What is Oral Herpes?
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.