What is Oral Herpes?
Oral herpes is the name given to the infection which results from the contamination with the herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex virus has two categories, namely HSV-1, or type one and HSV-2, or type two. The former is primarily linked to the appearance of the oral herpes. The cases of oral herpes caused by the second type of HSV only account for a small percentage of the total number of infections.
Symptoms of Oral Herpes
The oral herpes appears under the form of painful lesions and blisters on the lips or the inside of the mouth. Prior to the formation of these blisters, the patient may experience pain around the lips, gums or inner cheeks. Once the lesions form, they tend to be extremely painful and the patient may find it difficult to eat or drink anything. Oral herpes can sometimes be accompanied by fever. The blisters tend to dry after a couple of days and a crust forms on their surface. This aspect can help differentiate a sore caused by oral herpes from a simple canker sore.
How is Oral Herpes Transmitted?
The most common way of oral herpes transmission is through saliva. The virus tends to spread easily and rapidly. This means that it is sufficient for a person to drink from the same glass which an infected person has used in order for the virus to be transmitted. However, the majority of HPV-1 infections occur as a result of kissing. Oral sexual contact is also a rather common way of spreading the virus.
Testing and Diagnosis of Oral Herpes
Many people tend to underestimate the oral herpes and resort to over-the-counter products which promise to heal the lesions extremely fast. The truth is that such products can be inefficient or, in some cases, they can even cause complications and aggravate the infection. Moreover, a patient may feel sure that he is suffering of oral herpes, when, in fact, the blisters may be the result of other infections or diseases. This is why any suspicion of oral herpes should be brought to the attention of a specialist, who will be able to make a clear diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.
The procedure used in the diagnosis of oral herpes is extremely easy and quick. The doctor will simply collect a sample of tissue from the sore and analyze its composition. As stated before, most cases of oral herpes are caused by HSV-1 but there are a few cases caused by HSV-2. In order to establish for sure which one of these two variants of the same virus has led to the infection, the doctor will scan the sample for antibodies. HSV-1 and HSV-2 enable the organism to produce different types of antibodies, which makes it easier for the doctor to know exactly which one has caused your infection and, implicitly, to prescribe a good treatment.
Cures and Treatments for Oral Herpes
Once the herpes virus has penetrated the body, there is no way to eliminate it. However, there are many medications which will help you get rid of the blisters and the fever which may appear during the acute infection. For example, ibuprofen is a common option for controlling the pain caused by the lesions. Recently, the pharmaceutical industry has started selling medicinal patches which have proven to be efficient in getting rid of the blisters that form on the lips. The presence of the virus in the organism will lead to periodical manifestations of the infection, causing the blisters to appear every once in a while. In order to control these problems, treatments which aim to ameliorate the severity of these outbursts have been developed.
Remember to always take all the possible health measures in every situation, in order to avoid an infection with the herpes virus.