Oral Herpes ( herpes simplex virus - 1)
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Oral Herpes ( herpes simplex virus - 1)

Sam  Views: 2137  3 min read

Alternative names:  Cold sore; Fever blister; Oral herpes simplex; Herpes labialis; mouth herpes; Herpes simplex

 Oral herpes is a common infection predominantly of the mouth and lips caused by a herpes simplex virus  type 1 (HSV 1).  It is a small blister or group of blister that generally develop on the lip or around the mouth. Herpes simplex virus 1 can be easily spread through skin to skin contact with a  person who have the virus. Cold sores are normally not serious and  resolves within 2 to 3 weeks. Oral herpes often recur because the herpes simplex virus is not completely eliminated by the body defenses.

Herpes simplex virus 2 is responsible for genital herpes. A person usually acquire herpes simplex 2 virus through sexual contact.  HSV-2 is  sometimes spread to the mouth during oral sex, causing oral herpes.


  • itching of the lips or skin around the mouth

  • Burning near the lips or mouth area

  • Tingling near the lips or mouth area

  • Red blisters that break open and leak

  • Small blisters filled with clear yellowish fluid

  • Several smaller blisters that grow together into a large blister

  • A blister that gets yellow and crusty as it heals, eventually turning into pink skin


Symptoms may be triggered by:

  • Menstruation or hormone changes

  • Being out in the sun

  • Fever

  • Stress


Transmission of cold sores can be avoided by following precautions.

  • Washing hands frequently throughout the day. Avoiding close contact with anyone who has a weakened immune system, including newborns.

  • Avoiding touching oral herpes.  Washing hands immediately after touching oral herpes if you touch them.

  • Avoiding intimate contact.

  • Not sharing personal belongings such as lip balm, towel, razors. It is even recommended not to share utensils, straw, glasses or other items if someone has oral herpes.

Virus can be transmitted to others even if oral sores are treated. Oral sores are contagious until all the sores have scabbed over.

 Home Management of  oral herpes  

Oral herpes heal on its own. However, many thing can be done to manage the symptoms. Following tips are recommended to treat sores at home.

Slow the outbreak: applying  an over-the-counter antiviral ointment or cream when oral herpes appear may help slow the virus reproduction and relieve symptoms.

Pain management: ibuprofen or acetaminophen help to reduce pain.

Avoid food containing acid: avoiding foods containing acid, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits may help to prevent skin irritation and pain.

Cool the sores: placing a cool towel on the oral herpes for about 5 to 10 minutes to reduce redness and irritation.

It is usual to get oral herpes again and again because the virus stays in the body even after the sores has been cleared. Fever, stress, hormonal changes are some of the factors which reactivate the virus. Newborns and people with weakened immune system are likely to acquire virus from infected people. Therefore , precautions should be taken when in contact with them.

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