What Is Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is an infection caused by the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-2) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The herpes simplex viruses enter the body and affect the skin and the mucous membrane. Normally oral herpes appears as fever blisters or cold sores on the lips and areas near the mouth. HSV-1 is responsible for oral herpes but there are cases of HSV-2 causing oral herpes. You can get both herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. The symptoms appear as fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes. In most cases, people mistake these symptoms with the flu.
Cause Of Oral Herpes
You can get oral herpes through sharing utensils, drinks, and kissing. You can also get oral herpes from a person with genital herpes through orals sex. The virus can exist in bodily fluids such as herpes lesion fluids, blister fluids, sore fluids, saliva, vaginal fluids, and semen. The virus will not cause any symptoms as soon as it gets into the body. When replicating, if the virus damages cells, the blisters appear.
There is a dormant phase where the herpes virus stays inactive for different periods of time and become active unpredictably. It is still possible to contract or transmit herpes even if there are no symptoms. This happens in a process referred to as shedding which involves the dropping of cells that have active herpes viruses.
Oral Herpes Symptoms
In most cases, oral herpes will not have any symptoms. When the symptoms appear, they include cold sores and fever blisters around the lips and mouth. Some people may experience a burning, tingling or itching sensation around the lips and mouth. After the first blister appears, other symptoms that resemble the flu might be experienced. These might include pain swallowing, swollen glands, fever, and a sore throat.
The infection can recur in the eye and cause what is referred to as ocular herpes which can result in blindness. Though rare, the virus might also reach the brain and cause encephalitis which can lead to death. HSV-1 also causes herpes whitlow and herpes gladiatorum.
Oral Herpes Transmission
The HSV-1 is transmitted through contact with infected cold sores and through saliva. This means you can get oral herpes through kissing. You can also get oral herpes through shaving razors, eating utensils, toothbrush, and sharing other personal items with an infected individual. Herpes is also transmitted through bodily fluids such as vaginal fluids, semen, fluids from herpes lesions, blisters and sores, and saliva. Giving oral sex to an individual with genital herpes can also lead to oral herpes infection.
How Is Oral Herpes Testing Done?
Herpes virus testing is through a blood test using CLIA or Chemiluminescence immunoassay. This test screens for antibodies formed to fight the herpes virus. To be sure you are not infected with any of the two herpes strains; it’s a good idea to get the two HSV tests from our testing centers. You can order an oral herpes test and visit one of our 4500 testing centers near you. After sample collection, the results will be emailed to you in 1 to 2 business days.
Herpes Test Information
The HSV-1 antibodies will develop within a period of 2 to 6 weeks of the initial infection. Within this period, the antibodies will develop to a level of being detected by our CLIA test. Our specialists recommend that you should take both the HSV-1 and HSV-2 tests after about 3 to 6 weeks of exposure.
Is There A Herpes Cure?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for oral and genital herpes yet. However, there are treatment options that help in reducing or eliminating outbreaks and suppressing the severity of the symptoms. The initial oral herpes symptoms tend to go away on their own after 10 to 14 days though the virus will remain in the body and resurface unpredictably. Some of the available antiretroviral medications for herpes treatment include valacyclovir, famciclovir, and acyclovir.
Conditions Linked to Oral Herpes
Normally, oral herpes is not a serious condition. In most cases, you will only have to deal with the discomfort that comes with the symptoms but nothing serious.
There are, however, rare cases where herpes simplex virus type 1 can recur in the eye spontaneously and cause ocular herpes that can lead to blindness. There are also rare cases of herpes encephalitis which cause inflammation in the brain. Herpes viruses have also been reported to cause Recurrent Lymphocytic Meningitis.
Know your status. Get an oral herpes test today.