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What are viral oral infections?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Viral oral infections are diseases of the mouth that are caused by viruses. People with viral oral infections get them from coming into contact with an infected person, their nasal and throat secretions (through sneezing and coughing), feces (through inadequate hygiene) or contact with contaminated objects. Some of the most common of these infections include infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus, human papilloma virus and hand, foot and mouth disease. One of the most common symptoms of viral oral infections is the appearance of sores on the mouth, as well as itching, pain or other discomfort associated with the sores. Viral oral infections are treated with pain relief measures, topical medications for sores and sometimes antiviral medications. Some oral viral infections may be prevented with vaccines—these would include mumps, measles and rubella.

Oral viral infections are those that have an established viral cause. Acute chickenpox, recurrent chickenpox (zoster), measles, mumps, primary herpes, recurrent herpes and hand-foot-mouth disease are all cause by viruses and have an oral manifestation. While all of these have an acute stage which is usually associated with superficial oral ulcers or sores, chickenpox may have a recurrent form (sores known as zoster). The recurrent form of herpes only occurs on the skin-lip juncture (fever blister).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.