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Oral herpes does not always show symptoms. When it does, it shows up as cold sores or fever blisters in the mouth or on or around the lips. The only way to confirm if you have HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 is to get tested. People infected with the herpes virus may experience itching, burning and tingling around the mouth and lips just before developing cold sores or fever blisters. Other symptoms to watch for include sore throat, fever, swollen glands and pain when swallowing.
The first sign of oral herpes usually appears between 2 to 12 days after initial exposure. This first outbreak may cause mild to severe blisters in or around the mouth, on the tongue or lips and lasts about 7-10 days. Consequent outbreaks may cause painful, but less severe, blisters and sores and can last up to 14 days.
Oral herpes outbreaks occur when several blisters come together to form a larger blister. Initial blisters are sometimes reddish and filled with clear yellowish fluid. These blisters may break and leak. When an outbreak occurs you might experience a tingling, burning or itching sensation around the mouth, lips and gums. Oral herpes blisters are painful sores that heal over time. As the blisters heal, they turn yellowish and crusty before finally turning into pink skin.
After the initial oral herpes infection, the herpes virus becomes dormant in the facial nerve tissues. The virus may reactivate at a later date and cause cold sores or fever blisters. Oral herpes cases suddenly and unexpectedly retrigger the virus causing new outbreaks. There is no cure for oral herpes, but there are antiviral treatments that help reduce outbreaks and the severity of the pain caused by cold sores.
Since there is no cure for HSV-1 or HSV-2, the oral herpes stays with you for life. Oral herpes can be treated with antiviral medications to help shorten outbreaks and lessen their symptoms. When someone contracts oral herpes, it stays dormant in the facial nerve tissues until it is triggered, causing an outbreak. Triggers or oral herpes may include fatigue, chemotherapy, steroids, menstruation, physical and/or emotional stress or trauma, and immunosuppression from diseases like HIV.
Yes, there is a difference between herpes’ cold sores and canker sores. Although the names sound similar to one another, a close examination will easily reveal their differences. While oral herpes and canker sores both affect the mouth, they are found in different areas.
Here are a few differences between oral herpes and canker sores: