Herpes — What You Need To Know
Herpes And Genital Herpes
Herpes is a viral infection of which
there are two common types — oral herpes (cold sores or fever blisters),
and genital herpes (genital sores). Genital herpes is a sexually
Types Of Herpes
These two types of herpes simplex viruses are referred to as Herpes
Simplex Type 1 (HSV-1), and Herpes Simplex Type 2 (HSV-2). The
two types of herpes look very similar under a microscope but generally
HSV-2 refers to genital herpes and HSV-1 refers to oral herpes.
Both types of herpes are contagious and are spread easily. HSV-1
can be spread by kissing, sharing a drinking glass, sharing Chap
Stick or lipstick and similar contact where an infected mouth
comes in contact with another mouth.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease and can be
spread with or without sores being present. In fact, often it
is spread because the infected person does not know they have
The two types of herpes can also be spread. For example, cold
sores of the mouth can be spread to the genitals through oral
Oral and genital herpes can be spread by:
- Vaginal or anal intercourse
- Oral sex
- Sharing drinking glasses, lipstick, cigarettes, etc.
- Mother to baby during pregnancy or at birth
- Spreading of infection from one body part to another
If you have an outbreak of herpes with open sores, you should
be careful not to spread it to other people or to other parts
of your own body by washing your hands often. When you experience
and outbreak, you are considered contagious from the first sign
of an outbreak, until the last sore is completely healed.
Herpes can sometimes be spread by someone who has no symptoms.
This is known as asymptomatic transmission. These people show
no signs of having the virus but they are still contagious.
There is no scientific evidence that herpes can be spread from
toilet seats or sharing towels or similar methods. The herpes
virus can not live for very long outside the human body making
spreading in this way virtually impossible.
The herpes virus is very successful at invading the human body.
It can appear in and around the mouth and lips, around the eyes,
in the throat, anywhere on the skin and even in the brain!
Symptoms Of Herpes
The symptoms of herpes are called prodrome. This is typically
the only sign of an outbreak. Prodrome is caused by the virus
replicating in the skin so sometimes it may lie dormant for a
while or take a week to a month to appear. It will then appear
as fluid-filled blisters which will scab over and dry up over
the next few weeks. It may then lie dormant for an undetermined
amount of time or flare up again and do the whole process all
Symptoms usually occur within 2 to 20 days but sometimes may
not show up at all or could be so mild they go unnoticed. Usually
the first outbreak is the worst, though. Most often an outbreak
is painful and may itch or burn.
Some other symptoms may include; swollen lymph glands, fever,
lower back pain, burning genitals, vaginal or penile discharge,
burning during urination and small red bumps in the genital area.
At this time there is no cure for herpes. The best treatment
is prevention. However, if you already have the virus, there are
several options such as prescription drugs [Valtrex, Acyclovir,
Zovirax, Famciclovir], over-the-counter (OTC) cold sore remedies,
herbal treatments and change in nutrition.