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Herpes on the tongue, also known as herpetic stomatitis, is caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), responsible for cold sores.
This infection is more common in women and is characterized by the presence of painful blisters on the tongue, accompanied by symptoms such as general malaise, fever and body aches.
Treatment is usually done with antivirals and analgesics to relieve symptoms, until the infection is fought off by the immune system.
Main signs and symptoms
Herpes on the tongue is characterized by the presence of vesicles, which can be present not only on the tongue but also in other regions of the mouth, such as the palate or gums.In a few days, these vesicles rupture and form shallow, irregular, clear and painful ulcers, covered by a grayish membrane, with the presence of tongue coating, which results from the difficulty in brushing, due to the pain. Ulcers on the lining of the mouth and throat can last from 7 to 14 days.
Other symptoms that may appear are:
- General malaise;
- Fever and chills;
- Body aches;
- Loss of appetite;
- Pain when swallowing;
- Excessive saliva production;
- Bleeding gums.
Although it only manifests itself in certain situations, the virus always remains with the person, in the trigeminal ganglion, in the latency phase. In certain situations, such as fever, trauma, exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet light, stress, AIDS and infections, the virus can reactivate and cause symptoms again.However, the first episode is the one that is usually the most serious.
How transmission occurs
The herpes simplex virus is transmitted by direct contact with virus-infected secretions, such as saliva (usually by kissing), droplets carried by coughing or sneezing, and the use of contaminated household items or dental instruments. Symptoms usually appear a week after contact with the virus.
Learn how to prevent the transmission of the herpes virus.
How the treatment is done
Treatment must be established by the doctor, after making the diagnosis of the disease. Generally, the doctor recommends the use of acyclovir, which works by reducing the intensity and frequency of recurrent attacks and, in some cases, may prescribe chlorhexidine, which helps to reduce the replication and cytolytic activity of the virus.
In some cases, the doctor may also prescribe analgesics, anti-inflammatories and antipyretics, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to control pain, discomfort and fever.
See also how to treat cold sores.