Herpes Simplex or Herpes is a viral disease. It is caused by herpes simplex virus. The infection can affect different human parts. And on the basis of infection location it is categorized.
Main Types of Herpes
There are two main types of herpes simplex viruses;
- HSV-1 (herpes type 1, or oral herpes)
- And HSV-2 (herpes type 2, or genital herpes).
Oral Herpes, Cold Sores HSV-1
Herpes type 1 or HSV-1 oral herpes affects face or mouth. It appears in form of groups of small blisters. These groups of small blisters are also called cold sores or fever blisters. This HSV-1 is responsible for common cold sores and fever blisters.
Symptoms of Oral Herpes HSV-1
- Swollen and irritated gums with small, painful sores in and around the mouth – this is known as herpes simplex gingivostomatitis.
- Swollen glands
- Excessive saliva than normal
- High temperature more than 100 degrees F
- Sore throat
- Feeling sick
What do they look like?
There are two types of herpes outbreaks may occur;
When you are infected with HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus 1) for first time the condition of this outbreak is more severe when compared to recurrence of it. Besides the cold sores there are other symptoms may also exist at time of this first occurrence. These symptoms include swollen gums, fever, sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes.
There is also a big chance that cold sore may come back after its first occurrence. But this time it is less severe than the primary condition. The chances of fever are less and other symptoms may or may not exist. But Herpes Simplex Virus can cause cold sores somewhere on your body.
How This HSV-1 Enter Your Body?
The main gateway through which this virus can enter your body is a tiny break in the skin. If you have tiny break in your skin and you come in contact with someone with this infection then there is high chance of becoming a victim of this condition. The lesions are especially highly contagious.
After infection this virus remains inside the infected person throughout his/her life. There is no cure for herpes but there are ways to manage it. According to some statistics in age 50 to 80, 90% of people carry this non-curable infection. They may or may not have symptoms.
It is not necessary that all the infected people will have symptoms of this condition, some people are just the carries of this condition and they can infect other people with this condition and those infected people would have symptoms.
How are cold sores treated?
Treatment for Primary Cold Sore:-
First diagnoses: your doctor will diagnose this condition without any special test. But in some special cases your doctor may advise some test if there are clues of other disease also exist. For the primary outbreak of this disease your physician will probably recommend antiviral medication. But these antiviral medications are only helpful in case the outbreak is caught early.
Treatment for Recurrence of Cold Sores:-
Avoid picking at the sores, to keep other area safe from it. It is also important to keep the infected area dry and clean. You physician may suggest antiseptic mouthwash. Other types of medicine you can use for this condition is topical antiviral creams. There different types of topical cream in market which can speedily clear up the infection. In more severe cold sores case your physician may also suggest you oral medications. The normal cold sores clear up in 7 to 15 days without any treatment.
Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2) or Genital Herpes
Genital herpes or HSV-2 is one of the common sexually transmitted infections (STI). Genital herpes is caused by virus named Herpes Simplex 2 while core sores is caused herpes simplex 1 as mentioned above.
Causes of Genital Herpes:-
- It can pass from infected person through sharing sex toys, anal or vaginal sex
- Skin contact between infected person and healthy person during sexual intercourse. It can easily pass via close genital contact; there is no need for penetrative sex whether vaginal or anal to pass this infection to a health person. So it is important to adopt safe sex methods.
- Condom can reduce the chances of this infection but it doesn’t provide 100% safety against this condition. As there are chance that the virus may exist on skin outside the condom protected area.
- Oral sex is another way of becoming a victim of this condition. In case you receive oral sex from your partner who has herpes then there a big chance you can become infected with this condition
- If the herpes exist on the person finger or hand and he/she touches the anal, genitals or vagina then there is also chance of getting this infection.
If you have genital herpes, you can also catch other cold sores but you may or may not notice its symptoms.
This genital herpes can not pass from one person to another through hugging, sharing towels, baths, toilet seats, plates, cups, and cutlery.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
Primary (first time outbreak) Symptoms:-
Many people will not have any symptoms of genital herpes. And many people are not ware because of no visible symptoms. Some people will get symptoms after first infection and it happens within 4 to 5 days. But for many people the virus remains dormant for weeks, months and even years without any visible symptoms. So if you first notice genital herpes symptoms it doesn’t mean that you are currently infected with this virus. The common symptoms of this infection include;
- Painful urination because of the urine flows over the sores
- Swollen glands
- Uncomfortable sleeping
- Pains in the lower back
- Vaginal discharge
- Small size fluid filled blisters anywhere in the genital or anal area
- Fluid filled blisters on the buttocks and the tops of the thighs.
- Itching, tingling, stinging in anal, genital area
- Low appetite
- Mode Changes
Recurrent Symptoms of Genital Herpes:-
Genital herpes recurrent outbreaks symptoms and signs are less severe than primary outbreaks. The healing process is also fast and it takes normally a week for complete healing. Before this recurrence there are early warning signs such as tingling sensation and flu like illness. The sores, swellings and blisters are smaller in size, low in number and less painful when compared to primary outbreak situation. The healing process is also fast comparatively. The sores and blisters occur in same body part as in first outbreak but in same people they are not on the same spot but nearby.
How to Diagnose Genital Herpes
You physician will first diagnose it with physical examination. To confirm the infection identity your doctor will then recommend fluid test from blister. In this test fluid from the infected area is taken with swab (cotton bud).
Treatment for Genital Herpes
The main purpose behind the treatment is to relieve the pain and to avoid spreading of the virus to other areas.
When you have this condition for first time then treatment is necessary to provide relief. This treatment is normally begins within 5 days of the occurrence of first outbreak and during phase when new blisters are still developing. Your doctor may advise you antiviral medicine for up-to 5 days and in some case he/she may suggest 5 tablets daily. In market there are different antiviral tablets available for this treatment.
Some patients find it beneficial to take an antiviral during the next outbreak of genital herpes as well. Your physician may suggest you to start a treatment as soon as the condition begins.
For some patients doctor will devise suppressive therapy. Suppressive therapy is advised for all those patients who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year. Suppressive therapy is longer courses of tablets for the sake of reducing the number of outbreaks. Suppressive therapy is highly effective and it can stop the outbreaks completely.
If you are pregnant or want to conceive then discuss this issue with your doctor. If you are pregnant having herpes then during pregnancy you can still take these herpes related treatment but discussion with your doctor is extremely important.
The best remedy for herpes is antiviral as the genital is affected by virus so antibacterial treatment will not work in this condition.
Another important point is to avoid using facial cold sores medicines for treating genital herpes.