Herpes Simplex

Herpes Simplex : Cause, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Herpes Simplex?

Herpes Simplex is common infection. It is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus. Infection caused by HSV as the Herpes Simplex virus called, affects face, mouth, buttocks, genitals and the anal area. There are two types of herpes simplex virus. HSV type 2 is the virus which generally causes genital herpes. During this infection, painful sores get formed on the genitals in both men and women. HSV type 1 cause cold sores in mouth which are commonly called “fever blisters”. Person gets infected by this virus after coming in contact with saliva of a person who is infected with HSV type 2. Herpes can not be cured; it can only be treated. Some people get the virus infection but do not have any symptoms. In other people, on the area where virus entered the body, painful blisters appear. This disease lies dormant in nerve cells. Symptoms of Herpes Simplex appear for briefly if one is having stress or illness and then disappear. When it is active and blisters are present then in that form it is more contagious. But it can be transmitted from one person to another even if there are no active lesions.

People who are taking immumo-suppressant drugs are at greater risk of contracting herpes simplex because of weak immune system of the body. There is other complication associated with Herpes Simplex. HSV can infect the eye too with a condition called herpes keratitis. A pregnant woman with herpes infection can deliver a infected baby as it will touch the infection at the time of birth.

Symptoms of Herpes Simplex:

Sign and symptoms of herpes simplex vary from person to person. There are only few noticeable symptoms which start appearing after 2 to 20 days of exposure to infection. Symptoms may take many weeks to clear off.

First episode of infection is usually very painful. The main symptom is outbreak fluid-filled blisters which are painful and itchy on the infected part. In case of genital herpes, these blisters are present on and around the genital area and in case of oral herpes, blisters are present near lip. Other symptoms that accompany are like in flu; fever, headache, fatigue, muscle ache, swollen and tender lymph glands in the groin.

These symptoms disappear within 2 to 10 days without any treatment but virus lay dormant in nerves cells until another trigger like stress, illness, sunburn, menstruation. There may 5 to 8 instances of outbreaks in a year but symptoms are less painful. Blisters are less in number and heal faster.

What is the Treatment for Herpes Simplex?

Herpes cannot be cured because if a drug is given to attack the virus while it is in dormant stage will also damage the nerve cells also. But for acute outbreaks, anti-viral medication is given it includes drugs like Acyclovir, Famcyclovir.

Any medication should be started immediately after first sign is visible. It controls the reproduction of virus in the initial outbreak. It lessens the frequency of outbreak in subsequent outbreaks.

People who have frequent cases of outbreaks are treated with long-term drug therapy. This is the suppressive treatment. It will help lessen the frequency of outbreak by 85 percent and reduce viral shedding up to 90%.

To prevent any secondary bacterial infection, topical antibiotic ointments are applied.

Other measure patient should take to more relaxed and comfortable and to treat herpes are as following:

Person should wear loose clothing, avoid excessive heat or sunlight, keep the sore area dry and clean. Avoid touching of sores and if you have touched them, wash your hands properly. To soothe the itching, place cool or lukewarm cloths on sore area for short periods. To relieve the pain, take aspirin, ibuprofen etc. Avoid use of perfumed soaps, sprays or deodorants.

Prevention of Herpes Simplex:

Herpes simplex virus can spread simply by touching any part of body after touching herpes sores. To avoid infection, wash your hands with soap and water after touching the sores as soon as possible. Avoid using towels, clothing and bed linen used by the infected person. Wash all the personal things like towel and cloths in boiling water.

If a woman is pregnant and has been exposed to herpes virus any time, she should tell the doctor so that doctor can take measures to prevent baby from getting infected with herpes at the time of birth.

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