Oral herpes is an infection that affects the lips, mouth or gums. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which is of two types – HSV- 1 and HSV-2. Once a person has become infected with either type of the virus, sores can burst out on the lips or areas around the mouth (oral herpes) or in and around the genitals (genital herpes). HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes while HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes.
How can a person get oral herpes?
Oral herpes is a very common infection affecting a large number of the adult population. It is mostly contracted through kissing an infected person or having oral sex with someone who has genital herpes.
A person can also become infected if he/she comes in contact with the saliva of an infected person through means like sharing drinking and eating utensils. Also, a person can get the disease if the person touches herpes sore and then touches his/her mouth without proper hand washing
How can a person tell that he/she has become infected?
Oral herpes does not always show symptoms, meaning that a person can have the disease and not be aware. The disease can stay in a person’s body for years without showing any symptoms and this explains why many people have it and why it is hard for most people to tell for sure when and how they got it. When symptoms do show, they often include:
- Sores around the mouth or lips
- Sore throat
- Swollen nymph nodes
- Burning and itching around the mouth or lips
Can oral herpes be cured?
Unfortunately there is no cure for the disease but medications can be used to relieve symptoms and reduce the likelihood of passing the virus to others.