Oral Herpes usually occurs as an infection in the mouth, gums, lips and oral mucosa. The causative organism of oral herpes is the Herpes Simplex Virus or HSV. Basically, the oral herpes symptoms include the formation of painful sores which could even extend to the face and neck of the affected individuals.
The two types of HSV are HSV 1 and HSV 2. Both types cause genital and oral lesions. However, HSV 1 accounts for 80% of the oral lesions and 20% of the genital lesions. Recently, it has been discovered that 40% of the herpes cases in adolescents are caused by HSV 1. Certain details of the study revealed that this elevation is actually caused by an increase in oral/genital sexual contact in the mentioned age group.
The mode of transmission of HSV is through breaks or cuts in the skin and other mucosal regions. The body fluids such as the saliva, semen, and genital tract fluid are effective carriers and transmitters of the virus.
The oral herpes symptoms are usually common in individuals affected by HSV1. Basically, after a person has been infected by HSV1, the progression of the condition undergoes three stages namely, primary infection, latency and recurrence.
In the first stage or primary infection, the virus invades the body through breaks in the skin or mucus membrane.
Thereafter, the oral herpes symptoms may manifest through the development of painful sores in the oral mucosa accompanied by fever.
However, there are cases that the first stage remains asymptomatic and the oral herpes symptoms do not manifest at all. This occurrence is termed as asymptomatic infection.
Finally, the third stage or recurrence stage takes place when certain conditions allow the infection to take over. Emotional and physical stresses play a major role in this particular stage. Other factors which contribute to the progression of the disease include fatigue, hormonal fluctuationsand immune depression.
Once the virus is activated, the incubation period takes place in about 2 to 14 days, the average is 4 days. During this time, symptoms may include fever, fatigue and irritability. Pain, tingling and burning sensation may occur at the infected site. Moreover, oral herpes symptoms are usually evident at this particular time.
The sores may develop in the cheeks, gums, lips and may even extend to the throat. This makes eating and drinking extremely painful. Once the infection progresses and causes fatal symptoms such as decreased urination, dehydration, drowsiness and secondary infections, the person should immediately seek for medical intervention.
While at home, painkillers such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen may be taken with caution. If tolerated, one could push fluids and increase one’s oral fluid intake. However, in order to decrease the risk of aspiration, one may consume fluids frequently in small amounts.
In cases of severe infection, the physician usually prescribes antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, and Famciclovir. Antiviral creams such as Denavir cream and other kinds of topical antiviral drugs are also being utilized in the early stages in order to shorten the attacks of HSV1.