Oral herpes is a very common condition today. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two subtypes of this virus. For oral herpes, which results in cold sores, type 1 is responsible for about 80% of all cases and type 2 the rest.
More than 6 in a group of 10 adults will contract the virus before the end of a lifetime. In that time, the virus undergoes three main stages:
- Primary infection – Here, exposure to the virus occurs. It is very contagious and will be passed from one person to another through contact with mucosa secretions, skin to skin contact and infected utensils. At this stage, symptoms of oral herpes like fever and sores will develop. Some people develop serious symptoms while others barely feel them.
- Dormancy – After the primary infection, the virus moves to the nerves in the spine, divides and stays dormant.
- Recurrent outbreaks – Some factors such as exposure to UV rays, stress and trauma can awake the virus from dormancy. This will cause the same symptoms as in the primary infection but milder. In some people, the virus will never come out of the dormant state after the first time.
Symptoms of oral herpes
Not all people will experience or notice the symptoms of oral herpes. They are most severe during primary infections and in children below 5 years of age. The symptoms will appear 1-3 weeks after exposure to HSV-1 and may persist for up to 3 weeks. They include:
- Tingling on the lips and inside some parts of the mouth
- Itchy sensation in the mouth, on tongue or on the lips
- Burning feeling on the lips and on the roof of the mouth including the gums
- These symptoms may last for 1 to 2 days before sores form maybe on the gum, throat, mouth and lips. After that, you may experience the following:
- Swollen lymph glands
Generally the sores caused by oral herpes come in clusters of red blisters. The blisters are filled with a clear but somewhat yellowish fluid. With time, the blisters will break and the fluid will ooze out. This is the time that a patient is most contagious. When the blisters break, it will form a scab and turn yellowish as it nears healing.
Symptoms of oral herpes can be encouraged by stress, changes in hormone levels, prolonged exposure to sun and trauma/surgery including crude operations to get rid of warts.
What causes throat herpes and symptoms?
Throat herpes also known as herpes esophagitis is a condition in which the herpes simplex virus infects the esophagus. This is the canal that connects the stomach to the mouth. It is very rare in healthy individuals. However, it can occur in people with weak immunity. This can be contributed to by the following factors:
- Chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- Surgery including transplants
- Autoimmune ailments like hepatitis
Any habit, drug or chemical that may damage the esophagus will encourage the occurrence of throat herpes. Such habits include prolonged alcohol consumption, smoking steroid inhalers and some forms or oral medications.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain when swallowing
- Lost appetite
- Pain in the joint
- Fatigue and feeling sickly
You can look at the different pictures and photos provided online to find out what throat herpes looks like. You can also consider a more detailed illustrative video for even better understanding.
Should doubts persist, a doctor can run a diagnosis. A blood test can be performed to reveal if you have the HSV virus in your DNA. Throat cultures and mouth swabs may be needed to confirm that it actually is throat herpes you are experiencing. This is important because other forms of throat infections can produce almost identical symptoms.
How does herpes in mouth look in photos?
Oral herpes get their name from the fact that symptoms are mostly experienced in and near the mouth. Pictures for herpes in mouth are a bit gross. The general idea depicted is of a cluster of red, yellowish blisters covering the lips and sometimes extending to the area between the nose and upper lip. You can take photos and compare with online pictures.
Herpes on the lips and mouth are mainly caused by HSV-1. HSV-2 may also cause them but only in rare cases. They can be caused by exposure to the virus or as recurrent outbreaks. Factors such as stress and a lot of sun will encourage them.
In a week or two, the blisters will clear on their own. But these said two weeks can prove the longest period of your life. There will be difficulties in eating, swallowing, and talking, and that’s even assuming that you will be courageous enough to appear in public with lips full of blisters.
You can treat herpes in the mouth with some home remedies such as essential oils or aloe Vera, which is sometimes used to remove warts under the armpit. However, prescription medications are a better option.
Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir are the main antivirals used to treat herpes on the lips and in the mouth. They ease the pain felt from the sores and also reduce the rate at which the virus will spread. They can also reduce the probability of recurrent outbreaks.
Since herpes sores will appear a day or two after the first signs of burning and tingling sensations, take these medications then. In fact, the sores may never appear at all if the medications are taken early enough.
Herpes in nose; symptoms, causes and treatment
Herpes in the nose is caused by the same HSV virus we have already been introduced to. Pictures and photos depict that the sores mostly occur on the part between the upper lip and the nose. Some sores can occur inside the nasal cavity but are rare in case of herpes.
Oral herpes will have the same symptoms although slight variations can still occur depending on the affected body part.
Herpes in the nose will start with a burning and tingling feeling on or just below the nostrils. Within two days, a reddened rash will develop and some hours later, sores will appear.
The sores will be filled with a clear and sometimes a yellowish liquid. After some time, the sores will form blisters and ooze the liquid. Many active herpes virus are released in this stage. The patient is most contagious then.
Herpes are very painful and usually intolerable. Touching them will irritate them further and even worsen the pain.
In a few days, scabs will form on the blisters. It is mostly yellowish and may make the skin pink. The sores will then heal and likely no leave scars.
Herpes virus is not very harmful to the health especially in healthy adults. It can however be painful and uncomfortable. In or around the nose, herpes can be treated by:
- Saline solutions such as salt water can be used to wash the affected nasal area. Viruses don’t thrive in saline environments.
- Use Lysine containing products such as cold milk on the sores. You can also take foods containing the amino acid in plentiful just after the onset of a herpes outbreak.
- Some home remedies such as witch hazel have been known to calm the burning and pain felt from cold sores. Essential oils can also help with the same and also in faster healing of the open sores. Although tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar can also be used, they can cause a burning effect and worsen the cold sores pain. They are better for used for skin tags, warts and mole removal at home.
If the symptoms and sores are to last for more than 2 weeks or spread to the inside of the nasal canals, it is for the best that you get medical attention.
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