What is Oral Herpes infection or Cold Sores?

What is Oral Herpes infection or Cold Sores?

Oral Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes virus (HSV) that results in blisters on the mouth and lips area.  The virus is spread from person to person during vaginal or oral sex as well as skin-to-skin contact.  It is very common affecting up to 70% of the population and spreads easily.  Although the disease cannot be cured, it can be controlled and the symptoms relieved by medication. 

What are the symptoms of Oral Herpes?

Some people do not have any symptoms but most develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected. The symptoms include

  • Blisters (usually painful) around mouth, lips and face
  • Pain when eating or drinking
  • Itching around the mouth
  • Tiredness or loss of appetite

Click to view Mayo Clinic video on Herpes Simplex Cold Sores

If treatment is started early, the blisters will form crusts and the symptoms will resolve within 2-4 weeks.  However, there may be recurrences (known as OUTBREAKS) which can be annoying and uncomfortable with similar symptoms of painful or itchy blisters.  Sometimes, you may be able get warning symptoms before the outbreak such as the feeling of itching or tingling around the affected area.

These are some trigger factors which can make these recurrences more likely;

  • Stress (both mental or physical)
  • Changes of weather (heat or cold)
  • Menstrual periods
  • Being tired or fatigue
  • Being sick or unwell
  • Reduce immunity (such as having cancer or while on chemotherapy or oral steroid treatment)

How is Oral Herpes treated?

Although there is no cure for Herpes, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication (such as Acyclovir ointment or medication) to help reduce the symptoms and duration of the disease during an outbreak. These medicines work best when they are started just before or soon after (ideally within 5 days) the outbreak starts.

Things you can do to make your recovery less uncomfortable;

  • Try not to touch or break the blisters
  • Apply lip balm or moisturiser to ease the discomfort
  • Take painkillers to relieve the pain
  • Avoid hot spicy foods
  • Avoid any sexual contact or kissing when you have an outbreak
  • Avoid any contact with babies or children
  • Avoid direct exposure to sunlight

Click to view HealthChannelTV video on Cold Sores

See your GP doctor or Pharmacist if you have blisters around your mouth

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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