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Herpes Simplex – Causes, Symptoms, Measures and Treatment

Herpes simplex is the name given to a virus which can bring about cold sores (generally herpes simplex type 1) or genital herpes (typically herpes simplex type 2). The sores appear on whichever part of your skin is infected.

In either kind of herpes the virus is transmitted primarily through contaminated skin coming into contact with another man’s skin, for example through kissing, during sex or from mouth to genitals during oral sex. On the other hand, the disorder may also be spread by contact with other parts of the human body particularly the fingers if a sore has been reached, and herpes may be spread to the eyes this way. A cold sore that grows near the eye is possibly dangerous and should be seen by a physician as soon as symptoms, including tingling or itching, start.

Initially it was believed that cold sores on the lips were just due to herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1) and genital herpes simply because of the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2). This distinction is now clouded, however, with the increased practice of oral sex. In Europe, genital herpes disease is the most common cause of genital ulceration and it’s rising among girls. Genital herpes disease is more common in girls than in men because their genital region is warmer and damper than a guy’s.

How Common Is Herpes?

Blood tests reveal that most individuals have been exposed to herpes simplex type 1 by the time we reach middle age. This implies that millions of individuals are infected with the virus, but likely just a quarter of those infected have symptoms of any type.

Many folks have what’s called a subclinical attack, with no observable signs of disease and no bad effects. These individuals are then naturally immune to further illness but don’t understand they’ve been infected.

What Happens To The Virus?

After in the body, the virus can pull away to nerve cells in the face in the instance of HSV1, or near the base of the back in the instance of of HSV2. If the virus is reactivated, it can return to where it entered the body and cause a recurrence. Not all individuals have returns; some have a few and for some herpes recurs frequently. Usually the first attack is the most serious. Returns don’t always depend on having contact with an infected individual. Irritation of affected skin from other causes is known to trigger attacks. If you’ve got genital herpes, you mustn’t have sex if the virus is active, i.e. if you’ve genital blisters or any tingling or soreness, and you should always prevent oral sex if a cold sore is present.

As you’d anticipate, herpes is highly infectious. There’s a 90 percent probability of getting it if either partner has an active blister, although new research supports the virus may also be transmitted by those who don’t have any symptoms. Symptoms appear between three and 20 days after contact with an infected individual.

What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes?

  • The skin senses oversensitive to touch.
  • Itching and irritation around the affected area of skin.
  • Enlarged painful lymph glands in the neck or groin.
  • A general feeling of being unwell.
  • Head Ache.
  • Muscle aches and joint pains.
  • Blisters that appear within several hours of the itching and soreness; these enlarge, break open and become debilitating ulcers after two to three days.
  • Ulcers that form scabs and take 14-21 days to cure fully.
  • In genital herpes, shooting pain in the lower limbs.
  • In genital herpes, pain on passing urine.

What Are The Causes For Herpes?

  • Physical and mental stress.
  • Excessive cold or heat, including temperature.
  • For herpes diseases of the face, exposure to strong sunshine.
  • Localized injury to the skin (e.g. in genital herpes, harsh sexual intercourse, plucking or shaving pubic hair).
  • General ill health and other diseases, for example a cold.




What Is The Treatment?

Cold sores caused by HSV1 can be treated at home using acyclovir cream, which is accessible over the counter from chemists. Genital herpes should be looked at by a physician and not treated at home. See your physician promptly if you are feeling numb or sensitive in the genital region or if you’ve had sexual relations with anyone with the herpes virus.

There’s no remedy for genital herpes but the earlier treatment is given the more likely it is going to prevent or ameliorate an attack. Antiviral drugs, including acyclovir, taken as pills make the ulcers less distressing and support healing. Over the counter acyclovir cream shouldn’t be used to treat genital herpes.

Other treatments for genital herpes include day-to-day douches with povidone iodine solution or bathing the region with salt solution (one heaped teaspoon of salt to one pint of water).


  • Keep independent towels and face cloths for each member of your family. This helps prevent the virus being spread from one individual to another.
  • To prevent herpes recurring get lots of rest and eat a balanced diet with nutritional foodstuffs – fresh fruit and vegetables, wholefoods and lots of liquids.
  • Handle stress by learning relaxation exercises or taking up yoga.
  • For cold sores, wear a high sun-protection factor lotion in your lips and any other affected parts of the face when in bright sunshine.
  • Maintain a record of when your attacks recur in an effort to discover a design. If, for instance, returns of genital herpes are related to rough sex, try using a lubricant jelly.
  • Attempt a lotion including lemon balm, day-to-day or when symptoms begin.
  • Consistently use a condom to protect yourself from genital herpes.
  • For genital herpes, wear loose panties so air can circulate and keep your genitals cool. Make the sores open to atmosphere as much as possible.
  • Painful blisters in the genital region can be alleviated by a soak in a tepid bath and cold packs (not ice) applied to the contaminated region.


The herpes virus may have a part in the progression of cervical cancer and girls who’ve had herpes should have a cervical smear test frequently, rather every year.


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