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Oral Herpes (cont.)

What Are Oral Herpes (HSV-1, Herpes Simplex Virus-1) Risk Factors?

Unfortunately, everyone is at risk to get HSV-1 infection. The majority of children between 6 months to 3 years of age are exposed to HSV-1 simply by contact with other humans. By 14-49 years of age, about 60% of the population has been infected, and by age 60, about 80%-85% of the population has been infected with HSV-1.

What Are Oral Herpes (HSV-1, Herpes Simplex Virus-1) Symptoms and Signs?

  • Incubation period: For HSV-1, the amount of time between contact with the virus and the appearance of symptoms, the incubation period, is two to 12 days. Most people average about three to six days.
  • Duration of illness: Signs and symptoms will last two to three weeks (healing time). Fever, tiredness, muscle aches, and irritability may occur.
    • Pain, sore lips, burning sensation, tingling, or itching occurs at the infection site before the sores appear. These are the early symptoms (prodrome). Sometimes these symptoms happen prior to the appearance of sores, bumps, pimple-like lesions, or blisters (herpes or herpetic stomatitis). Thereafter, clusters or groups of painful blisters (also termed fever blisters) or vesicles erupt or ooze with a clear to yellowish fluid that may develop into a yellowish crust. These blisters break down rapidly and appear as tiny, shallow gray ulcers on a red base. Fever blisters are smaller than canker sores. A few days later, they become crusted or scabbed and appear drier and more yellow.
    • Oral sores: The most intense pain caused by these sores occurs at the onset and can make eating and drinking difficult.
      • The sores can occur on the lips, gums, throat (causing a sore throat), the front of or under the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, and the roof of the mouth.
      • They can also extend down the chin and neck.
      • The gums can become mildly swollen, red-colored, and may bleed.
      • Neck lymph nodes often swell and become painful.
      • People in their teens and 20s can develop a painful throat with shallow ulcers and a grayish coating on the tonsils.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2016

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