What is Oral Herpes?

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Oral Herpes

Picture of a typical Oral Herpes outbreak.

There’s a lot of confusion about herpes out there. One reason is that there are two types of herpes, caused by two very similar viruses. One type is herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and the other type is herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). Both types of virus are very contagious.

These viruses can cause oral herpes or for this particular article we will call it oral herpes and genital herpes. A herpes infection on or in the mouth is called oral herpes. An infection in the genital area is called, genital herpes. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be sexually transmitted.

Oral and genital herpes sores look very similar but occur on different parts of the body. Most oral herpes infections come from HSV-1 and most genital herpes infections come from HSV-2. These viruses are relatively common and about 254 million Americans have gotten oral herpes through oral contact, and about 45 million Americans have gotten herpes through genital contact.

Oral herpes causes cold sores or fever blisters on the lips or inside the mouth. Cold sores and fever blisters are common in young children because parents can pass oral herpes on to their kids with a goodnight kiss or the children can easily pick it up by sharing drinking glasses or common childish play at school.

Genital herpes
symptoms include: recurring rash with clusters of blistery sores appearing anywhere on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, anus, buttocks, or elsewhere on the body. Symptoms may also include pain and discomfort in the genital area and itching and burning sensations during urination.

Herpes does not always have symptoms. Scary isn’t it? Herpes does not necessarily cause any outward, visible symptoms. When someone does have symptoms, the sores can last up to several weeks and then go away. The sores can return which is called an outbreak or recurrence up to six times a year or more, or they may not return for years, if ever.

Touching or kissing, and sexual contact with the infected area spread oral herpes. The virus is more contagious if an outbreak is present although it is possible, but less likely, for the virus to spread even if there is no sign of an outbreak or a oral herpes lesion. A oral herpes outbreak or recurrence is most contagious until sores have completely healed when not even scabs are visible.

Some precautions you can take at further spread of the virus that causes oral herpes outbreaks is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching the lesion. This is especially important because those lesions associated with oral herpes are the ones most associated with ocular herpes infections (herpes infection of the eyes). Take special precautions when around infants or very young children. Herpes infections can be fatal to an infant as their immune systems are not capable of handling such an infection. Those who suffer from oral herpes should avoid the urges to kiss the baby and wait until all symptoms have subsided before doing so.

Oral herpes can be extremely painful when you don’t take necessary actions at minimizing the outbreak. There are a number of over-the-counter treatments that can help promote healing and aide in alleviating the pain associated with a oral herpes outbreak. One such product is H-Balm by Forces of Nature. Although it is an essential oil it is one of the most highly recommended products for oral herpes and genital herpes outbreaks by those who suffer from herpes there is. Flare-ups of oral herpes are often triggered by sunburn on the lips, certain foods, anxiety, a cold (hence the name “cold sore”), fever, or anything that lowers the body’s resistance to infection. Certain dental procedures can cause a flare-up as well; if a lesion from oral herpes already exists, dental visits should be postponed until the sore heals.

Although merely a painful annoyance for most people, flare-ups of a oral herpes infection can be life threatening for a person with an impaired immune system. Diseases such as AIDS, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a bone marrow transplant can cause the noted impairments of the immune system. In such people, large, persistent sores in the mouth can interfere with eating; spread of the virus to the brain can be fatal.

Oral herpes doesn’t have to be overly frightening, as it can easily be controlled and treated. Simple acts based on common sense can help prevent further spread of oral herpes and make life much less stressful for you at the same time. Yes, oral herpes lesions can be quite embarrassing and often pop up at the most inopportune times it would seem, but take your time, choose an affective treatment and allow the treatment to do it’s job. Getting overly anxious for the oral herpes lesions to heal will only increase stress levels and in turn could encourage the outbreak to be prolonged.

  1. SBSB05-08-2012

    Hi I was wondering if my partner has oral and gential herpes but he is not experiencing outbreaks and takes valtrex to prevent future outbreaks is it safe for me to kiss him?

    • mikemike05-31-2012

      so why does he have to take Valtrex if he has no outbreaks?

  2. CindyCindy06-06-2012

    If there are no visible herpes lesions inside the mouth, or on lips is possible but not likely to spread it to your partner during kissing.

    Genital herpes it is spread through sexual contact. It’s a contact to contact disease. You may have genital herpes and not even know it because a lot of people have the disease and show no signs or symptoms of herpes blisters. Many women can spread the disease without knowing because the blisters could be inside the vagina.

    If there are no outbreaks, valtrex is a medication that the person can take to prevent herpes outbreaks.

    Genital herpes can be passed on when the disease is active– meaning that there is an active outbreak and visible herpes lesions on the penis or on the vagina. In addition, it can be spread during the “shedding” phase– meaning that the virus is about to start becoming active and the virus is starting to shed on the skin. These “shedding” symptoms are hard to see because there are no visible lesions, or maybe so small to see that one can mistake them for an ingrown hair or something else.

    It is best to be smart and get tested with your partner before starting to have sex without condoms.

    As for my experience– I had an ectopic pregnancy– which I read on websites that it was caused by gonorreah and clamydia. I was very scared and told my boyfriend of 4.5 months that we should get tested. Without hesitation him and I went to the STD clinic– which I didn’t care for the price. My health is most important. I paid $225 per person (I paid for him too! my most expensive date ever!) and we got tested for Oral/genital herpes, Hepatitis B&C, gonorreah, clamydia, syphilis, HIV.
    I was positive for ORAL herpes– which is very common.
    and my boyfriend was positive for GENITAL herpes– it’s common too.
    Now we use condoms to prevent me from getting genital herpes & I always check the inside of my mouth to make sure I do not have any open sores.
    It is better to be tested for STD’s before having unprotected sex with each partner. I always used condoms with all my partners– but I don’t know what happened to me.
    My boyfriend is a man 13 years my senior– he’s a handsome guy with blue eyes, a huge house and a luxury car– that I trusted he didn’t have anything.
    Now after this ordeal we use condoms & I am never having unprotected sex with anyone new ever again until we get tested for STD’s and we are in a monogamous relationship!!
    Lesson learned!!

  3. janellejanelle06-19-2012

    See i got it from off a school drinking fountain and my mom yelled at meh cuz she thought i had got herpes

  4. Barbara SandersBarbara Sanders09-18-2012

    Do you carry this information about oral HSV in Spanish?
    Thank you

  5. jessicajessica01-23-2013

    i have herpes and feel like a disgusting person because of it :(

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