Herpangina – Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Having problems eating due to painful ulcers in the mouth? Suffering from a bad headache and sore throat? You may be a victim of Herpangina. Read on to know all about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Herpangina.

Herpangina Definition

Herpangina is a viral condition that affects mainly during summer. It is a common infection that impacts the health of children. The disease can affect people of any age group, but one can commonly observe Herpangina in children especially those in the 3-10 age group.

Herpangina is marked by the appearance of lesions and ulcers in the mouth. This is the reason why the condition is also known as Mouth Blisters.

The word “Herpangina” come from two terms “Herp” meaning “itching” and “angina” standing for “a sore throat”.

What does Herpangina look like?

Herpangina appears like lesions on the skin surface. These are non-elevated and initially red in appearance. In the early stages, these are approximately 1-2 mm in diameter. They have a white or grayish-white base.

In the advanced stages, the skin patches or macules swell to grow into vesicles or sac-like structures. These contain fluids and can show a change in color.

In the final stage, these grow bigger in size and become ulcers. They have a diameter of about 2-4 mm. The lesions usually go away in 7 to 10 days.

Is Herpangina contagious?

As many people know, Herpangina is a contagious condition. This is a transmissible disease. It is very common for children to contract this disorder from other kids in school or from the neighborhood.

Herpangina: Swelling an ulcerations of the uvula

Source : commons.wikimedia

Herpangina Symptoms

Herpangina is characterized by a number of physical sensations. Some of the common symptoms of Herpangina are

Mouth ulcers

An affected person suffers from lesions in the mouth, uvula and the throat. These lesions change into painful ulcers within a few days. Herpangina of the mouth can be very painful for some days.

Body pain

Herpangina causes pain in different parts of the body. These include headache, backache and abdominal pain. Pain ranges from mild to severe.


Affected people also suffer from weakness that impairs their daily activities.


In many patients with Herpangina fever is seen to arise. The rise in body temperature causes serious discomfort in the sufferer.

Loss of appetite

The person also suffers from a loss of appetite. He or she loses the inclination to eat, which is partly caused due to ulcers in the mouth that makes it difficult to have food.


Some people have saliva driveling from their mouth because of this disease.

Sore Throat

In people with Herpangina sore throat is a very discomforting condition. Soreness in throat makes it very difficult to swallow foods or even liquids like water. The patient also experiences a persistent pain in the throat.


Patients of Herpangina often experience a vomiting sensation.

A child or an adult affected with this condition may not always display symptoms. However, they can pass the infection to other people and thus act as a carrier of the disease.

Herpangina Causes

Herpangina is mainly caused due to a viral infection. Here are some of the viruses that have been identified as causes of Herpangina.

Coxsackie virus A

In most patients with Herpangina Coxsackie virus A is seen to be the prime causative factor. Because of an infection by Coxsackie Virus Herpangina patients suffer from symptoms like mouth ulcers, high fever, sore throat and pain while swallowing. Symptoms usually appear within four to six days following a Coxsackie Virus A infection.


It is one of a group of Picornaviruses that normally affects the gastrointestinal tract. In people with Herpangina Enterovirus infection is also a cause.

Coxsackie Virus B

Because of an infection by Virus B Coxsackie Herpangina is also often seen to occur.
Echovirus and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) are some other viruses that give rise to Herpangina.

Herpangina Diagnosis

Diagnosis of this condition is not generally necessary. This is a mild disease. Doctors normally detect the disorder by a physical examination of the patient. The medical history of the person is also taken into account.

Herpangina Differential Diagnosis

The Differential Diagnosis of Herpangina involves distinguishing the disease from conditions that produce symptoms similar to this disorder. Such disorders are Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, Aphthous Ulcer and Primary Herpetic Gingivostomatitis. Differential Diagnosis is carried out with blood tests, antibody titer, Polymerase chain reaction and other laboratory studies.

Herpangina Treatment

Generally, no treatment for Herpangina is needed. The condition usually resolves within a week without causing any complications. But in rare cases, viral infection can give rise to health worries. Immediate treatment is necessary in such cases.

The treatment of Herpangina is usually done with the help of non-steroidal medicines. Oral anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and analgesic drugs such as Acetaminophen are normally recommended. For treatment of fever and mouth ulcers in patients of Herpangina oral medicines are usually enough.

Curing mouth ulcers can be done with the aid of topical anesthetic agents like Xylocaine and Benzocaine. These are generally used in only a few cases to bring about Herpangina relief. Anesthetic agents are not part of the regular treatment.

Though Herpangina is a contagious disease, patients need not be isolated for treatment. Hospitalization is not required unless there serious complications evolve. But those treating the patient should practice good hygiene and wash hands after touching and using items of the patient.

Herpangina Natural Treatment

Herpangina remedies at home typically consist of bed rest and a proper diet. The patient is also advised to increase his or her fluid intake. Drinking lots of fluids can reduce the effect of the symptoms.
A proper diet for Herpangina treatment consists of cold dairy products including ice cream. For patients of Herpangina foods that are spicy or fried are usually prohibited during the period of treatment.

Herpangina in Children

Herpangina is generally seen in very young kids. The disease is particularly seen in kids within 10 years of age. An infection by Herpangina virus in children is usually seen during summertime and also during autumn. In cases of Herpangina young children commonly display symptoms like fever, sore throat and blisters in the mouth. The blisters are at first cherry red in appearance and gradually turn grayish yellow in color.

How long does Herpangina last?

The disease usually subsides within a week in children. If the fever and accompanied symptoms last for more than 5 days, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

Herpangina Pictures

Want to know how Herpangina rashes look like? Take a look at these pictures of Herpangina. These Herpangina images will help you get an idea about the appearance of the condition.

sores from herpangina virus infection

Source : commons.wikimedia


Source : drgreene

Herpangina Complications

In rare cases, Herpangina can lead to neurological problems. There may be other health issues like an inflammation of the brain or Meningitis. In Herpangina toddlers aged less than a year deaths may also occur.

Though older children are seen to suffer from Herpangina newborns are not affected by this disease. This is because of the maternal antibodies still present in them.

If you note the symptoms of this condition in kids in your family or are suffering from the disease yourself, you should get in touch with a medical professional. Treatment is necessary if the symptoms do not clear away within 4-5 days. Timely medical help can check the disorder in time and help you avoid further health issues.


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