What is herpes gingivostomatitis?
Herpes gingivostomatitis is an infection of the mouth and lips that is caused by Herpes Simplex virus type I is a different kind of herpes virus than the kind that is sexually transmitted.
Herpes gingivostomatitis commonly present with mouth sores with fever in toddlers and young children (10 years of age with a peak incidence at 2-4 years of age). It is also seen in young adults, especially in more affluent communities (15 to 25 years of age).
Once an individual is infected, the virus spreads to regional mass of nerve tissue, where it remains latent but can be reactivated whenever conditions are appropriate (lack of antibody or immunocompromised condition).
How the diseases can be transmitted?
The infection is passed from person to person through contact with saliva that contains the virus (such as sharing utensils, cups, and bottles; thumb sucking; and putting toys in the mouth). Often the contact is with a person who has cold sores.
Herpes gingivostomatitis symptoms
- pain on eating and drinking
- high fever
- red and bleeding from gums
- mouth sores appears in on the lips, gums, tongue, and cheeks
- cervical gland enlargement
- dehydration due to refusal to eat or drink
- may involve the membranes of the eye, causing the keratoconjunctivitis
- in newborn infants or immunocompromised (with depressed immune system) adults, the infection may involve visceral organs (e.g., lungs, liver)
How long does it last?
The fever usually lasts for a few days, but the disease usually regresses spontaneously within 12 to 20 days). Sometimes,after the mouth sores heal, the virus remains in the body and can become active again. Ulcers that return on the lips are called “cold sores.”
How is it diagnosed?
This condition is common and can be recognized by healthcare provider without doing any special tests. Confirmation of the viral infection by laboratory methods is also available but not routinely used. However, it should be differentiate from other causes of mouth sores especially hand-foot-mouth disease, chickenpox, shingles and herpangina.
Herpes gingivostomatitis treatment
- Antipyretic agents are prescribed when fever is a symptom
- Mouth pain due to ulcers can be treated with medication; painkiller (analgesics) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- 0.2% Chlorrhexidine Mouthwash rinse can be used improved oral hygiene and mouth sores condition
- An antiviral medicine called acyclovir may help to kill the viruses and reduce formation of mouth sores
- Prevent dehydration by adequate fluid intake
- Take soft diet to reduce pain due to mouth ulcers
- To keep from spreading the virus, try to keep child’s hand away from his mouth while he has active sores.
- Tell the child not to rub his eyes to prevent infection