Herpes – Virus stays in the body for life

Herpes is a common infection generally transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. There are several strains of the Herpes Virus, two of these strains commonly cause genital herpes. You can have oral herpes (on the lips, most often ‘cold sores’), genital herpes (on the genitals) or non-genital herpes (herpes on other parts of the body; most often ‘shingles’). Shingles is not sexually transmitted. It is a secondary event long after the initial infection with common ‘chicken pox’. Shinglesis usually a one-off occurrence.

Herpes

Types of Herpes

There are two types of the Herpes Simplex Virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2.

  • HSV-1 is the virus that most commonly causes cold sores on the lips or face. It is often transmitted in childhood through kissing, but can be transmitted at any age. HSV-1 can also be transmitted to the genitals through direct skin-to-skin contact.
  • HSV-2 is the virus responsible for most genital herpes and is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact. Genital herpes is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2).60 per cent are unaware that they have it, but have symptoms, while another 20 per cent have no symptoms. 20 per cent are aware that they have the virus

Symptoms of Herpes

A simplified diagram of HSV replication
A simplified diagram of HSV replication (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Most people with genital herpes have no noticeable symptoms and do not realise they have come into contact with the virus. They may only notice symptoms at a later date. For others, the first Symptoms of Genital Herpes may show up 2 to 21 days after coming into contact with the virus. This first episode of herpes is often the most severe. When you first come into contact with the virus your immune system has not had time to develop protective antibodies. This means the virus can multiply rapidly, causing significant symptoms.

Lymph nodes (the glands in your groin, neck and armpit) are swollen, or that you have flu-like symptoms such as sore muscles, tiredness, headaches, fever and chills. You may notice swelling, pain or itching around the genitals, possibly followed by painful red spots that can form small blisters. These blisters may burst to form open sores or ulcers, which crust over and heal. You may also experience pain when urinating due to the tenderness in your genital area.

Herpes of the anus or rectum may also result in rectal and lower back pain, an urgent need to pass faeces, bloody or mucus discharge, constipation and blisters on the skin area around the anus. Symptoms will heal within 2 to 4 weeks and cause no long-term damage.

Re-occurrences of Herpes

English: Cold sore
English: Cold sore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The virus stays in the body for life. Some people do not have any further episodes or symptoms of herpes. This is called inactive infection, when the virus is hidden in the body and not infectious.
However, the symptoms of genital herpes do recur in some people. These outbreaks tend to be milder and heal faster than the first outbreak. This is called an active infection. The active period may be obvious, with symptoms, or it may not. It is possible that symptoms are not obvious, or not present at all, but skin cells are shedding the virus during an active phase. This “viral shedding” may be potentially infectious to others if sexual contact occurs.

Diagnosis of Herpes

Diagnostic tests available each having varying degrees of accuracy, these tests range from swabbing a herpes blister or sore, to a blood test.

Treatment of Herpes

There is no treatment for herpes to date. Supporting your immune system should be your first goal. A weakened immune system is more prone to outbreaks. Simple pain relievers such as aspirin may relieve most discomfort caused by genital herpes pain. The FDA approves Famvir as the first one-day treatment for genital herpes and cold sores. Don’t take any medicine without consultation of doctor, medicine do have side effects

 

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. slimwithlynn says:

    I sometimes get cold sores and have found that echinachea quickly cures them! I don’t know if it works for other types of the virus.

    1. Rogers says:

      Native Americans may have used echinacea for more than 400 years to treat infections and wounds and as a general “cure-all.” Throughout history people have used echinacea to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. Although this herb was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, its use began to decline in the after the introduction of antibiotics.People use echinacea to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu and reduce symptoms, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend echinacea to help boost the immune system and help the body fight infections. However, it is always better to consult a doctor, instead of self medication.

      1. slimwithlynn says:

        Doctors tend to prescribe anti-biotics for everything. I prefer to use echinacea as soon as I feel anything coming on. I have not had a cold or flu for years using this herb!

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