Herpes is a painful skin condition that results from infection with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), causing sores or blisters around the mouth or genitals along with other symptoms. The virus has 2 types. HSV-1 is oral herpes affecting the mouth and surrounding skin but it may also affect genitals. HSV-2 is genital herpes and it is sexually transmitted.
Herpes is a very common virus. According to WHO, 67% people under the age of 50 years have HSV-1 and 13% have HSV-2. Because of the nature of the virus, herpes is challenging to cure. The virus hides in nerve cells for long periods before reappearing and reactivating. Unfortunately, there is no complete cure to it. Treatments might help manage symptoms and reduce recurring outbreaks and transmissions to partners.
The virus dies quickly outside the human body lasting just a few minutes. So, it can be washed away with soap and water.
Sometimes sores from herpes leave scars if they are rubbed, scratched or washed aggressively. In this case you need to visit the Best Skin Specialist in Karachi, they will prescribe you a treatment regimen to get rid of the scars.
Herpes appears on the skin with white, yellow or red translucent bumps or sores, filled with clear liquid. These bumps, sores or blisters are primarily observed in a bunch. The blisters then burst and become small painful sores. It may also spread to other areas of the body upon touching. Viral shedding may also occur in absence of blisters. Genital herpes does not spread on contact with objects such as door knobs, toilet seats or towels.
Some cases of herpes can be asymptomatic. Symptoms usually start after two to twelve days of exposure to the virus. A person may also have flu-like symptoms, fever, aching body and swollen glands.
After four to six days, the sores start leaking white or red fluid. Healing starts when a crust starts to form on them which may take a week or two. Other symptoms include:
- Tingling burning sensation around mouth.
- Eye infection
- Painful itching around genitals, rectum and mouth.
- Painful or burning sensation while urinating.
- Discharge from urethra or vagina.
- Pain in legs or buttocks
Your doctor can diagnose herpes by taking a look at it or a swab test from the sores. It can also be detected on a blood test, without any symptoms, if you have the virus’s antibodies.
As there is no proper cure for HSV, the symptoms are treated with antiviral medicines. These medicines relieve pain and discomfort, aid quick healing and prevent future outbreaks.
Recurrent outbreaks heal more quickly, in about three to seven days. Usually they are without fever or swelling on the mouth or genital area. If your outbreaks become frequent or sores do not heal properly, consult a dermatologist via oladoc.com to seek immediate treatment.
Both types of herpes are highly contagious especially when sores are present, but it can also be transmitted when a person does not have any visible symptoms.
The infection rate in women (one in four) is greater than men (one in five). Reason behind the high infection rate in women is that viruses can infect women’s genitals more easily than men’s. People with open herpes sores are also at a greater risk of being contracted with HIV as compared to people without herpes.
Another dangerous aspect is that if a mother has HSV2 during pregnancy, it can be passed on to the baby during vaginal delivery. This can be fatal for the new born baby because their immune system is not fully developed. Virus flare up during pregnancy is dangerous as it increases the risk of premature labour and the fetus can get a deadly infection in the womb.
As there is no cure to HSV, people have it forever. Acyclovir is an antiviral that is sometimes used to prevent outbreaks.
Sexually active people must get themselves routinely checked up for STDs as it is transmitted sexually most of the time. Using barrier protection generally and abstinence from intercourse during an outbreak might save a person from catching herpes, if their partner is a known carrier. The virus becomes more common as people age. So, taking precautions is the best thing to do.