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Oral Herpes Infection

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is an oral herpes infection?

Oral herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV has 2 types. An oral HSV infection is usually caused by HSV type 1. HSV type 2 usually affects the genital area but may also affect the mouth.

What increases my risk for an oral HSV infection?

What are the signs and symptoms of an oral HSV infection?

You may not have any signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms that do develop may appear suddenly and last 5 days to 2 weeks. Blisters may form on your mouth, lips, or gums. The blisters may burst or join together to form large open sores. Sores on your lips or face will then dry up (crust over). You may also have any of the following:

How is an oral HSV infection diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your blisters or sores. Your provider may ask if you have other medical conditions. Tell your provider when the blisters or sores started, and about your other symptoms. You may need any of the following:

How is an oral HSV infection treated?

An HSV infection cannot be cured. The blisters usually heal on their own within 10 days. Blisters may go away and come back several times. An oral HSV infection that comes back is also known as a cold sore. You may need any of the following:

How can I manage my symptoms?

How can I prevent the spread of HSV?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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