Herpes simplex viruses are responsible for causing a number of different disorders which are collectively referred to as herpes simplex. A person with herpes may or may not have symptoms, which means it’s very possible to have the virus without realizing it. The infection tends to alternate between being active and in remission. When it’s active, there may be visible and painful sores or lesions on the skin. The outbreaks usually happen less and less often over time.
Herpes can manifest in several different locations on the body just as warts caused by the HPV virus can appear on different body parts. The place where the infection is located determines what it is called. The two most common types are genital and oral. It is believed that over half the population in the United States has oral herpes, which has a symptom of cold sores in the mouth or on the face. Genital herpes, as its name implies, affects the genital region like genital warts, and is present in about one-fifth of Americans. Some of the less common types of herpes simplex are Mollaret’s meningitis, ocular herpes, herpetic whitlow, and herpes gladiatorum.
How it is transmitted
Usually, herpes is transmitted when someone comes into contact with the sores on another person during an active phase of the virus. This is usually through kissing, oral sex, or sexual intercourse. It can also be spread by a person who doesn’t show visible signs of the infection, due to asymptomatic shedding. Even individuals who don’t know they have the virus can potentially transmit it to others. Finally, herpes can be spread through body fluids.
The main risk with herpes is accidentally spreading it to other places on the body. This happens when an infected person touches an outbreak and then touches another area of their body. It’s important to avoid touching infected areas and practice good hygiene during an outbreak. Herpes can also be spread to newborns during birth if the mother has an outbreak. Because the virus can be much more dangerous to babies, it’s important to take care that they don’t come into contact with it.
Protection from herpes
The best way to avoid getting herpes is to not come into direct contact with an infected person, but this isn’t always possible. Using a barrier such as a condom and avoiding intercourse during outbreaks greatly reduces the chances of transmitting genital herpes, but it doesn’t eliminate them. Here are some ideas for lowering the risk of transmission.
Once infected, a person will have the herpes virus for the rest of his or her life. There is no known cure for it , although after a time it enters the nervous system and becomes dormant. There are, however, treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms. Some people choose to use medications, while others prefer natural treatments. Outbreaks also tend to heal better when they are kept dry and clean. This page offers many treatment ideas. Researchers are working on creating a vaccine.