Herpies/Herpes Simplex Virus 1 or HSV-1 is the causative agent of oral herpies, which is among the most common of the viral infections in humans on a global basis. This DNA virus is present in a majority of adult humans, with the contact beginning as early as the time of birth through an infected mother. It manifests itself in the form of cold sores, which is among the most common sites for people the world over. However, an increased awareness about this virus and its mode of transmission can help in preventing it from infecting those that are still affected from this virus, as well as, the newborns.
HSV-1 causes cold sores to appear primarily in the oral region, which has endowed it with the epithet of oral herpies. However, the oral region is not the only part of the body that this virus usually infects. Even though an overwhelming majority of the reported cases of this infection occurs in the mouth, genital herpies caused by this virus is also quite widespread. In fact, the shift towards an increased prevalence of genital herpies caused by HSV-1 instead of HSV-2 occurs as one moves up the age group, which is because of the increased exposure of adults to oral-genital contact in the form of oral sex. Thus, deriving a thorough understanding of the causes of this infection can help in restricting its spread by raising awareness among the susceptible population groups.
How do you get Oral Herpies?
Herpies in mouth mostly occurs through contact with contaminated bodily fluids such as saliva or droplets that form in human breath. This contact can happen because of casual interactions such as eating together or sharing utensils, or more intimate forms of physical contact such as kissing. The virus enters the body through any cuts, gaps, or abrasions present on the outer skin surface in the body, and then multiply for two to three weeks to produce the classic symptoms of a primary infection. Later it moves inwards towards the spinal region where it seeks refuge in a mass of nerve cells termed as the dorsal root ganglion. Once the virus is able to enter the nerve cells and integrate itself, it goes beyond the reach of the antiviral medications, which makes it practically impossible to cure a person completely with oral herpies.
Reoccurring Oral Herpies:
The latent phase in the virus replication cycle does not produce any of the characteristic symptoms of mouth herpies. The virus is minimally infectious during this stage. However, certain factors can always trigger its reactivation, and this is what people infected with this virus experiences on a periodical basis. The triggering factors are many, and usually lead to an increase in the stress level in the infected individual that serves as a sign to the virus to go into a replication overdrive. These factors include exposure to sun, stress, intense physical activity, and menstruation periods among others. As soon as the virus reactivates, it leaves the nerve ganglion and migrates towards the skin surface, particularly in the oral region to cause the cold sores and lesions. The lesions occur because of the increase in the rate of replication of release of the viral particles from the infected cells. The virus achieves this by bursting the infected cells, and this leads to opening up of sores on the affected parts of the body.
Herpies on Lip Symptoms & Causes:
Going by the epithet of herpies on lip, one may believe that this virus causes sores and lesions on the lips only. However, it causes sores and lesions on the gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, and inside of the cheeks. The lesion can even appear on the skin surface in the face and neck regions. Moreover, this virus is the causative agent in a small minority of the reported cases of genital herpies lesions. The virus is particularly contagious during its active phase when it can pass from an infected individual to an uninfected person through causal actions such as sharing of toothbrushes, drinking glasses, and even food utensils. Moreover, a person involving in oral sex with another person showing visible signs of oral herpies is highly susceptible to getting infected with this virus.
Lip herpies proceed with the manifestation of the usual symptoms associated with the primary stage of such an infection such as fever, muscle ache, and fatigue, which takes around two weeks to appear from the time of infection.
The virus then slowly goes into the latent stage. When it becomes reactivated, the most common initial signs of this reactivation are a growing tingling, itching, burning, and even painful sensation in the parts of the body where the sores are likely to appear. Next, the blisters appear, mostly on the lips, tongue, gum, mouth palate, and even on the skin surface in the face and neck region.
The blisters contain a yellowish fluid, which oozes since the blisters break open easily to form gray ulcers with a red base. The open sores dry rapidly with the formation of yellow scabs or crust, which makes them look even yellower. These sores are the most painful during the onset of the infection when it can make eating and drinking difficult. Moreover, people down with this infection can also experience swollen lymph nodes, as well as, swollen and sometimes bleeding gums. Thus, herpies in mouth can cause quite a bit of distress in the oral region and in general. Finally, these lesions can appear in the genital region as well in cases of genital herpies/herpes caused by the HSV-1.
Oral Herpies (HSV-1) (Herpies of the Mouth)
Oral Herpies (HSV-1, Herpies Simplex Virus-1) Symptoms and Signs
Oral Herpies (HSV-1, Herpies Simplex Virus-1) Causes
Herpies Oral Symptoms