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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