What Is Herpes?
Herpes is a very common infection. It is caused by two different but closely related viruses. The viruses are herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both are easy to catch. They remain in the body for life and can produce symptoms that come and go.
Both forms of herpes can infect the oral area, the genital area, or both. When the infection is on or near the mouth, it is called oral herpes. Oral herpes is caused most often by HSV-1. When a herpes infection is on or near the sex organs, it is called genital herpes. Genital herpes is caused most often by HSV-2. Up to 8 out of 10 American adults have oral herpes. And about 1 out of 4 American adults have genital herpes. Millions of people do not know they have herpes because they never had, or noticed, the herpes symptoms.
Oral Herpes Symptoms
When a person has oral herpes, "cold sores" or "fever blisters" can show up on the lips or around the mouth. These sores may also show up inside the mouth, but this usually only happens the first time oral herpes symptoms appear. Symptoms may last a few weeks and go away. They may return in weeks, months, or years. They are annoying but usually harmless in children and adults. But cold sores can be very harmful to a newborn.
Genital Herpes Symptoms
Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms, have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed, or have symptoms but do not recognize them as a sign of infection. The most common herpes symptom is a cluster of blistery sores — usually on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, buttocks, or anus. Symptoms may last several weeks and go away. They may return in weeks, months, or years.
The first time that genital herpes symptoms appear is called "first episode" or "initial herpes." The initial herpes symptoms are usually more noticeable than later outbreaks.
Genital herpes symptoms may include
- burning feelings if urine flows over sores
- inability to urinate if severe swelling of sores blocks the urethra
- open sores
- pain in the infected area
During initial herpes, symptoms may also include
- swollen, tender glands in the pelvic area, throat, and under the arms
- general run-down feelings
- achy, flu-like feelings
When there are initial herpes symptoms, they usually appear from 2 to 20 days after infection. But it may be years before the first symptoms appear.
Initial herpes sores usually heal in about 2 to 4 weeks. But the virus stays in the body. It can flare up and cause sores again. Symptoms from flare-ups usually heal in 10 to 14 days. Herpes symptoms may be more painful and last longer in women or men with illnesses that weaken the immune system — like leukemia and HIV.
What is the danger?
Herpes may cause:
2. Neuritis (inflammation of the nerve). E.g. neuritis of facial nerve that can lead to a loss of function
3. Involvement of the sciatic nerve.
4. Illnesses like encephalitis, meningitis and others.
5. Inflammation that can damage reproductive organs and cause infertility.
The prevention of herpes first and foremost with the strengthening of the immune system, having a balanced life style, having sufficient sleep and good exercise.During flu or cold, avoid being in public places. It is important for people who are susceptible to herpes to get checked for other diseases. The doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment for any dysfunction in the body.
Self medication should be avoided to prevent further complications.