You’ve seen television commercials that discuss treatments for oral herpes, but you are not that sure how this particular condition makes itself known. Just like genital herpes, it is possible to have oral herpes and not even know it. That’s because the condition does not always come with any apparent symptoms. Still, there are some signs that you want to look for, especially if you find that you have been intimate with someone who is infected with the herpes simplex virus. The following video discusses how to determine if you have oral herpes or just canker sores.
What is Oral Herpes?
Before you can begin to be on the lookout for possible signs of infection, it helps to understand what causes oral herpes. The condition can involve the mouth, lips, or gums and is caused by coming in contact with what is known as the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Contrary to popular opinion, kissing is not the only way to contract the virus. Sharing razors, washcloths, or even dinner plates that are not thoroughly cleaned could serve as the mode of transmission.
It is also possible to contract oral herpes by coming in contact with the herpes simplex virus type 2. While herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) is normally associated with genital herpes, engaging in oral sex can communicate the virus to the mouth area and lead to the development of oral herpes.
What Happens When I Contract the Virus?
For some people, there are no oral herpes symptoms at all. Others may notice small blisters or sores around the mouth or on the gums that seem to fester for a day or two, then fade away. It is not unusual for herpes of all types to go dormant and remain that way for long periods of time.
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For people who do experience some symptoms, the first signs are usually similar to coming down with a cold. The throat may be a little sore, along with a low-grade fever. Swallowing may be a little more difficult, and the glands on the neck may feel a little swollen. There is also the possibility that a burning or tingling sensation manifests on the lips or the gums.
Even as these early signs begin to fade away, the first of the blisters begin to appear. Smaller blisters tend to be filled with a yellow tinged liquid, while larger blisters will have a red tint. Both types are likely to “ooze” at some point. As the outbreak begins to subside, the blisters will dry into small, crusty spots that eventually heal.
How Can I Manage Oral or Genital Herpes?
Outbreaks can occur for a number of reasons. Stress can trigger the return of the blisters. For women, difficulties related to menstruation or hormone imbalances may cause an outbreak, either of oral herpes (HSV-1), or HSV-2, genital herpes. Too much time in the sun can also lead to the appearance of more blisters. Even with the use of medication to control the condition, an outbreak can still take place.
If you notice some of these oral herpes symptoms or signs that you may have genital herpes, see your doctor immediately. After confirming the diagnosis, your doctor can recommend specific courses of treatment to help eliminate herpes. Keep in mind that having herpes does not mean you can’t enjoy life. It does mean that you will need to learn how to responsibly manage your condition.