Oral herpes is also known as cold sore or fever blister. These usually appear as tiny blisters filled with fluid on the skin and the mucous membrane, and this can be extremely painful. The areas that are often affected by oral herpes include the upper lips, tongue, gums, and roof of the mouth and inside of the cheeks. This infection is usually due to the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. Type 2 herpes simplex viruses can cause genital herpes and it could be the rare cause of cold sores.
The primary outbreak due to the infection usually occurs and heals without leaving any scars, but the virus remains dormant inside the body. HSV can migrate from the skin and into the nervous tissues within the spine, where it stays dormant for a period. This is known as the latency stage and during this stage, the virus replicated while inactive. Some individuals infected by the virus do not experience recurrence of outbreaks while there are those who can be bothered by frequent oral herpes outbreaks.
The exact triggers of the condition are still unknown but various factors are attributed to it, such as exposure to sunlight, high fever, physical or emotional stress and weakened immune system. All these are believed to be connected to the activation of the herpes simplex virus. The condition has no cure as well, but you should know that there are oral herpes or cold sore remedies available that can help alleviate the symptoms of the condition and reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
The primary infection due to HSV is very common and this may or may not present symptoms. Approximately 10% of all infected individuals develop symptoms, such as blisters and fever, due to the primary infection caused by HSV. It may also take 2 to 12 days for the symptoms to appear after the first infection of the virus. Some of the typical symptoms include the surfacing of fluid-filled blisters on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity or on the upper lips.
Solitary blisters or clusters can be found. Other frequently affected areas are the gums, roof of the mouth, front of the tongue, the throat and inside of the cheeks. The formation of the sores can also be accompanied by muscle pain, fever and feeling of tiredness. Aside from the pain, the affected individual can also experience tingling or burning sensation within the affected area. Ultimately, these sores may burst, become crusted and turn yellowish in color.
Oral herpes in the mouth can result to difficulties eating and drinking, often due to the pain. The ones on the gum can cause swelling and some individuals may even develop lymph nodes on the neck due to the swelling of the sores. Generally, the outbreak or the infection may subside on its own, even without the use of any oral herpes or cold sore treatment. however, if the symptoms of the condition become worse and make eating and drinking very troublesome, medical intervention might be necessary.
Checking in with your physician is important, especially if the virus infects young children and individuals with weak immune system. This is because such patients are the ones who most likely experience complications and severe infections. For example, HSV infection in infants can cause the virus to migrate to the brain, thus resulting to serious infection and encephalitis. To prevent this, make sure to take your infant to a physician as soon as you notice oral herpes symptoms.
Physicians usually start by examining the physical symptoms exhibited by the infected individual, along with the sample of the blisters or sores in order to determine if HSV is present. Antigen and antibody studies as well as blood sampling will also be carried out. Tzanck smear teat, another diagnostic procedure, will also be conducted. Once the infection is identified and the patient is infected with HSV, treatment will then begin for oral herpes or fever blisters.
Topical anesthetics are usually prescribed to relieve the pain due to oral herpes. Infants and individuals with weak immune system will be required to take oral or IV medications. Oral Valacyclovir, acyclovir, famciclovir or Famvir are the most commonly prescribed medications for the management of the symptoms. These medications also showed efficacy when it comes to the reduction of viral infection frequency.
One thing that you should know is that the condition is highly contagious and it can easily be transmitted from one person to another through direct contact. Herpes simplex virus infection can also spread form one area of the body to another, which is why it is necessary to maintain personal hygiene when afflicted with this condition. In case the symptoms worsen even after taking medications, consult your physician for further testing or increased dosage of medicines.