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Herpes, Oral

When to call the doctor

Because the sores are painful, you may have difficulty eating or drinking. To prevent dehydration, call your doctor as soon as you cannot eat or drink.

Call your doctor immediately if any of these symptoms, which suggest dehydration, occur:

  • A decrease in urination (fewer wet diapers in infants)
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth

Call your doctor if you or your children are not sure what the sores are.

If your child is younger than 6 weeks, notify your doctor when sores appear. Severe infection or disease complications occur more commonly in infants. For instance, besides affecting the mouth, the herpes simplex virus may go to the brain and produce damage.

People whose immune systems are weakened should also call their doctor when sores appear. Your immune system protects you from infection or fights infection. If your system is weakened, you are more likely to have severe infection or disease complication.


When to go to the hospital

Signs and symptoms of dehydration may warrant going to a hospital's emergency department.

Self-Care at Home
  • Use acetaminophen (Fever all, Pando, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Excedrin, Iberian, Advil, Motrin) for fever and muscle aches.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration

Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Use pain medications as instructed by the doctor.
  • Use medications to control fever.
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of dehydration.

Avoid touching saliva, skin, or mucous membranes that have sores.


The sores and symptoms of oral herpes completely clear up in 2-3 weeks. But the sores may reappear under certain stressful situations.


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