We are experiencing exceptionally high volumes in our emergency rooms.
Every patient is important to us, and we are doing all we can to provide care quickly and efficiently.
Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

A to Z: Herpes Simplex 1

May also be called: HSV1; HSV-1; Oral Herpes; Mouth Herpes; Herpes Simplex Labialis; Herpes Labialis

Herpes simplex 1 is a type of herpesvirus that usually causes oral herpes or cold sores around the mouth, face, or nose.

More to Know

There are several kinds of herpesviruses that can cause blisters and pain in various parts of the body. Usually, herpes simplex 1 (HSV1) causes cold sores of the mouth or face, and herpes simplex 2 (HSV2) causes lesions in the genital area, resulting in genital herpes. But sometimes, HSV1 can cause genital lesions as well. HSV1 is contagious and often spreads through kissing or sharing eating utensils with an infected person.

Cold sores caused by HSV1 first form blisters on the lips and inside the mouth. The blisters then become sores. In some cases, the gums become red and swollen. In other cases, the virus also leads to a fever, muscle aches, eating difficulties, a general ill feeling, irritability, and swollen neck glands. These symptoms can last up to 2 weeks.

After someone is initially infected, the virus can lie dormant without causing any symptoms. But it can reactivate later, typically after some sort of stress like a cold, an infection, hormonal changes, or menstrual periods. Cold sores from HSV1 usually go away on their own within 5 to 7 days.

Keep in Mind

There is no cure for HSV1, but treatments are available that can shorten the length of an outbreak and make cold sores less painful. To reduce the risk of an outbreak, always apply sunscreen and lip balm when outdoors, and avoid stress and other illnesses as much as possible.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.