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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is oral herpes?

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  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Glenn Ortega

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Oral herpes is also known as “cold sores” commonly affecting the lips and oral mucosa. This is caused by a viral infection called Herpes Simplex virus.

  • Oral herpes is the result of infection with the Herpes Simplex virus in the mouth or on the lips.

    The most common presentation is as 'cold sores' where blisters form on the dge of the lips and breakdown into an ulcer before healing. Infection with the herpes simplex virus is actually very common, and unfortuneately once infected, the virus remains in your body for life, occasionally reappearing as another outbreak of cold sores.

    Oral herpes can also sometimes affect young children who become infected innocently through contact with their parents or other childrens saliva. In this case, the ulcers appear inside the mouth and the gums become quite inflammed. This infection can be quite painful and distressing for the child, but will resolve in 1-2w.

    Treatment with antiviral medication is only of limited effectiveness, and needs to be taken in the first day or two of infection to have an impact.

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