Oral herpes, which is also known as mouth herpes is the most common manifestation of the virus. Most people are familiar with the occasional “fever blister” or “canker sore”. These little blisters and sores are often cast aside as a minor annoyance. A little over the counter ointment is dabbed onto them for the next few days until they disappear, and then as quickly as they appeared they are forgotten. In actuality, these are outbreaks of the herpes simplex one virus.
Some research has indicated that as many as 80% of all Americans are carriers of the virus that causes mouth herpes. The virus is easily transmitted between people by touching infected areas, which are not always visible, or by making contact with infected saliva. HSV-1 is usually contracted during childhood when it is difficult to stop curious children from touching other children and toys, as well as keeping them from putting unfamiliar objects into their mouths.
The herpes mouth virus causes outbreaks most frequently during the first few years after the initial contraction. From the moment that the first contraction of the virus occurs, the body starts to develop antibodies against the virus. Gradually the quantities of these antibodies increase and as this happens, the frequency of outbreaks decreases. For this reason, the blisters characteristic of mouth herpes are seen more often on children than adults. By the time most people who have HSV-1 reach adulthood, their body has developed enough antibodies to suppress nearly all potential outbreaks.
It is possible to contract mouth herpes as an adult, but it is uncommon. Many of the instances where this form of the virus was contracted in adulthood were as a result of oral sex. When this occurs, the person is usually infected with HSV-2, which is primarily found to be the virus which causes genital herpes. This herpes virus can be contracted orally and usually the oral outbreaks look and feel the same as outbreaks as a result of HSV-1.
When the virus affects the mouth herpes symptoms can be most often seen on the infected person’s lips. Although the lips are the most common place for an outbreak to occur, not all oral outbreaks occur just in this location. Some extreme cases of outbreaks extend down the person’s chin and neck. Other cases of herpes mouth have been known to affect the inside of the mouth, including the gums and inner cheeks. Blisters can also develop in a person’s throat.
Because the blisters caused by oral herpes are often disregarded as actual viral outbreaks, most people choose to treat their blisters and sores with over the counter ointments and creams. When persistent cases of herpes mouth occur, doctors can prescribe stronger treatments in the forms of oral medications and in some cases, injections. Still other people choose to treat their symptoms by using natural methods such as taking vitamins A, C, and Zinc supplements, as well as incorporating higher amounts of lysine into their diet.
If you notice sores or blisters anywhere on your body, make sure you consult your physician right away. The earlier you begin treatment, the better off you will be.