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Herpes Virus

Written by Dr. Rokhsar

There are two types of herpes virus strains:

Herpes Simplex (HSV-1)

HSV-1 causes a common viral infection in the form of a cold sore or fever blister. Oral herpes, mouth herpes, and herpes simplex labialis are among the different forms of cold sores that are caused by HSV-1, which is contracted by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

Herpes Simplex (HSV-2) or Genital Herpes

HSV-2 causes most cases of genital herpes. One out of every six people, 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection is also contracted by skin-to-skin contact. Some may not even experience breakouts and instead remain just as carriers.

Symptoms typically appear in the form of multiple blisters around the mouth, genitals, and rectum. Blisters can also occur inside the mouth or along the tongue. Repeated breakouts of genital herpes are common and are usually accompanied by fever, body aches, and swollen glands. Some individuals experience little to no symptoms and because of this, are unaware they are infected.

Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause sores on face or genitals if skin-to-skin contact is made with an infected area. There is no cure for the herpes virus, but fortunately, most herpes related sores can clear without treatment. There are topical creams and ointments to alleviate any burning, itching or tingling a person may experience. Antiviral medicine can also be taken orally (pills) or intravenously (shots) which can help lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks, as well as to aide in prevention from spreading the virus. A dermatologist can typically tell by looking at an outbreak if it is herpes, although they may take a swab from a sore and send it to a laboratory to confirm the diagnosis. If sores are not present, other medical tests can be administered such as blood tests.