Herpes simplex virus is very common viral infection. It manifests itself in different parts of body, but most often region of mouth and genitals suffer. In this article we will look at where this infection comes from, how it spreads and whether it can be cured.
There are 2 types of this infection:
- Type 1 virus – known as oral herpes. As the name implies, this type of virus causes formation of sores or wounds in area around mouth or on face.
- Virus type 2 – usually affects genitals and area of anus. Note that any of these types of virus can cause formation of sores both on face and in genital area.
What are the causes of herpes?
Most people are infected with type 1 virus while still baby or child. This virus can pass to child through contact with skin of infected adult. By the way, infection spreads even if adult doesn`t have characteristic symptom – sores around mouth or on face.
Herpes of type 2 usually spreads through sexual contact. According to experts from American Academy of Dermatology, high-risk groups for this type of virus include:
- Persons who have had large number of sexual partners.
- People whose first sexual intercourse was at very young age.
- Persons with past or current sexually transmitted infections.
- Immunocompromised people due to illness or medication.
Herpes simplex virus is transmitted from person to person through close physical contact. You can become infected after touching the sores. However, in most cases, disease is transmitted through contact with person who has no visible symptoms of infection.
Under what conditions does herpes appear around mouth?
Person who is infected with type 1 virus spreads infection through:
- Touching healthy person’s skin, for example, touching child’s cheek.
- Sharing items: forks and spoons, lip balms, razors.
Under what conditions does genital herpes appear?
In most cases, virus is 2nd type, which is transmitted during sexual contact. Although some cause formation of wounds in genitals is type 1 virus. If there are sores on lips or in mouth, and person has oral sex, herpes type 1 can cause formation of sores in genital area.
Pregnant women and their child are at particular risk. If woman “caught” herpes during pregnancy, she can pass infection to baby during childbirth. Baby can develop serious complications. That is why all those planning pregnancy or pregnant women should be diagnosed.
As soon as person becomes infected with herpes, virus never leaves its body. After first contact, it moves from skin cells to nerve cells and remains there forever. But don`t worry about this – virus is “asleep” and just stored in our body. However, it should be understood that he is able to reactivate.
This happens in following conditions:
- During stress.
- During illness.
- Due to temperature increase.
- Under influence of sun.
- During menstrual periods.
- After operation.
How to recognize signs of herpes?
It`s important to understand that not every infected person has visible symptoms. Therein lies danger, because many people spread infection and aren`t even aware of it.
Symptoms of herpes can include:
- Formation of blistering sores in mouth or on genitals.
- Pain while urinating (possible symptom of genital herpes).
Sometimes flu-like symptoms appear:
- Temperature rise.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
Occasionally, infection affects eyes, causing condition called herpetic keratitis. In this case, there is pain and burning sensation in eyes.
How is herpes diagnosed?
Typically, diagnosis is performed on basis of physical examination of patient. Doctor examines body for presence of characteristic bubbles and asks for additional symptoms. Sometimes laboratory diagnosis is required. You will learn more about diagnostic methods from this material.
How to cure herpes?
Currently, there is no specific treatment for this infection. The main task of doctor is to save patient from ulcers and reduce frequency of repeated activations of virus. In this case, it is likely that infection will pass by itself and blister wounds will disappear.
However, this doesn`t exclude need to visit doctor. Based on patient’s medical history and symptoms, specialist may prescribe herpes pills. Most often, one or more drugs are prescribed from the list below:
These antiviral drugs help reduce risk of spreading infection to others. Also, taking herpes pills helps to reduce frequency of outbreaks of virus and alleviate severity of symptoms. By the way, medicines are available not only in pills, but also in form of creams. Well, in most severe cases, drugs can be injected in form of injections.