Definition

What is herpes simplex virus infection?

Herpes simplex viruses, also known as herpes, are classified into two types: herpes type 1 (HSV – 1, or oral herpes) and herpes type 2 (HSV-2, or genital herpes).

Herpes type 1 causes commonly sores around the mouth and lips (sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores). Moreover, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but most cases of genital herpes are engendered by herpes type 2.

In term of HSV-2, the infected person may have sores around the genitals or rectum. Although HSV-2 sores may occur in other locations, these sores frequently are detected below the waist.

How common is herpes simplex virus infection?

According to WHO’s survey, an estimated 3.7 billion people under age 50 (67%) have HSV-1 infection globally and an estimated 417 million people aged 15-49 (11%) worldwide have HSV-2 infection.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of herpes simplex virus infection?

Oral herpes infection doesn’t have specific symptoms. The majority of people with HSV-1 infection are unaware they are infected. Symptoms might recur from time to time after the initial infection.

Symptoms of oral herpes include painful blisters or open sores on the lips (cold sores) or around the mouth. There might also be a tingling, itching or burning sensation around the mouth before the sores show up.

When symptoms occur at the genital, herpes is characterised by one or more genital or anal blisters or open sores called ulcers. In addition to genital ulcers, symptoms of new genital herpes infections often include fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes herpes simplex virus infection?

The herpes simplex virus is a direct contagious virus. Infection with HSV-1 between human can happen from general interactions such as eating from the same utensils, sharing lip balm, or kissing.

Children will often contract HSV-1 from early contact with an infected adult. They then carry the virus with them for the rest of their life.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for herpes simplex virus infection?

Anyone can be infected with herpes simplex virus, regardless of age. Your risk is determined mostly based on exposure to the infection. People are more at risk when they participate in risky sexual behavior without the use of protection, such as condoms. Other risk factors for HSV-2 include:

  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Being female
  • Having another sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • If a mother is having an outbreak of genital herpes at the time of childbirth, it can expose the baby to both types of HSV, and may put them at risk for serious complications.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 

How is herpes simplex virus infection diagnosed?

This type of virus will be generally diagnosed with a physical exam. Your doctor may check your body for sores and ask you about some of your current symptoms.

Your doctor may also order HSV testing, also known as a herpes culture, to confirm the diagnosis if you have sores on your genitals. During this test, your doctor will take a swab sample of fluid from the sore and then send it to a laboratory for testing.

Additionally, blood tests detecting antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2 may also be used to diagnose these infections. This is especially helpful when there are no sores present.

How is herpes simplex virus infection treated?        

Although it is believed that there is no exact cure for herpes, treatments can relieve the symptoms. Medication can decrease the pain related to an outbreak and can shorten healing time. They can also decrease the total number of outbreaks.

Medications including Famvir, Zovirax, and Valtrex are used to relieve the symptoms of herpes. Warm baths may treat the pain associated with genital herpes.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage herpes simplex virus infection?

There are some useful tips that help you prevent herpes simplex virus infection.

  • If you are having an outbreak of HSV-1, do not share any items that can pass the virus around, such as cups, towels, silverware, clothing, makeup, or lip balm
  • Individuals with HSV-2 should avoid any type of sexual activity with other people during an outbreak. If the individual is not having signs and symptoms but has previously been diagnosed with the virus, a condom should be highly recommended to use during intercourse.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: April 16, 2017 | Last Modified: April 16, 2017

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