Symptoms of oral herpes

symptoms of genital herpes
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Herpes is a large family of viruses which cause diseases in both animals and humans. It comes from a Greek word meaning “creep” or “spread”, which is fitting as it’s a virus that is passed on from kissing or during sexual intercourse.

There are 9 types of viruses in this family that are known to spread diseases in humans. Two of them are:

  1. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) or Oral Herpes
  2. Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) or Genital Herpes

Symptoms of Oral Herpes

Oral Herpes transmitted through oral secretions and sores around the mouth. It can be transferred by kissing, even a casual peck on lips of someone with cold sores can transmit the infection, or by sharing things like toothbrushes and other eating utensils. It is important to know that both types of herpes simplex can spread even when there are no mouth sores.

The incubation period (the time between contact of virus and appearance of symptoms) of disease is 2 to 12 days, most commonly 4 days.

Symptoms of Oral Herpes

  • painful blisters on lips, tongue, mouth and palate, even inside cheeks.
  • pain, burning, tingling and itching appear at the site of infection before sore appears. After a few days they become dry and scabbed.
  • gums may become swollen with mild bleeding.
  • fever
  • malaise
  • neck lymph nodes swell up and get painful.
  • blisters

These are the most common symptoms but it’s not easy to distinguish between a bacterial infection or herpes simplex.

It is recommended to visit your health professional if you spot any of these symptoms. If your immunity is weak, especially in young children or elderly, this infection can lead to other serious complications.

Stages of Oral Herpes

  1. Primary infection
    During this stage virus enters into your body and starts reproducing. This is the active stage and you may develop mouth sores and fever. Sometimes infection remains asymptomatic and does not cause any symptoms.
  2. Latency
    The virus eventually reaches to the dorsal root ganglion in your spine where it reproduces and becomes inactive.
  3. Recurrence
    if you are suffering from stress or have a weak immunity, the virus can become active once again and cause new sores and blisters.

Featured photo by Asierromero

About Dr Abdullah Cheema 9 Articles
Doctor Abdullah Cheema is a Medical Doctor, nutritionist and wellness coach. He has a deep insight into all aspects of medical health, fitness and nutrition, and has published numerous ebooks and articles.


The content of this website is not intended to be taken as a replacement for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor, dietician, nutritionist or fitness instructor. If you experience any medical symptoms you should consult your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.