Cold Sore on Tongue: Causes, Get Rid, Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures

What causes cold sore on tongue? Get more insight on symptoms, how to get rid of and the treatment.

Can you get a Cold Sore on your Tongue?

Is it possible to get a cold sore on tongue? The answer is yes you can get a cold sore on your tongue and the condition is commonly known as tongue herpes. Oral herpes will usually affect your tongue and other part of the mouth.
It is normal to get one bump or tiny blister on the tongue once in a while. It can be bothersome when having painful sores on your tongue that keep on coming every now and then. This can be so annoying when the sores in the mouth do not go away faster.
A cold sore on tongue comes as a result of having herpes virus in the entire mouth. The infection is caused by herpes simples virus type 1 (HSV-1) or by herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2).
Other than attacking your tongue, cold sore can appear on the lips, cheeks, roof of the mouth and on nostrils. Throat is another part that is very sensitive to cold sore infection and some sores can also appear on it.

Development of cold sore on your tongue

The virus that causes tongue herpes can be looked in two different developmental stages. Herpes virus is said to have three phases:

  1. At infection

At infection, the active virus enters your skin and passes to nerve system and they replicate. The virus multiplies to colonize the infected area by increasing their numbers. At this stage you may develop no symptoms of herpes infection.

  1. Dormancy:

The virus remains inactive for some times. It moves to ganglia in your spinal cord and continues to replicate. During this phase your body will not show any symptoms of the virus.

  1. Reactivation

The virus inside your body system becomes activated once again due to presence of triggers like fatigue, stress, fever, exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and also weakened body defense mechanisms.
The active herpes virus move to the skin of the mouth to cause cold sores to appear. Tongue being part of the mouth also will be affected by the presence of active virus that lead to development of blisters.
After the infection of Cold sore on tongue, the blisters will appear by going through five stages, it is important to learn the stages that your blister will go through.
Stage 1: tingling phase
Tightening and tingling is felt on your tongue. Burning sensation is also common in the affected area on the tongue. During these phase, irritation of the tongue is more and you can easily tell the parts on the tongue that are about to develop a cold sore.
During this time the HSV-1 virus are very active to cause the blisters to come out on the tongue. The virus at this time keeps on reproducing under the skin ready to cause cold sore on tongue.
Stage 2: inflammation and blister formation
The surface of the tongue develops tiny blisters. The blisters on the tongue get inflamed and become fluid-filled. The skin under the lesion turns red.
The lesions are usually tiny but can be in clusters. The outbreak can attack one or multiple point on the surface of the tongue. The blisters will appear on the mouth depending on the body immune system. Individual with weakened immunes system are likely to get more blisters on the tongue.
Stage 3: ulceration
Ulceration phase also called weeping stage of the blisters. The cold sore on tongue burst to release a fluid. The fluid that comes out the sores is very dangerous because it contain active HSV-1 virus that can spread to other people.
Weeping stage is highly contagious and at this moment the patient should be very careful to minimize the spread of the infection. Kissing at this stage can spread the virus to next person.
Open sores on the tongue turn red to greyish ulcers making it very painful. Cold sore on tongue sometimes cause more discomfort and can result to difficulties when eating food. Painkiller drugs can be taken to reduce the pain on the tongue.
Stage 4: scabbing
Blisters on the tongue crust over into yellow deposit. The blisters may also harden into scabs. Presence of moisture in the mouth can prevent the formation of the hard scab on the tongue.
Stage 5: healing
It is the final stage that allows the scab to fall off and healing to take place slowly. Cold sore on tongue will then disappear during this stage.

