Once in a while, your tongue might develop a blister or bump which might feel painful and annoying, but nothing beyond that.
Then again, this could turn out to be Herpes on Tongue- an oral infection that’s common in many adults in the US.
With that said, you’d want to arm yourself with some vital details about this information- like symptoms, how its transmitted, treatment/cure, and prevention methods, etc.
In this post, I’ll enlighten you on these details and many about this infection.
Let’s begin right away…
WHAT IS HERPES ON TONGUE?
Herpes on tongue refers to what the name just says- the presence of herpes on your tongue.
Just like any other form of oral herpes, this infection is caused by Herpes simplex virus 1 (and sometimes herpes simplex virus 2). It only differs from other herpes in that it appears on your tongue and not around your mouth or lips.
The sores/blister resulting from herpes are little and pimple-like in appearance. They usually rapture to form painful ulcers that you discomforts and pains- even when drinking or easting.
It’s also important to note that herpes blisters usually have a distinctive appearance which makes it easy for doctors to identify and diagnose.
Important NOTE: Anyone can get herpes on the tongue- from infants to older people. However, most people will get this infection between the ages 15 to 20 years.
HOW IS TONGUE HERPES TRANSMITTED?
The easiest way to get infected with this virus is coming into contact with an already affected person. This can be through their saliva, skin (including a broke skin), and mucous membrane- all of which are loaded with the active viruses that are sure to plant herpes on your tongue!
But that’s not all;
According to the American Sexual Health Association, most people contract this deadly virus when they’re still kids- when they receive a kiss from their relatives or family friends.
Some adults contract it from intimate contacts.
Some might even contact the virus through contact with items such as toothbrushes or silverware from infected people.
Keep in mind that genital herpes can’t cause oral herpes because it’s caused by a different virus- the herpes simplex 2, and vice versa.
The virus becomes contagious during the early stages of blister formation. You’d, therefore, want to avoid any intimate contact right from the time of outbreak until it comes to an end.
Taking preventive measures in the first place will keep you safe from this infection (we’ll discuss how to prevent it later on).
TONGUE HERPES- SYMPTOMS
Tongue herpes related signs and symptoms aren’t many and tend to vary from case to case.
With that said, the primary sign to look for is the presence of sores on your tongue (but again, not all lesions are associated with herpes on tongue).
Here’s the list of other critical symptoms of herpes on tongue:
- Malaise or the general feeling of uneasiness or discomfort is one the first signs of an active infection on your tongue
- Herpes on tongue, like most infection, also causes your body to react by raising its temperature above the normal range (fever) as a way of indicating you have an active infection and to maintain the body function
- Itching and burnings on your tongue might also show up, even before the development of the sores, and later turn into a cluster of blisters.
- Sores will also occur in any area of your mouth- from the tooth of your mouth, inside the cheeks, on the tongue, lips, and gums. Since they cause salivary glands to swell, they’re responsible for the pain and discomforts you suffer when having this infection.
They can even cause the lymph nodes on your neck to become swollen, adding more pain to your body.
- Other signs associated with tongue herpes include irritability, tiredness, and bleeding gums, and muscle aches.
Herpes on tongue symptoms usually persists until the outbreak subsides.
NOTE: about a third of folks who contract this oral infection tend to develop the above symptoms right after infection while the other two thirds might not experience an initial outbreak (or any symptoms).
Expert medical practitioners refer to this scenario as asymptomatic infection.
And this brings us to our next sub-topic below…
TONGUE HERPES- STAGES
The virus responsible for herpes on tongue has three stages as described below:
1. Initial infection: the virus enters your skin, mucous membrane and starts reproducing. You can develop all the infection symptoms in this stage or none.
2. Dormancy: the virus spends most of its time in your body in inactive form. It, however, moves to your spine where it continues reproducing.
3. Reactivation: the virus might switch to an active state due to triggers like emotional, mental or physical stress. For instance- a cold might result in “cold sore” outbreak.
Some pope might get this virus at a very young age and never experience a single outbreak.
TONGUE HERPES VS. CANKER SORES
As I told you at the beginning of this post, not all blisters translate to herpes on tongue infection.
So, before rushing to your doctor, read this part to see if the blisters on your tongue stem from tongue herpes or canker sores.
Canker sores are also notorious for forming blisters on your tongue. They result from something, anything irritating your mouth. Sadly, people mistake them for herpes on tongue.
Some common causes of canker sores include taking spicy or acidic foods, the highly processed sugars in candy, hormones, vitamins deficiency, and stress.
If you overuse your tongue against a hard surface, e.g., your teeth, you’re also sure to develop canker sores.
While canker sores heal on their own after getting rid of the irritant, tongue herpes requires some special care and treatment to heal…
HOW TO CARE FOR TONGUE HERPES
For mild cases of tongue herpes, you’d want to do some self-care or treatment instead of spending your time and money at your doctor’s office.
In that case, below are some crucial tips on how to care for this conditions:
- Taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can work on symptoms like mild fever and muscle pains
- Gargling your mouth with a medicated mouthwash will kill germs and help heal the blisters faster; alternatively, you can rinse with salt water and expect the same results.
- Avoid taking too hot, spicy, salty, acidic and citrus foods and drinks
- Avoid getting contact with your blisters as this cause the infection to spread to other areas of your body as well
- Taking plenty of fluids- preferably water- will prevent dehydration of your mouth, which can cause your blisters to crack and cause you more pain
Although these simple home remedies will significantly help lessen the symptom and end your pain, I recommend you to visit your doctor when the conditions become unmanageable.
WHEN TO VISIT A DOCTOR?
At some stage- say when the sores have already erupted- herpes on tongue, high get out of hand, and the simple home remedies I’ve recommended above might not be of much help.
At this point, you’re only left with the option of seeking professional medical help.
These are telltale signs that your conditions need a doctor ASAP:
- A dry mouth: If you suspect you have tongue herpes and then experience dry mouth, you must call the doctor immediately to give you the necessary measures to keep off dehydration.
- Irritability: herpes on tongue causing irritability is a simple way of saying that the virus in your body is in an active state and you can easily transmit to other people. Call the doctor if you really care about the people close to you.
- A decrease in urination: this is closely related to the dehydration symptom as your body is trying to conserve as much fluids as possible. Drinking lots of water won’t help much here, so it’s advisable to seek professional medical help.
- Drowsiness: active herpes on tongue infection will make you feel sleepy most of the times. If you experience this alongside blister formation, seek medical advice.
In your doctor’s hands, you’re in the right hands. They’ll examine your situation and give you the proper treatment. This could be some prescription medicine to help reduce the outbreaks frequency, lessen the pain and outbreaks duration, etc.
NOTE: There’s no cure for herpes on tongue.
Herpes on tongue is a common condition across the globe- with half of the US adults’ population having this infection. The primary sign of this oral infection involves blisters on tongue which might cause pain and discomforts and make eating and drinking, and brushing challenging.
If you suspect you have herpes on tongue right now, I strongly advise you to visit your medical doctor immediately for professional help.
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