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Herpangina in adults

Updated February 21, 2017

Herpangina is a viral infection that causes sores or lesions in your mouth. Although most common in children ages 3 to 10, the virus has the potential to affect people of any age, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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Herpangina is spread through saliva via mouth-to-mouth contact or coming in contact with the stools of an infected person due to poor hygiene.

Time Frame

Symptoms of herpangina usually develop within three to six days after exposure, reports Dr. Vinay Reddy of New York.


Symptoms of herpangina in adults include fever, headache, loss of appetite, sore throat and painful swallowing. The sores caused by the virus are white or grey with a red border and are painful.


Herpangina usually clears up on its own within a few weeks, but treatment for symptoms is often given to make patients more comfortable, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Oral medications, like over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or topical treatments, like benzocaine, reduce pain, and cold milk and ice cream also provide some relief.


Herpangina is similar to another viral infection called hand, foot and mouth disease. The main symptomatic difference between the two conditions is that hand, foot and mouth disease usually causes a skin rash on your hands, feet and rear.

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About the Author

Faith Davies

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.

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