Cold Sore on Tongue Causes

Have you ever had a cold sore on your tongue? The cause of the infection is herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). There are two type of herpes virus, type 1 and type 2 but the common cause of cold sore is type1 (HSV-1) virus.
The viruses that cause cold sore on tongue are very contagious and can spread at a faster rate from one individual to another. The virus can spread by kissing process or even you can get the virus by direct skin contact with infected person.
Blistering stage is most contagious period of the cold sores. You can get infected with the virus from active lesion containing virus. Once the lesion has dried up, the risk of spreading the virus are reduce. Sometime the virus can get in the saliva when the sore are present or not.
The virus can be passed from infected person to you through sharing the same glass or a cup and cause cold sores to appear on your tongue. You can also catch the virus from contaminated surface that contain active virus. Sharing of towels and washcloth may also cause the spread the infection.
During the first infection the virus enters through the skin to the nerve cell, they finally move to the ganglion where they can stay for long time in the dormant state.  Herpes virus will only cause cold sores on tongue after activated by stress or fever.
Factors that activate herpes virus to cause cold sores on your tongue include the following:

  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Body stress
  • Weakened body immune system
  • Fatigue
  • Change of body hormones during menstruation cycle.
  • Trauma on the tongue
  • Food allergies

Herpes virus in the mouth can cause the development of cold sores in your entire mouth through the appearing of blisters as main symptoms. The virus can cause cold sore to keep on appearing on the mouth.

Cold Sores on Tongue Symptoms

What are the symptoms of cold sore on tongue? Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of cold sore on your tongue. Many people have oral herpes but no symptoms to tell they have the virus until the cold sore develop on their tongue.
Having a cold sore on your tongue is a clear symptom that shows you are having herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The virus can stay in your body system for many years in a dormant state and become activated to cause cold sores.
Young children who have not yet developed strong body immune system, the symptoms of cold sore on their tongue is more severe and the virus can result to serious damage of their body. Individual with weakened body immune system also herpes virus can cause more illness of their body.
Symptoms of cold sore on tongue include;

  • Pain on the tongue and entire mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lip
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Difficulties in swallowing saliva and food
  • Dry lips
  • Headaches
  • Tiny blisters on the tongue

The following symptoms comes when you are about to start developing blisters on the tongue .During this time the HSV-1 virus are very active on your mouth and like other viral infection, there is a general body weakness.

Cold Sore on Tongue Pictures

A normal tongue is covered by small tiny bumps called papillae that generally seen after experiencing some irritation on the mouth. Eating too salty food or acidic food that can cause tongue trauma can lead to the appearance of papillae.
Infection of oral herpes can result to bumps on the tongue that look very different from papillae. The cold sores are large in size than papillae and also they are very painful. The blisters are fluid filled and they burst to leave open ulcer on the tongue.
Sometimes cold sore can develop on the tip of the tongue and hurt you so much. The sores at the tip of the tongue can be a big problem because you can bit the bump and cause more injuries. Cold sore on tip of the tongue can also swell and get inflamed.
Cold sore can also appear at the side of the tongue. The sore can be stimulated to develop near a chipped tooth in the mouth. Having a cold sore at the side of the tongue require you to be more careful in order to avoid biting the affected area.
Bacterial or fungi can attack your cold sore on tongue and increase the infection. Ulcers may form on the surface of the tongue and this now requires medical attention.

How to get rid of Cold Sore on Tongue

If your tongue has a cold sore, no need to worry when you can use natural therapies for treatment. Have a look on the following home remedies to get rid of cold sore on your tongue.

