The common term for oral herpes is cold sores. A manifestation of oral herpes or cold sores are small blisters found inside your mouth or on your lips. Since this is a virus, cold sores can easily be transmitted and spread through direct contact, particularly when kissing or during oral sex.
Like many viruses, oral herpes becomes highly contagious when there is an outbreak. In this case, the virus herpes simplex 1 causes cold sore outbreaks. Indications of an outbreak start from a tingling sensation that comes and goes in a pattern, and a certain level of irritation is felt in the affected area. Rashes then develop around the area affected by the virus. These rashes start turning into blisters and later dry up and become scabs. Visible signs of the outbreak will be seen for about a week.
Though herpes simplex is considered a harmless virus to children and adults, it can be dangerous if found in a newborn. If you know you have the virus, exert extra efforts and precaution to avoid spreading it. Herpes simplex is not a dangerous disease, but it is not only contagious when you have an outbreak. It is also contagious while the virus reproduces, without possibly manifesting physical symptoms, and during the period before an outbreak.
Since viruses usually thrive when your body’s immune defense system is low, there is a higher likelihood of an outbreak if you suffer from other illnesses, are extremely stressed or very tired. It is recommended that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and exert effort to prevent an outbreak.
- Take enough rest and sleep at least 8 hours a day.
- Regularly exercise to reduce stress and keep your body fit.
- Eat healthy meals and practice healthy eating habits.
- Perform relaxation exercises to relieve tension and stress.
For people infected, you may have a sporadic outbreak of cold sores, but for most of your life they will be dormant. You will eventually be able to determine what may trigger an outbreak. Since it may be difficult for you to know if you are in a contagious period or not, to avoid spreading the virus, it is best to observe the following:
- Avoid any direct contact using your mouth, like kissing or oral sex.
- Keep your hands clean all the time and wash them regularly.
- Avoid sharing drinks, food and personal items.
- Do not touch the cold sores or the affected area during an outbreak.
- Use antiviral creams and solutions for treatment.
Since no herpes virus is curable, antiviral treatments are done to manage the frequency of the outbreaks and help treat the symptoms. Zovirax and Vectavir are the most common antiviral creams commonly used to treat oral herpes. The treatments not only reduce the risk of spreading the Herpes Simplex virus, but they also help reduce how long, severe, and frequent an outbreak may occur.
Preventing oral herpes is not easy. The herpes simplex virus stays in your system for a lifetime. Since it is not a harmful virus, it does not pose any danger or major complications to your health, but it may affect you socially and psychologically, whenever you have an outbreak. This also means that you need to avoid any direct contact using your mouth during your lifetime.
If you have oral herpes, consult a doctor for proper treatment and make sure that your partner is informed.