Even though cold sores and fever blisters are widespread, herpes sores can be excruciating and unsightly.
The following article discusses the appearance and symptoms of herpes on the tongue and its causes and spread.
Additionally, we will discuss how you can treat and manage it (because it is an incurable condition) and what precautions you can take to prevent infection.
We're glad you're here to learn more so you can make informed health decisions.
In most cases, those who contract oral herpes experience mild or no symptoms.
However, people experiencing symptoms may find them extremely uncomfortable, especially when they appear in awkward places, like the tongue.
In such a case, it's called an "outbreak."
Symptoms of oral herpes usually appear in stages, as follows:
First-time outbreaks of oral herpes usually cause the most intense symptoms, and recurrent episodes are generally less troublesome.
Some symptoms are uncommon during recurrent outbreaks but usually occur before and during the first outbreak.
A few of these are:
In most cases, oral herpes is caused by herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1).
In addition, it can be caused by herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2), most commonly associated with genital herpes.
Several things can trigger an outbreak of oral herpes, resulting in painful sores on the tongue and lips, gums, roof of the mouth, and cheeks a few days after becoming infected with either virus.
Among the most common triggers are:
It's hard to distinguish between herpes and canker sores visually, but their symptoms are very different.
Canker sores, often in clusters, occur inside the mouth and are usually red with whitish centres.
It can be extremely uncomfortable to eat and drink when you have them.
The canker sore is not contagious and is a mouth ulcer, not a blister filled with fluid.
It is unclear what causes canker sores, but stress, hormone changes, food allergies, mouth injuries, immune system problems, and viral infections can all trigger them.
A canker sore is unlike a herpes sore because it occurs only inside the mouth and often appears on the tongue, inner lips, back of the throat, or inside the cheek.
Herpes sores and canker sores usually heal by themselves after two weeks, but they can be extremely painful as they do so.
Herpes virus type 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) cause oral herpes, both highly contagious.
In most cases, oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, while HSV-2 causes genital herpes.
A person with oral herpes usually spreads it by sharing saliva or contacting someone infected with HSV-1.
Contracting this disease by kissing, touching, or sharing personal objects with an infected person, such as towels, makeup, and utensils is possible.
Herpes on the tongue can be effectively treated with many options available today.
Treatment options typically recommended by your doctor include:
By practising proper hygiene, you can ensure that the virus doesn't spread to other parts of your body, and you can treat any symptoms you may experience. Herpes on the tongue is highly uncomfortable and often difficult to treat since the tongue contains muscles that are frequently used. You should avoid spicy or salty foods if you have sores on your tongue and choose excellent, soft, nutritious foods instead. Despite the pain of drinking, it's important not to become dehydrated. Sip small amounts of cool water frequently with a straw, if necessary, throughout the day. After a breakout, change or sanitise your toothbrush, as herpes can survive for many days.
To soothe your sores, you can take several over-the-counter pain relievers. In addition to oral pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, your pharmacy should also carry topical creams and ointments. These topical medications are best applied to prevent an outbreak from spreading as soon as you notice one coming. It is always a good idea to ask your pharmacist or provider if you have any questions about using an OTC medication inside your mouth.
Your doctor may prescribe a topical and/or oral medication if proper hygiene and over-the-counter medications don't alleviate your symptoms. Anti-herpes medications (such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir) can be effective if taken at the first sign of an outbreak. You may also need to take antiviral medication daily if you experience recurrent episodes. This can significantly reduce the risk of an outbreak and spreading the infection.
You can keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy regardless of whether you have herpes or know someone who does.
To reduce your risk of experiencing future outbreaks of herpes on the tongue if you have already been diagnosed with herpes and have experienced herpes on the tongue in the past, take the following precautions:
The following precautions should be taken if you have never been diagnosed with oral herpes:
Generally, tongue herpes heals independently after a few weeks without medical treatment.
A doctor should, however, be consulted in certain situations.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, see a medical professional immediately:
Is it possible to mistake herpes on the tongue for something else?
Herpes sores on the tongue often appear red with yellow or white centres, similar to canker sores. Herpes sores and canker sores are both painful, but there is a significant difference between the two, the most crucial being that herpes sores are contagious.
Mobi Doctor offers online urgent care.