Oral Herpes Simplex

Oral Herpes Simplex

Oral herpes simplex is an infection caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2.) HSV-1 is the virus that usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. HSV-2, on the other hand, is usually associated with genital herpes. However, both viruses can cause infections in any location. Oral herpes simplex is characterized by recurrence of cold sores on the lips and around the mouth.

Types of oral herpes simplex

Oral herpes simplex can be categorized into two types, HSV-1 and HSV-2, based on the type of herpes simplex virus responsible for the infection. HSV-1 is mainly responsible for causing cold sores or fever blisters on the lips or around the mouth. HSV-2, on the other hand, is mainly responsible for causing genital herpes. However, it is possible for either type to cause infections in any area.

Causes and risk factors of oral herpes simplex

The cause of oral herpes simplex is the herpes simplex virus. The virus spreads from person to person, usually through contact with infected fluids or by coming in contact with an open sore. Some people may also get infected by sharing eating or drinking utensils, or from contact with an infected surface such as a towel. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to get infected.

Symptoms of oral herpes simplex

The typical symptoms of oral herpes simplex include:

  • Red, raised bumps or blisters on the face, lips, tongue, cheeks, and roof of the mouth
  • Painful sores
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Fever and body aches
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck

Diagnosis of oral herpes simplex

A healthcare provider can diagnose oral herpes simplex based on the symptoms and a physical exam. Occasionally, a laboratory test may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for oral herpes simplex typically focuses on relieving the symptoms. The virus cannot be cured, but medications can help to reduce the duration and frequency of outbreaks.