  1. Tea tree oil: Use a cotton swab to apply tea tree oil on the surface of your tongue three times a day for few days. The oil has anti-viral compound known as Terpinen-4-ol that fight against herpes virus on your tongue. The oil also has a soothing effect on the painful sores hence initiated the sores to disappear.
  2. Salt solution: Take one tea spoon of salt crystals and dissolve in one cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth with the solution three times a day. Salt has a property that enables the inflamed sores on the tongue to dry up faster and also help to keep your mouth fresh.
  3. Hydrogen peroxide solution: Rinse your mouth with 10% hydrogen peroxide solution. This should be done as many times as you can a day. Hydrogen peroxide has the ability to remove excess herpes virus from the cold sore and also encourages faster healing to take place.
  4. Use of honey and lemon juice: Take one glass of lemon juice and mix with two tea spoon of honey. Apply the mixture on your tongue several times a day. Honey has soothing properties that help reduce pain cause by cold sore on tongue. Lemon juice helps to reduce the number of herpes virus on the tongue.
  5. Goldenseal: The root of the herb has medicinal value and has been used as antiviral for cold sores. You can get rid of cold sores on your tongue by consuming the capsules made from the herb.
  6. Cold milk: by using a cotton ball apply the cold milk on your tongue slowly. The cold milk helps to fasten the healing process of the blisters. It also keep away the irritation and discomfort.
  7. Fenugreek seeds: The plant has antioxidant properties that can help you to get rid of cold sore from your tongue. Take few seeds and soak them in a glass of warm water. Take the extract obtain from the soaked seed. Alternatively you can chew the soften seeds.
  8. Ice cube: Take a piece of ice cube and place it on the swollen blisters on your tongue several times a day. Low temperature of the ice cube helps to reduce irritation of your tongue and also help to fasten the healing.
  9. Aloe Vera: get a fresh leaf of the plant and squeeze to get out the extract that looks like oil. Apply the extract on the cold sore on your tongue several times a day.
  10. Balance diet: Take a balance diet to boost immune system. Ensure you consume green vegetable daily. Fruits like citrus should be taken in plenty. Take lysine supplements to prevent outbreak of cold sores. Minerals like magnesium are very useful to make the body resistance to HSV-1 virus.
  11. Use of petroleum jelly: Apply the jelly on the affected area with cold sores. The jelly work best in healing the blisters and also protects you against bacterial infection.

Medical remedies can also be applicable on your tongue to get rid of cold sore. Tropical treatment is useful for faster relief of the fever blisters on the mouth. The drugs are usually prescribed to you by qualified doctor.
Get the following tropical treatment to get rid of cold sores on your tongue:

  • Docosanol (Abreva), you can get the drug over-the- counter.
  • Acyclovir (zovirax) and penciclovir drug.

You also see your doctor to prescribe for you ant-viral pill that can help you reduce the duration of cold sore outbreak. You can go for pills or anti-viral creams, but the use of creams work best for quick relief. The cream also reduces pain and irritation as a result of open blisters on the mouth.
Start using acyclovir (zovirax) as soon as you experience the first sign of cold sore on tongue. Also Valacyclovir (Valtrex) can be taken once you start felling some symptoms of cold sore. Ensure you consume a full dose of the drug according to doctor’s prescription.
To relieve pain fast, use Ibuprofen or Tylenol drug that helps to deal with discomfort that comes as a result of cold sore infection. The drug does not stop the spread of the virus and you need to be more careful in order to prevent it from infecting other people.
Take the following precaution not to spread the herpes simplex virus.

Herpes virus is so contagious and can spread at a faster rate trough kissing your relatives and romantic partners. The virus is usually found in the body fluid of the infected person and can be transmitted even in the absence of active sores. It is important to understand the symptoms of cold sore in order to avoid spreading the virus to others.

  • Avoid kissing while having active cold sores on tongue. If a kiss should be necessary to your friends and relative, try butterfly kiss until blisters move away.
  • Oral sex during the outbreak should be avoided because herpes virus can spread from mouth to genitals.
  • Sharing of utensils with anybody should be avoided when having active sores on the mouth. The virus in the saliva can infect anybody who comes in contact with it.
  • Never share washcloth, towels, lipstick, lip balm or even toothbrushes.

Taking all these precaution into consideration can help you to reduce the chances of spreading the virus to your friends and relatives.
Further References

  1. Cold sore on tongue.
  2. Cause of cold sore on tongue.
  3. Cold Sores on tongue Symptoms.
  4. How to get rid of cold sore.
  5. How to get rid of tongue blisters.