Herpes is a common viral condition that can affect different parts of the body, including the skin, mouth, and genitals. This disease is caused by different types of the herpes virus, and it affects millions of people around the world. But have you ever wondered whether herpes can also affect your tongue?
Read on to learn more about herpes, its causes, symptoms, and treatment at STDWatch.com.
Herpes on your tongue is just another manifestation of oral herpes, which is a viral disease caused by herpes simplex virus. Once the virus attaches to a cell in your body, it invades it and starts making more copies of itself. Herpes infections are lifelong, but they can be managed through treatment and lifestyle strategies.
There are two different herpes viruses that can cause herpes on the tongue: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each of these viruses is more commonly found in certain parts of the body:
It’s important to keep in mind that tongue herpes can be completely asymptomatic, just like any other type of herpes. In fact, a study published by The Journal of Infectious Diseases found that asymptomatic viral shedding has been recorded in 80 to 90 percent of those who test positive for herpes.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the symptoms of oral herpes can include:
If this is a new herpes infection, you could also develop some flu-like symptoms 2 to 12 days after being exposed to the virus. According to the Mayo Clinic, these initial symptoms can include:
There’s no way to treat and eliminate herpes from the body — herpes is considered to be a chronic viral infection. However, your doctor could prescribe oral or topical antiviral medications to prevent or minimize outbreaks. Sores and ulcers can also become infected, so you could also require oral or topical antibiotics during an outbreak.
Although herpes is an extremely common condition, there are certain steps that you can take to minimize your risk of getting it. According to Cedars Sinai, these tips can help you prevent a herpes infection:
You can still spread the herpes virus even if you’re completely asymptomatic, so it’s very important to get tested for herpes or dental dam during oral sex.
Thanks to at-home STD testing, you can now get tested for many different STDs — including herpes — from the comfort and privacy of your own home. After collecting your sample using the supplies provided in your kit, you will simply have to mail it back to the company and wait for the results. If you test positive for any STD, the testing company will also provide medical advice and assistance during the treatment process. You can learn more about at-home STD testing at STDWatch.com.