Herpes On The Tongue: Common Symptoms Prevention And Treatment
What is herpes on the tongue? What causes it? And how do you treat it? Many people are familiar with cold sores that appear on the lips, but this painful chronic condition can appear inside the mouth too.
If you have herpes on your tongue, read on to learn more about this oral health issue. In this article, well explore the common causes and remedies of this condition and also answer questions such as:
- What are the causes of herpes on the tongue?
- What does herpes in the mouth look like?
- Are there different stages of oral herpes? What are they?
- How can you prevent oral herpes?
- How do you treat herpes on the tongue?
What Are Cold Sores Home Remedies
Cold sores contain the HSV-1 virus. People with cold sores should wash their hands often, especially after touching the face. Cups and eating utensils should not be shared with another person. A home remedy like cold compresses may relieve pain temporarily.
- Lysine, an amino acid, was once thought to be a potential treatment, but the facts supporting this are unconvincing.
- Other home remedies, including vitamin E oil, vitaminsupplements, nail polish remover, and changes in diet, have not been well studied.
Why Does It Take This Long For A Cold Sore To Go Away
There are some stages for the healing of cold sores. The time taken by each stage would be different for everyone. The stages are:Stage 1: The first stage would cause swelling in the affected area where cold sores are formed. The person would experience pain, itching, and tingling symptoms. Burning sensations can also happen to some people during the first stage.Stage 2: During the second stage, the blister would be filled with fluids. The small blisters would mainly form on one side of the lip. During stage 2, the person may also have mild fever mainly in children.
Stage 3: The blister would burst out during stage 3 of cold sores. After the blisters are burst, the person would experience pain. The impacted area would be very painful for some days.
This is the most dangerous stage of the cold sores healing time when the cold cores can spread to other people.
Stage 4: In this stage, the scabs would start forming. The scabbing stage would cause irritation and itching in the affected area. The person may experience bleeding and the scab may start cracking. The scab would fall, and the person would recover completely.
The healing time for cold sores depends on how long it takes for the scab to form. In some people, the scab may fall off after a long time. Everyone can check with the doctor for any medication or treatment required.
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Is There A Permanent Cure For Cold Sores
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for cold sores right now. But thats not to say that researchers arent working hard to find a cure. Recent developments suggest that there could be a vaccine for HSV on the way.
- Harvey M. Friedman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been working on a cure for the virus for more than twenty years. He and his colleagues now believe they have found a way to help the body make the antibodies to fight off HSV, as well as keeping the virus from evading those antibodies, which it does so well.
- The vaccine has been tested on macaque monkeys, whose immune systems are very similar to humans. It was also tested on guinea pigs, who exhibit the same symptoms as humans when infected with HSV. The results were very positive, eliminating the virus from these two animals with minimal side-effects.
- But of course, before a vaccine can be brought onto the market, it needs to be tested on humans. Theres no current date for the human trials, but if they prove successful, the vaccine could provide a viable cure within a decade.
Another interesting treatment which will soon be available is Sitavig a medication which has already been clinically tested. This drug, which contains acyclovir can reduce the amount of the virus thats being carried in the body over time.
Varicella Zoster Virus: Chicken Pox
The varicella-zoster virus is also known as human herpes virus 3 . It can cause two different types of infection: chicken pox and shingles. Like all herpes viruses, VZV is highly contagious. Children normally catch it by being in direct contact with someone who has chicken pox . They can also get it by coming in contact with the coughs and sneezes of an infected person.
After being infected, it can take up to three weeks to develop the lesions, which usually finish completely forming within a week. They’ve often been described as a “dew drop on a rose petal” because there are red areas with small blisters on top. Most chicken pox lesions are on the face and torso, although they can show up anywhere.
After a week or two, the lesions are usually completely scabbed over and no longer considered contagious. Antihistamines and lotions, creams and ointments can help the itching so can lukewarm baths with oatmeal powder or baking soda. Some children run fevers and should be treated with acetaminophen instead of aspirin to avoid the possibility of Reye’s syndrome. Chicken pox isn’t really dangerous in healthy children. After one bout of chicken pox, the immune system generally suppresses it — you can’t contract chicken pox twice.
If they do have chicken pox, however, a small number of people can also contract shingles later in life. We’ll look at that next.
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Triggers For Cold Sores
In some people the HSV infection causes cold sores, which erupt following a trigger event such as a cold. This explains the term cold sore. Other triggers that may cause an attack of cold sores include:
- feverish illnesses, like influenza, or chest infections
- hormonal changes, such as the menstrual period
- emotional or physical stress.
