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Herpes On Tongue: How to Treat Your Symptoms

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Herpes On Tongue: How to Treat Your Symptoms

writtenByWritten by: Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer is a contributing health writer who has been researching and writing health content with PlushCare for 3 years. She is passionate about bringing accessible healthcare and mental health services to people everywhere.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Reviewer

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

March 23, 2021 Read Time - 2 minutes

Herpes can be a frustrating virus to deal with. There are two different types of the herpes virus which can affect various areas of your body. Since you can never be cured of the herpes virus, you must learn to deal with outbreaks when they occur. Let’s take a closer look at herpes and whether you can get herpes on your tongue.

Can You Get Herpes On Your Tongue?

While you may associate herpes type 1 with cold sores on your lips, it is possible to suffer from the symptoms of herpes on your tongue. This is referred to as oral herpes and usually affects more of your mouth than just your tongue. More than half of all adults in the United States are thought to have oral herpes.

Symptoms of Oral Herpes

Herpes on the tongue or anywhere around the mouth usually start about 2-12 days after getting the infection and last, on average, 7-10 days. Symptoms of cold sores may include:

  • Pain, itching, burning, or tingling before the appearance of a sore
  • Blisters which start as small, shallow, gray ulcers on a red base and then become crusted, scabbed, dry, and yellow
  • Sores may appear on the lips, gums, nose, front of the tongue, cheeks, throat, roof of the mouth, chin, or neck
  • Bleeding, swollen, red gums
  • Painful, swollen neck lymph nodes
  • A grayish coating on the tonsils and a sore throat with shallow ulcers

Herpes On Tongue Treatment

Once you have the herpes virus, you will always have it; there is no cure. Luckily, there are options for treating the symptoms of herpes. Some herpes treatments include:

  • Antiviral drugs which may be administered as pills, creams, or intravenously and can help speed up the healing process, like:
    • Acyclovir (Xerese, Zovirax)
    • Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
    • Famciclovir (Famvir)
    • Penciclovir (Denavir)
  • Home remedies and alternative medicine for herpes include:
    • Cold sore ointments like Docosanol (Abreva)
    • Zinc oxide cream or lip balm with sunblock to protect your lips
    • Applying a cool compress (like a cold, wet washcloth) to reduce redness, help remove crusting, and promote healing
    • Over the counter products such as pain relievers, creams with lidocaine or benzocaine, or remedies that contain a drying agent like alcohol
    • Drinking plenty of fluids
    • Lysine is an amino acid supplement that’s available as a pill or a cream
    • Rhubarb-sage cream for easing pain for perioral or skin sores

Experiencing symptoms of herpes virus? Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a prescription today.

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Mayo Clinic. Lidocaine (Topical Application Route). Accessed March 23, 2021 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/lidocaine-topical-application-route/description/drg-20072776 

NIH. National Library of Medicine. A randomized clinical trial on the treatment of oral herpes with topical zinc oxide/glycine. Accessed March 23, 2021 at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11347285/

NIH. National Library of Medicine. Combined herbal preparation for topical treatment of Herpes labialis. Accessed March 23, 2021 at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11799306/  

World Health Organization. Herpes simplex virus. Accessed March 23, 2021 at  https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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