Because most adults have oral herpes, we do not advise that a person stop giving or receiving affection altogether between outbreaks (when there are no signs or symptoms) simply because they have oral herpes. Most commonly, herpes type 1 causes sores around the mouth and lips (sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores). In general, a person can only get herpes type 2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Oral herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Mouth sores most commonly occur in children aged 1-2 years, but they can affect people at any age and any time of the year. Because the virus is highly contagious, most people have been infected before adulthood.
A lesion caused by herpes simplex can occur in the corner of the mouth and be mistaken for angular cheilitis of another cause. HSV-1 can in rare cases be transmitted to newborn babies by family members or hospital staff who have cold sores; this can cause a severe disease called neonatal herpes simplex. Most new cases of genital herpes infection do not cause symptoms, and many people infected with HSV-2 are unaware that they have genital herpes. Oral herpes is easily spread by direct exposure to saliva or even from droplets in breath. Pregnant women who have genital herpes due to either herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) or herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) have an increased risk for miscarriage, premature labor, inhibited fetal growth, or transmission of the herpes infection to the infant either in the uterus or at the time of delivery. HSV is very contagious and can be spread by direct contact with sores and sometimes by contact with the oral and genital areas of people who have chronic HSV infection even when no sores are can be seen.
When they do, oral herpes symptoms include blisters and sores around the mouth and lips. People suffering from Herpes-1 may also experience itching, burning or tingling around the mouth or lips. 20-40 of young adults who are seropositive for HSV-1 have recurrent cold sores. Infection with HSV can cause pain and blistering within the mouth (gingivostomatitis or recurrent oral ulceration) or on or around the lips (cold sores or herpes labialis). Maybe you’ve heard of a fever blister a cold sore is the same thing. They can sometimes be inside the mouth, on the face, or even inside or on the nose.
Herpes simplex viruses can involve the brain and its lining to cause encephalitis and meningitis. As with the oral sores, someone with genital herpes may have repeated outbreaks over a lifetime.