It is important to remember that cold sores are a symptom of ongoing infection rather than a new infection. The sores usually recur in the same place.
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Show Your Lips Some Love
Dry lips are more prone to cold sore outbreaks and make it easier to catch the virus that causes them. Find out how to keep lips moist.
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What Does Herpes On The Tongue Look Like
The infection may manifest starting with small, shallow, gray-colored ulcers with a red base. Thereafter, they turn into crusted, scabbed, dry and yellow blisters. For some serious cases, a grayish coating on the tonsils may appear and the patient may also experience a sore throat with shallow ulcers.
Oral Herpes Can Occur In Different Areas
Oral herpes doesn’t just occur on the tongue. It can appear on the:
- Roof of the mouth
For some people, symptoms may even appear on the upper lip, inside the nose, or on the cheek or chin. All variations of this disease can be exceptionally painful and make you feel self-conscious. Treatment will differ based on the location and the severity.
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Why Do Some People Get Cold Sores And What Can Be Done About Them
Cold sores are painful blisters on the lips that can form unsightly crusts. They are very common and are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The medical name for facial cold sores is herpes labialis.
There are two strains of herpes simplex virus , but the strain usually responsible for cold sores is known as herpes simplex virus type 1 . Most of us already harbour this virus, indeed estimates suggest that 67% of the worlds population under 50 is infected with HSV-1. In many cases, people become infected during childhood, and once this happens you carry the virus for life.
However, not everyone who has HSV-1 gets cold sores. In fact most people who carry the virus arent actually aware of it because it causes them no symptoms at all. Thats because the herpes simplex virus becomes dormant and has the ability to hide from the bodys immune system. Cold sores occur when something triggers the virus and causes it to reactivate.
Triggers that can cause cold sores to erupt vary from person to person and can include stress, feeling run down, and exposure to lots of strong sunlight.
So if you suffer from cold sores you should try to identify your triggers and avoid them if possible.
But once you have a cold sore, what can you actually do about it?
If the cold sore persists, or if youre getting them often, you should go and see your doctor as they may need to prescribe stronger oral antiviral medication.
Over The Counter Antivirals For Genital Herpes
- -Abreva is the only FDA-approved antiviral medication for herpes simplex that is available without a prescription. This medication slows the ability of the herpes virus to multiply in the body, which reduces symptoms and supports faster recovery.
- -Oral pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen arent antivirals, but theyre available over-the-counter to alleviate herpes-related pain and discomfort until your outbreak ends.
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How To Tell The Difference Between Canker Sores And Cold Sores
Some people confuse canker sores with cold sores, even though they are quite different.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. They are quite contagious when they form gooey blisters and open sores, and less contagious otherwise. Cold sores often occur in groups and appear as small, fluid-filled bumps. They may tingle or burn when they first appear.
When left untreated, the bumps burst, releasing fluid that then crusts over. They often appear when you are already sick or stressed or if you have a weakened immune system. They most often occur outside of the mouth but can show up inside as well.
Cold sores look different from canker sores and have different causes. Cold sores are contagious. Canker sores are not. If you’re not sure which you have, your doctor can perform a visual examination to make a definitive diagnosis.
Can You Get Oral Herpes On Your Tongue
The tongue is actually one of the most common areas to get infected with oral herpes. Ranging from inflamed bumps to blisters and sores, the infection can cause irritation while eating or drinking.
Since the virus is quite contagious you should refrain from sharing utensils to avoid the spread. Often, adults transfer viruses through a kiss or hug to children.
Also, for the sake of your partners health, use protection during oral intimacy, as it can lead to the spread of the virus to the genitals and which can lead to serious medical complications.
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How Serious Is It
If 50 percent of the current adult population has oral herpes, your odds of having come into contact with the virus are fairly high. Though the disease may cause some discomfort, it is not very serious.
The CDC doesnt even recommend testing for herpes! They state, the risk of shaming and stigmatizing people outweighs the potential benefits. For these reasons, testing everyone for herpes is not recommended at this time.3
Is It A Cold Sore Or A Fever Blister
If you prefer to listen to this article, click on the SoundCloud player below.
Imagine this: You and your mother are having a heated discussion about whether the sudden appearance of a sore on your lip is a fever blister or a cold sore. You know you can win this battle, and you respond with an Ill-show-you retort: “Let’s ask Mr. Google,” you say. Both of you whip out your smart phones, and …a family crisis is averted. It turns out youre both right, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Case in point, this annoying sore is known by both names, and is caused by the virus “herpes simplex,” or oral herpes .
