Knowing the mechanism of oral herpes transmission is a must if you want to protect yourself and your loved ones from the viral infection. It is true that the virus is highly contagious and unless you do something to stop its spread, you are at risk in acquiring the illness. According to statistics, the virus causing oral herpes infects millions of people. It affects people of all ages including very young children. In fact, most Americans will suffer from the infection before they become adolescents.
What is oral herpes?
Oral herpes, fever blister and cold sores refer to the same infection. They are caused by two types of virus, the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is the more common type and it is responsible for about 80% of the cases.
Oral Herpes Transmission
The transmission of the oral herpes virus is very easy. The organism moves from one individual to another through contaminated materials and contact with infected body fluids like the saliva. Kissing and sharing of eating utensils are the common ways by which another person acquires the infection. In children, they acquire the fever blister from their parents or guardians or by playing with infected toys. In adults, the virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact especially oral sex.
Three stages characterize the oral herpes. The first stage is called as the primary infection. This is when the virus infects the skin and mucous membrane and forms the blisters in the affected site. At this time, the virus replicates rapidly and fever develops. However, there are also individuals who remain asymptomatic during the early stages. But this does not mean that they are not capable of transmitting the infection. They can shed off the virus without them knowing it.
The next stage is the latency. The virus begins to move to a nerve and become inactive for an undefined period. It only “awakens” when the environment becomes conducive again for its activation.
The last stage is the recurrence. Here, the virus causes again the symptoms of herpes infection. For you, this is the second attack and reappearance of blisters. Stress, hormonal changes and immune depression are some of the causes of the stage 3 of oral herpes.