Herpes Simplex

What is Herpes Simplex?

There are two kinds of herpes viruses: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is commonly known as “cold sores” and often looks like a blister near the mouth. HSV-2 is common STD known as “genital herpes” and the sores are often located near a person’s sex organs.

These viruses are often spread through contact, like kissing or sexual intercourse. The sores from the herpes viruses usually clear up after a few weeks, but sometimes complications occur. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be spread to eyes and fingers. If a person is prone to eczema, he or she has a higher risk of having sores all over different skin areas. If a person has a weakened immune system, then the virus can also affect different organs of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Herpes Simplex?

The most common symptom of HSV-1 is the formation of small, painful blisters filled with fluid. These blisters are often around the edge of the lips, on the cheeks, or around the nose. Before the blisters form, a person may feel burning or itching around their mouths. Once the blisters form, they can erupt, ooze, and then scab over.

If a person has HSV-2, then they may have pain, itching, and sores on either the penis or vagina. HSV-2 also causes painful urination and sometimes a rash.

If a person is experiencing the blisters for the first time, they may have other symptoms, such as headaches, muscle aches, a sore throat, pain in the gums, and swollen lymph nodes.

Herpes Simplex Causes

The common cause of herpes simplex is direct contact, person-to-person. In some rare instances because the virus doesn’t live long outside of the body, sharing personal items like lip balms, utensils or toothbrushes belonging to an infected individual can transmit the virus.

Once infected, the virus lives in your body for the rest of your life. It goes dormant and reoccurs during hormonal changes, fatigue or stress.

There are two types of herpes simplex; HSV-1 cold sores or fever blisters spread from skin contact with fewer repeat occurrences. HSV-2 is genital herpes and is passed on by an infected individual during the act of unprotected sexual contact.

Other causes include expectant mothers carrying the virus infecting the newborn during childbirth, raising the risk of serious health complications for the infant.

How is Herpes Simplex Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for HSV and blisters can reappear later. However, there are antiviral medicines that can mitigate the virus’ return and mitigate the length of infection.

Herpes Simplex Prevention

There is no cure for herpes simplex, but the condition is preventable. A few lifestyle modifications and antiviral medication prescriptions can help to prevent the recurrence. If you are expecting a child and you’re infected, call your doctor at once.

If you experience an outbreak of the herpes simplex HSV-1, talk with your doctor for instructions on healing the sores quickly. Try to abstain from any bodily contact when the cold sores or fever blisters are visible.

Proven prevention of HSV-2 is to limit your partners to only individuals free of the condition. Always refrain from unsafe sex. Your doctor can help with further information about the condition. You need to understand the disorder and learn how to identify the virus lesions. Avoid any form of contact during an outbreak.

Blood tests help to determine the level of risk to your own health and others in your life. Boosting your immune system to lessen the frequency of occurrence with a healthful diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants, helps.

Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
January 11, 2018