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What Are The Symptoms Of Cold Sores
Some people dont have any symptoms with the first attack others have flu-like symptoms and ulcers in and around the mouth. While each person may experience symptoms differently, these are the most common:
Tingling of the lips, commonly felt before cold sores appear
Small blisters on the lips and mouth that enlarge, burst, then crust over
Itching, dryness, and irritation of the lips and mouth
Soreness of the lips and mouth
Do’s And Don’ts For Faster Cold Sore Healing
Speeding up the cold sore healing process through medication like valacyclovir is only one side of the equation. The other, which is equally important, is making sure you dont slow accidentally down the healing process by making common cold sore mistakes:
Dont try to pop a cold sore as if it were a pimple. This just damages your skin and gives the virus fluid a chance to spread throughout your lips and mouth, increasing the risk of other cold sores developing.
The best approach is to leave your cold sore alone and let it heal, or use a cold sore patch from your local pharmacy to cover it up without breaking it open.
Dont touch a cold sore . The fluid from cold sores may spread to other parts of your body, making it possible to spread cold sores to your genitals or fingers through contact.
Dont have oral sex if you have a cold sore. Having oral sex with an open cold sore significantly increases your risk of transmitting genital herpes to your partner, making it best to avoid oral sex until the cold sore is healed.
Dont aggressively wash the cold sore with soap or facial wash. Oral herpes isnt caused by dirty skin or lips, meaning most soaps wont be effective.
Dont use more than the recommended dose of valacyclovir. A higher dose doesnt necessarily mean faster healing. Follow the dosage provided by your doctor for reliable, safe cold sore recovery.
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How Can I Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
If you have lots of herpes outbreaks, your doctor may tell you to take medicine every day this is called suppressive therapy. It can help prevent future herpes outbreaks, and lower your chances of giving herpes to your partners.
Whether or not you take medicine to treat herpes, taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress might help keep future outbreaks from popping up.
No one knows for sure what triggers genital herpes outbreaks. Other infections, surgery, sex, your period, skin irritations, and stress may cause outbreaks. Sunburns, injuries to your lips, or other infections can cause oral herpes flare-ups. Try to avoid getting sunburned if you have oral herpes.
Genital herpes outbreaks usually happen less often and become shorter and weaker after a few years whether or not you get treated.
Causes And Symptoms Of Fever Blisters And Cold Sores
Now, before you get fixated on the word “herpes,” you need to know that oral herpes is not the same as genital herpes . While both are contagious, your cold sores and fever blisters will usually show themselves in or around the mouth.
When a person first contracts the virus , the initial breakout will occur in a few days, and can be accompanied by a fever, sore throat, aches and pains, and a headache. Unfortunately, when youre feeling better after your first outbreak, the fun isnt over. The virus doesn’t leave your body: it simply remains dormant in your nerve cells. This means you can have reoccurrences throughout your life, because there’s no cure for HSV-1.
Fortunately, the reoccurrences won’t likely be as bad as the first one. The next cold sore will likely start off with a prickly or tingling and itchy feeling, small bumps in and around your mouth, and quickly turn into “fluid-filled blisters that rupture after a day or two.“
Following the burst of the blister, the fluid will ooze out, sometimes turning into a crusty covering and forming a scab over the open wound, which is tender to the touch, and can crack open. An outbreak, from the first initial tingle to the scab falling off, typically lasts from seven to 10 days.
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Who Is At Risk
Anyone can get oral herpes, and it has nothing to do with who you are as a person. Herpes is not a reflection on cleanliness or morals. Even babies being kissed by adults are at risk of HSV. There are, however, certain lifestyle choices that could put you at risk of being in the 50% of the population with oral herpes.
You are at a higher risk of contracting oral herpes if any of the following apply to you:
- You frequently kiss multiple partners
- You share drinks and/or food
- You perform unprotected oral sex
Exact Answer: 2 Weeks
The cold sores would go in 7 to 14 days. Oral herpes or cold sores would be small in size. The cold sores are quite painful blisters that may swell with time. Many people call cold sores fever blisters as they cause fever as a symptom.
The healing period of cold sores is not fixed, but people may get recovered in 2 weeks. The cold sores are contagious and this makes them more dangerous. There is no such specific treatment for cold sores, but the person can try healing them with certain remedies.
If the person would start using all the prescribed medication for the cold sores immediately after the symptoms are visible then the cold sores may go in a few weeks.
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