores make eating and drinking water very difficult.
  • Sores can appear on the lips, gums, throat, front of the tongue, and on the inside of the cheeks or palate.
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  • Gums may swell slightly, become redder in color and begin to bleed.
  • Lymph nodes in the neck often become swollen and painful.< /li>
  • In young people and teenagers, the throat may become painful and shallow sores may also appear on it, as well as gray plaque on the tonsils.

Treatment of oral herpes

Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used for fever and muscle pain. There are data that taking paracetamol can provoke asthma attacks in some children, so parents should consult their doctor before using medicines that contain paracetamol.

  • Intake of plenty of fluids is a must to prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid touching the wounds and any secretions that ooze from them.
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  • For milder infections, the treatment can be carried out entirely at home, without the need for a consultation with your personal doctor. You can also use natural remedies to relieve the infection such as aloe vera gel, tea or peppermint leaves and cornstarch.

How to protect yourself?

  • Maintain good hygiene: Washing your hands and face regularly with soap and water can help prevent the virus from spreading. Avoid touching or rubbing cold sores.
  • Avoid close contact: Oral herpes is spread through contact with infected lips, so avoid kissing and sharing eating utensils with infected people.
  • Use sunscreen: The sun can be a conduit for the activation of the herpes virus. Use a high SPF sunscreen to prevent burning your lips.
  • Maintain a strong immune system: A healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, physical activity and good sleep, can to support your immune system and reduce the risk of relapses.
  • Avoid stress: Stress can be a significant factor in the activation of the herpes virus. Relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation can help reduce stress.
  • Don’t touch the cold sores: If you are still infected, avoid touching the cold sores and cough as this can spread the virus to other parts of your body.
  • Treat flu symptoms: Flu symptoms such as pain and itching can be managed with specialist creams and ointments, designed for this type of infection.
  • Avoid luck during a flare-up: During periods of oral herpes flare-ups, avoid sexual contact to prevent passing the virus to your partner.< /li>

It is important to remember that oral herpes is a chronic infection and cannot always be completely avoided.

However, with precautions and attention, we can reduce the risk of infection and take care of our health and a healthy lifestyle.

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