Herpes is an extremely common infection caused by viruses that remain in the body for life while producing symptoms irregularly. There are two forms of herpes, herpes simplex virus type one (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type two (HSV-2) both of which can affect the oral and genital areas.
If you are experiencing symptoms of oral or genital herpes, it’s important to know you’re not alone. More than half of American adults have oral herpes and one in six have genital herpes.
Common Causes of Herpes
The HSV-1 virus can spread by close contact with others including kissing, sharing drinks, eating utensils, towels, razors and sharing lip balm.
Brief skin-to-skin contact is enough to spread the virus, so it is important to be cautious when you or someone close to you has symptoms of herpes.
The HSV-2 virus is associated with genital herpes and is usually spread through kissing or sexual contact with someone who has HSV-2. Although rare, expecting mothers may pass down herpes to their children during vaginal birth.
The herpes virus is most contagious when open sores exist. These sores may be moist-looking or leaking fluid, but HSV can be spread when no symptoms are present.
Indicators of Herpes
Oral herpes present themselves as cold sores in and around the mouth and last for a few weeks before fading away. Stress, illness, sun exposure and menstrual periods can trigger the virus to reveal symptoms.
Genital herpes present as swollen, tender glands in the pelvic area, throat and under the arms. It’s common to experience a fever, chills, headache and achy, flu-like feelings.
Treatments for Herpes
There is no cure for genital herpes, but the eruptions can be managed with medication. After the first outbreak, the herpes virus moves from the skin cells to the nerve cells and remains dormant until another outbreak occurs. Research suggests appropriate therapy may even decrease the chance for outbreaks and transmission.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be associated with herpes, a dermatologist in Carefree, Arizona can help diagnose the illness and provide ways to managing symptoms.