What does herpes look like?

Herpes is today a very common infection and knowing how it looks like in each one of his stages is very important if you want to find a way to defeat it. Herpes is caused by the the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and it is spread through skin contact. It has four main stages and it will be extremely contagious as soon as it forms on the skin. There are two types of virus and they cause the formation of herpes in two different parts of the body. The HSV-1 or oral herpes affects the area around and inside the mouth. The HSV-2 or herpes genitalis causes the formation of herpes in the genital area.

what does herpes look like

Herpes symptoms

Before you notice any sign of the infection it is quite common to experience one of more of this herpes symptoms before the virus will show on your skin:

  • itching
  • tingling
  • burning
  • swelling

At this stage herpes will not be visible but it will still possible to transmit the virus to others. Actually this is the moment where the virus is transmitted more easily because the person may not be aware of the infection. The second stage is what is called herpes outbreak. At this point small red bumps or fluid-filled blisters will start growing on the skin. You may experience pain and is some cases flu-like symptoms and headaches. This is the stage when the virus is the most contagious.

After few day blisters has formed they will eventually break open and will give way to small crusts. The crust will slowly heal in some weeks and replaced with new skin. This is the last stage. After this moment the virus will still remain inside the body but it will no longer be contagious.

How to kill herpes

Once the HSV has entered inside your body it heads straight to nerve cells. Then it is going to remain dormant until some event will activate it. Periods of high stress or fatigue, illness, seasonal changes, dehydration or sunburn can all be triggers and activate the virus. When this happens, the way doctors will handle it is prescribing you antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir or valacyclovir. What these medication do is to slow the growth and spread of the HSV so that your body can fight the infection.

Something that you should know about the herpes simplex virus is that there is no way to eliminate it from your body once you are infected. Common medication allows you only to cure outbreaks but they do not kill the HSV. This means that the virus is going to form again in the future any time some event triggers it. The only way to stop this from happening is to make sure the virus will stay permanently inactive. If you don’t succeed in this you will have to deal with recurrent outbreaks for the rest of your life.

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Herpes Labialis

Herpes labialis or cold sores is a common infection that causes the growth of small fluid-filled blisters on the lips or around them, on the mouth and other areas of the face like the nose. The infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and in some particular cases by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). You should know that the herpes simplex 1 is the virus which causes oral herpes while herpes simplex 2 is the one behind genital herpes.

herpes labialis

Herpes labialis symptoms

The first symptoms of an infection from HSV are sore, itchiness and the redness of the skin. After few days you have these symptoms, you will notice the formation of small pimples that eventually will become fluid-filled blisters. The fluid is clear at the beginning but it will become more yellow as the time passes. After other few days the blister are going to break open and heal slowly leaving you with some small crusts that will go away in about a week. Some symptoms you may have during the outbreak are headache, fever or nasuea.

What causes Herpes Labialis?

The herpes virus after it has infected the body, it lies dormant inside nerve cells until some events trigger its manifestation. Normally, the virus manifest on the skin in period of high level of stress or fatigue. This is because during these times our immune system is weaker than the normal. This is why it is also possible to experience herpes outbreaks in case of fever, menstruation, dehydration, when there are seasonal changes or very high or low temperature.

Herpes Labialis transmission:

The most common way to get infected with herpes labialis is through saliva. An infected person can transmit the infection just talking very close to another one. The easiest way to transmit the virus is through kisses. When the virus is going to manifest on the skin with blisters and vesicles I strongly suggest you to not touch the infected area and to be very careful when interacting with other people. This is because during this phase it is very easy to transmit the virus and infect others. I suggest you not to get in direct contact or talk too close to anyone until the blisters have been replaced with crusts.

Another way to transmit the virus is through indirect contact. For example, just touching an object previously handled by an infected person such as a towel or cutlery could be enough to get infected. As I previously mention, it is also possible to cause herpes labialis through the transmission of the HSV-2 which is the virus that cause genital herpes. This happens in the case you have oral intercourse with an infected partner. Since, this type of herpes can be sometimes asymptomatic you should be very careful if you are not too familiar with the person.

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