So, there’s a bump on your tongue and you’re wondering how to get rid of it.
Well, the first thing you should know is that those annoying sores that you get inside your mouth, especially the tongue, is no cause for you to worry. Sure, they could be highly irritating and even painful at times, but tongue sores are nothing serious.
On the other hand, there’s also oral herpes. Otherwise known as tongue herpes, these sores are different from your regular bump, but are still not at all that serious. Yes, today’s world has made herpes such a target for discrimination, treating people who have it like some sort of bogeymen, but that’s only because movies, TV, and all those opportunistic pharmaceutical companies are trying to come up with a way to shill their wares.
We’re going to tell you right now: herpes is as common as the occasional rash you get from fabrics; it’s not much cause for alarm.
In truth, half the adult population of the United States of America alone has this overly mocked virus. In any case, allow us here at Beautisdom to help you understand everything you need to know about oral herpes so that perhaps you can become enlightened to how exaggerated the media and pharmaceutical companies could be.
It may sound more off-putting than it actually is (and it is), so let’s first find out what all the fuss about this virus is about.
Oral herpes is an infection that comes from the HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex-1 Virus), which causes blisters to form in and around the mouth. Most commonly, oral herpes appears on the lips, but your gums, cheeks and your mouth’s roof can also have these.
You can also distinguish them from ordinary sores and blisters, which makes them easy for medical experts to identify and counter. However, you should know that the HSV-1 doesn’t always result in mouth blisters, as it could manifest in different ways.
Depending on the person, oral herpes can appear in different degrees of severity. At its most common, an outbreak of blisters will appear from 1 to 3 weeks after a person has contracted the HSV-1. There are even cases where it takes less than a week for these irritating sores to appear.
And, if you’re wondering how long it takes before they disappear, then the answer to that is about three weeks.
The blisters that appear because of oral herpes are cold sores, meaning that “herpes” points to the virus and not the symptoms (that’s the aforementioned cold sore). These usually appear around the lips, particularly between the upper lip and the nose, or even go so far as the inside of the nose or as low as the chin or neck.
You can find out if you’re about to have an outbreak, too. A few days before the blisters appear, you’re going to feel a burning sensation and itchiness around the area that’s infected. Apart from that, here are a few more telltale signs:
- you can even get a fever
- your gums may bleed
- you’ll have muscle aches
- You can have sore throat
Now, those may seem overwhelming, and we won’t blame you for thinking so. But, believe us when we say that this is nothing compared to other viruses. The thing is, herpes is one of the mildest viruses out there.
More often than not, the symptoms we just mentioned will continue until the outbreak has fully passed. About 2/3 of oral herpes cases exhibit these signs.
However, there are those unusual cases where a person may have the virus but not show any symptoms at all. This is called an asymptomatic infection and is made possible by various factors, such as the person’s constitution and the particular type of HPV-1 he or she contracted.
Oral herpes cannot be removed from a person once it’s contracted, so there’s no known cure for it. However, that is no cause for alarm, since the virus goes through cycles of remission, which makes it practically inert.
The Stages of Oral Herpes
There are a couple of ways to see how the HPV-1 affects a person. Let’s start with how a host first contracts the virus.
This is the stage where the various initially enters its host (you) through the skin and settles in the mucous membrane. Afterwards, it reproduces. Now, you can show symptoms here, but it’s not always the case.
Also known as the inactive stage, the HPV-1 travels to your spine and reproduces some more.
Once the HPV-1 has settled in, it may or may not cause an outbreak. In cases where an initial outbreak after contracting the virus has occurred, it will remain dormant until something triggers it, which is usually due to emotional, physical, or mental stress.
Take note that even children may contract the HPV-1. Additionally, having the HPV-1 does not necessarily mean that you’re going to have an outbreak; there are cases where people go through their whole lives not having one.
On the other hand, for people that experience reactivation, here’s what you’ll expect:
- Prodrome Stage: This happens during the first couple of days. Here, you’ll feel an itchy, tingly, or tight sensation in the area where the blisters will eventually appear.
- Inflammation: This happens for about 1 to 2 days and is the point when blisters will start forming. However, immediate medication can counter this in some cases.
- Formation Stage: Lasting a couple of days at most, the blisters will fully appear.
- Ulceration: This lasts a single day and is when the blisters start to pop and release fluid. Be careful, since HPV-1’s contagiousness may cause other people to contract the virus at this point.
- Scabs: From anywhere between 3 and 5 days, the skin will start to form a dry crust. This gets irritating and even painful, so be sure to moisturize it with a prescribed ointment
- Healing stage: Finally, for another 3 to 5 days, the crusted skin will begin to fall off and heal. At this point, the HPV-1 is dormant again.
All in all, you should expect a couple of weeks for a whole outbreak to go through its cycle.
How to Take Care of Herpes Outbreaks
Despite not having a definite cure that can eradicate the virus from its host, there are a lot of treatments to help you go through an outbreak easier and keep the virus dormant. Most importantly, what you have to focus on is preventing the virus from spreading to other hosts.
To do so, just keep in mind that the virus transmits via the saliva and mucous membranes. In more severe cases, skin contact can spread it, too (but that’s only if it’s not dormant at a given point in time).
You might be surprised, but a lot of children contract HPV-1 from kisses and contact with adult family members, and this is because the younger a person is, the weaker its immune system.
This means that you form a sturdier defense against contracting HPV-1 if you’re an adult, so physical contact – or, specifically, intimate physical contact – with people carrying a dormant HPV-1 shouldn’t be a problem.
What you absolutely have to know to dispel any misled notions about HPV-1 or oral herpes is that it is worlds apart from HPV-2, also known as genital herpes. They are completely different from each other, so that means you can’t get oral herpes from someone that has genital herpes and vice-versa.
Whatever the case may be, just keep in mind that with the right care and medication, you can ease up the whole experience.