What is Herpes?

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The first time I have consulted a doctor with my lips all covered with blisters and vesicles the only thing I had on my mind was “what is herpes and how can I get rid of it?” I immediately asked the doctor if there was any definitive cure the infection and this is what he answered: “Unfortunately dear, there is not a definitive cure for the herpes virus, because it infects nerve cells and hides in them. This means that no over-the-counter treatment can effectively remove it. You have to live with it.” However, not everyone will tell you that a lot of viruses, even the dangerous ones, when they cannot be remove from your body they can be still put in a stage where they are completely harmless.

If you want to know how to get rid of your herpes and don’t have to deal with constant outbreaks, you need to understand first what is herpes, what causes it, its symptoms and which types of herpes exist. The main symptom of the infection are fluid-filled blister or vesicles on the skin. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), a highly contagious infection that can cause discomfort and pain. The virus can be transmitted through direct or indirect contact and in the majority of the cases is transmitted through sexual activities, kisses or touching an infected person. But, it is also possible to get infected through toothbrushes, towels, glasses, napkins, lipsticks, cutlery or any object that may have been in contact previously with an infected person.

There are three different types of herpes:

Herpes labialis – generally known as cold sores, this type of herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 and causes the formation of fluid-filled blisters or vesicles on the lips and in the area around or inside the mouth. In some cases it is possible that they will spread also to the nose. The blisters can cause itch, pain and a strong discomfort on the infected area.

Genital herpes – this kind of herpes is caused from an infection of the herpes simplex virus type 2 and affects the genital area, glutes, anus and in some cases mouth and lips (if the infection comes from oral sex). The symptoms are the same as herpes labialis: small fluid-filled blisters which cause itch and pain on the area infected. Sometimes, you may also experience headaches, fever or painful urination.

Herpes zoster – commonly known as shingles, it is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is the virus that also causes chickenpox (varicella). Even if they share the same name, this kind of herpes is not caused by any type of herpes simplex virus. Herpes zoster causes the formation of a great number of small blisters in a small area, usually the chest or the back but it can also form on the neck and the hips. The skin rash often comes with fever, headaches and local pain.

The herpes virus tends to manifest during period of intense stress or when your immune system is weaker. When you get infected it is very important not to touch the infected area, until the blisters start forming crusts. Also, be very careful when you interact with people because the infection is very contagious.

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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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Herpes Genitalis

Herpes genitalis is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). This infection is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) and in a very large number of cases is asymptomatic. Herpes genitalis, also known as genital herpes, is more widespread among women than in men. This is because it is more easily for men to infect women than the opposite. In the last decades the number of reported cases of genital herpes have increased considerably especially among young adults of age 20-29. This is probably due to the increase promiscuity and not using protections.

herpes genitalis

Herpes genitalis symptoms and transmission

Herpes genitalis is transmitted through direct contact of the skin which in this particular case means sexual activities (vaginal, anal or oral) also the ones without penetration. You should be aware that the virus can be transmitted even if you are not showing any symptoms of infection. Most of the time it is people that have no clue they have been infected that end up spreading the infection to others.

The most common symptom of an infection is the manifestation of small fluid-filled blister on the skin which are going to eventually break open causing sore and crusts. Sometimes during the period of the outbreak it is possible to experience other symptoms like:

  • itching
  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • headaches
  • painful urination
  • tingling sensation

As you know now, this type of herpes can be transmitted also through oral sexual contact with an infected person. This means that is possible to transfer genital herpes from the genital area of one person to the oral area of another. It is also possible the opposite. A person infected with herpes labialis can transmit the virus to the genital area of another through oral sex. The use of condoms can reduce the risk of transmission but it will not assure complete prevention.

Herpes genitalis treatment

An important fact that you should know about herpes is that once you get infected the virus will hide inside the nervous system and stay there for all your life. This means that the virus is going to stay inside your body passing from dormant to active and causing constant outbreaks. If you are lucky you will have to deal with it only once a year, but in some cases the frequency is every month. The treatment that doctors prescribe every time you are going to experience an outbreak are always the same:

Creams – This specific cream are developed to relieve herpes symptoms and help to remove the infection. They have to be applied several times during the day until the outbreak is completely gone.

Antiviral medicines – These types of medication are not a cure but can make living with the condition easier. They help to reduce the strength and time of symptoms. The most prescribed antiviral medicine are acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir.

It is important that you know that there is no actual cure for the herpes simplex virus. Today there is not common medication that can reach the virus where it hides and eradicate it from the body. However, if you know the right method you can put the virus in a definitive dormant state where it is going to be inactive and not manifesting again. This means you are not going to experience any more outbreaks for the rest of your life.

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Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes is a very problematic viral infection that affects areas such as the penis, vagina, cervix (neck of the uterus), anus, gluteus and sometimes lips and mouth. The cause of this infection is the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) and very occasionally the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is the cause of herpes labialis.

genital herpes

How do you get genital herpes?

Genital herpes, also called herpes genitalis, can infect both men and women and is normally transmitted with the direct contact between private parts. This means that the virus is transmitted through sexual activities such as genital contact, sex, anal sex, exchange of body fluids or oral sex. In this case, it is possible that when one of the partners is infected with herpes labialis, practicing oral sex, the other partner is going to be infected in the genital parts. It is also possible the opposite, that one of the partner transmits genital herpes to the other partner’s mouth.

The transmission of the virus can also happen through indirect contact. Even if is less frequent, you can get infected through towels, cutlery, dirty toilets or infected bed sheets. This is why I suggest you to be extremely careful when using public bathrooms or some else’s personal belongings.

Genital herpes symptoms

The herpes virus can enter inside the body through breaks in the skin, small cuts or scrapes. Before the virus will manifest (it takes four to seven days after the infection) you may experience itch and/or formication on the skin and sometimes flu-like symptoms. In the most severe cases you may experience high fever, painful urination and inguinal swelling. Since all these symptoms are also common in other condition, genital herpes is sometimes mistaken for yeast or bladder infections.

The first rash is always the strongest. You will have fluid-filled blisters which eventually are going to break open and leave the skin very irritated and sore. Dry crusts will replace the blisters in few days but until then the skin is going to be open causing a lot of discomfort. Sometimes, the herpes can spread also to areas near the genitals, such as thighs and glutes. You have to keep in mind that even if the first outbreak is disappeared completely, herpes can always develop again. Usually, this will happen during periods of high stress or fatigue.

How to cure genital herpes

There are two possible treatments that doctors prescribe for the cure of genital herpes. They are based both on the same drugs which are acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir. You can find them in two possible ways:

Topical creams –  they are creams that can be applied to relieve the pain and help to remove the infection. These creams have to be applied several times during the day until the rash is completely gone. Usually they are prescribed together with oral antivirals medicine.

Antiviral medicines – these medicines can be used for suppressive treatments. They are sold in pills and help to slow the spread of the virus on the body and to fasten the recovery.

What they are not going to tell you is that these drugs are only effective to relieve symptoms and DO NOT cure herpes completely. Also, these medication have a lot of side effects and if you are going to take them every time you experience an outbreak they can also be dangerous for you. Some of their side effects are stomachache, weakness, lost of appetite and in the worst cases confusion, sense of agitation, irritability and fast heartbeat. You should know that there ways to cure herpes that do not involve the use of common medication and they are completely safe for you. These are natural remedies and they guarantee so solve your problem without having any side effect.

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