Throat Herpes

All About Throat Herpes

If you or someone you know has suffered from throat herpes, then you know exactly what this condition can do to you.  Approximately 80% of people in the United States have some form of the herpes virus, which makes it the most widespread virus in the country. Most of the time, herpes is relatively harmless and does not result in permanent damage.  Still, herpes – particularly throat herpes – can be very painful and unpleasant. This article will discuss throat herpes and will offer suggestions for how you can potentially manage this condition.


The herpes virus, as mentioned above, is the most widespread virus in the country.  The full name for this condition is herpes simplex virus, or HSV.  Within the herpes family are two different viruses: what is known as herpes simplex I (HSV-1) and what is known as herpes simplex II (HSV-2).  It is the first type of herpes that most commonly affects the throat.

The virus itself is transmitted by contact with bodily fluids. The most common means of transferring herpes to another person is through oral contact, like kissing. The saliva transference allows the herpes virus to spread. Note that the person does not have to currently have sores to pass on the virus, although it is more likely for transference to occur if the person is currently experiencing an outbreak. Once in the body, the herpes virus will stay there and be mostly dormant, recurring every now and then on an irregular basis.  When these flare-ups occur, sores appear that are frequently painful and always uncomfortable and unwanted. Within two days the blisters will usually open; 5-8 days later, the scabs that formed over the sores will heal and disappear. This is basically what the herpes virus will do.

As you can probably imagine, throat herpes is quite a bit more painful than the cold sores you get on your lips.  The main reason is because those sores on your pharynx (back of your throat) are aggravated every time you swallow, which makes eating very painful. In rare cases, this infection can even result in difficulty with breathing – although for the vast majority of cases, no throat complications are experienced. Still, these sores can be an annoyance – and usually reoccur anywhere from two to four times a year.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for any kind of herpes. Once you obtain the virus through contact with an infected person, the virus enters what we call the nerve ganglions (the nerves around the spine).  It then resides there to pop up every now and then. Fortunately, the follow-on outbreaks are typically not as severe as that first outbreak, and tend to diminish to a level that is tolerable for most people.  Still, there are things you can do to help prevent your obtaining this virus, since that is often the best way to avoid it.

For starters, never share your toothbrush or any other oral hygiene product with anyone. That is a very bad idea for a multitude of reasons that include but are not limited to throat herpes. Also, avoid kissing or coming into other forms of bodily contact (such as intercourse) with someone who is currently experiencing an outbreak of herpes (as evidenced by sores on the lips or the inside of the mouth).  While you can still get herpes even though there is no outbreak at the time, as mentioned above, the chances greatly increase if there are sores present on the person you are kissing. Washing your hands regularly also helps, for herpes and a myriad of other diseases.

To treat this condition, you can see a doctor and get prescribed antivirals, which will not cure the disease but will mitigate its effects. Examples of these include Acyclovir (Zovirex) and Valtrex. Denavir cream is also potentially helpful. The best overall course of action is to consult your physician and see what he or she can do to help you deal with and treat your throat herpes as soon as possible, before another outbreak occurs.