Aphtae – How contagious are aphthae?

In medical terminology, the term aphtae is used to describe a very painful damage to the mucous membrane in the area of the: An aphthae consists of a filled blister which is bulging out of the mucosa and surrounded by an inflamed edge seam. This type of mucosal damage usually has a whitish yellow colour and can be easily distinguished from healthy tissue. In addition to the typical locations in the oral cavity, aphthae can also be detected in some cases on the mucous membrane of the genital area.

Aphthae are typical tissue changes that occur, for example, in the course of an infection with the herpes simplex virus and can severely restrict the affected patient. Other diseases can also cause blisters in the mouth. – Oral cavity


  • Tongue

In general, aphthae can be considered non-infectious, so transmission during kissing or exchange of saliva via food can be largely ruled out. Furthermore, such vesicles within the oral cavity do not always require treatment. Therapy in the form of ointments or creams should only be applied for the purpose of pain relief.

To reduce pain quickly, an affected patient can take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. An exception to this rule is aphthae that occur in the course of a herpes simplex infection, in which aphthae that are contagious may reappear even after years of rest. Herpes is a potentially infectious disease in which the transmission of the triggering viruses (herpes simplex viruses) should be prevented. In this case, it is important to note that the transmission of the viruses can only take place when the blisters are acutely present.

Infectiousness of the baby

The question often arises whether the aphthae are transmissible or contagious from person to person. Especially in the family and the close mother-child relationship, this question arises when an aphtha appears in the baby’s mouth. Since in a family glasses or cutlery are often used together, or people kiss each other.

Basically there is no danger of infection with aphthae. A baby does not get aphthae in its mouth because it has eaten from a spoon that the mother used to have in her mouth. The development of aphthae is associated with internal processes in the body, such as a genetic predisposition, a weakened immune system or a lack of vitamin B, vitamin C or zinc.

A specific virus or bacterium, which is transmitted from person to person via saliva, is not responsible for the development of aphthae. Especially in babies and children, aphthae can occur as a concomitant of the hand-mouth-foot disease, so that a special pathogen directly responsible for the occurrence of aphthae cannot be transmitted, but other diseases that have aphthae as a concomitant. The hand-mouth-foot disease is transmitted by saliva, among other things.