Herpes inside mouth is a form of infection caused by herpes simplex virus. The virus affects humans at any age but mostly in children under the age of 1 to 2 years old. The most common symptoms are painful sores occur on the tongue, gums, lips, inside of cheeks, and other places in the mouth, fever, and muscle aches. The virus is contagious. It spreads through physical skin contact, infected saliva, and touching mucous membranes.
Herpes in Mouth Stages
There are three stages of herpes infection. First, the virus enters your body through mucous membrane and skin. This is the primary or first stage of herpes infection where during the stage a person may get fewer, sores, and other symptoms. However, some people do not notice these symptoms. Even, sores and other symptoms do not always develop in the early stage. In this case, this infection is called asymptomatic meaning that it may not cause any symptoms and sore. After you get infected by the virus, it starts to affect the tissue nerves in your spine. It reproduces again but then becomes inactive. The virus becomes active again whenever you get stressed.
After the virus enters your body, you will not directly feel the symptoms. It typically needs about 2 to 12 days for the virus to be in the incubation period. Usually, the symptoms appear after 3 to 4 days and they will last approximately for a couple of weeks. During these two weeks, you may get a fever, feel tired, and have muscle aches. Sores also appear at the infection site together with pain, itching, and burning sensation, followed by the eruption of clusters of blisters. The blisters quickly break down and get scabbed and yellow.
The sores caused by the infection are so painful that affect eating and speaking. Not only do the sores occur in the mouth area, they also spread to neck and chin. The gums may get bleeding or at least swollen. In teenagers or young adults, a herpes infection can cause severe pain along the throat. The pain can make you reluctant to eat and drink. It may lead to dehydration. Therefore, seeking medical care when you get dehydrated and feel the pain and other symptoms is necessary. In infants, dehydration can be recognized by urination decrease, dry mouth, and drowsiness. It is very important to call your doctor right away if the symptoms occur in your baby especially if she is still less than three months because the infection can extend down to the brain. Another special attention should also be given to those who have a weak immune system as they have a higher risk of developing a severe complication.
Doctors will perform physical examinations and tests and gain information from the patients as the base to make a diagnosis. Usually, doctors will just see the characteristics of herpes sore that appear. In the cases of herpes complication that already affect other organs, further testing is required. The tests may include staining test, laboratory test from a sore sample, culture analysis, and blood sampling.