By Jaydee Washington
The majority of the people are not aware of the fact that there are different kinds of herpes and, while they\'re essentially caused by the same strain of herpes simplex viruses, not all of them are spread through sexual intercourse. Just because you have herpes doesn\'t mean you got it through sex; even newborns get herpes either through their mother during birth, or if they\'re handled by people who have the virus.
Several strains of herpes simplex are the main reasons behind different herpes infections that affect several parts of the body. The more common ones affect the mouth and face (orofacial herpes), hands and occasionally toes (herpes whitlow), and the genitalia (genital herpes). The herpes simplex virus is generally classified into two types: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
Orofacial herpes infection is commonly caused by HSV-1, although recently, infections caused by HSV-2 are increasing. More commonly, it happens during childhood and it is often accompanied by a fever and ulcers. The infection usually goes into a primary stage, where pharyngitis may develop on the cheek and gums. Some people may also experience difficulty swallowing as well as swelling on the lymph nodes. Usually, primary HSV infections get resolved within two weeks. Once the primary infection resolves itself, the virus migrates to the neuron\'s cell body where it becomes latent. There may be a recurrence, though, depending on external factors. When such a recurrence occurs, it usually begins as a reddening of the infected skin\'s surrounding areas, eventually forming fluid-filled blisters that are usually found between the lips and skin, and the lip tissue itself. Oral herpes is sometimes called cold sores.
Genital herpes is caused by HSV-2, although it is not uncommon for HSV-1 to cause it. In this type of herpes infection, several inflamed blisters and papules, usually in clusters, form on the outer surface of the genitals. Resembling cold sores, they appear roughly four to seven days after the sexual interaction. Accompanying symptoms include itching, pain, and a burning feeling. There may also be discharge on the vagina or the penis, a fever, and swollen lymph nodes. After about two to three weeks, the lesions become crusty and then heal. After this time, the virus goes to the nerve ganglia where it lies dormant. A recurrence may happen after a year, where lesions occur after several symptoms.
For most cases of genital herpes, the symptoms are generally the same. There will be small, painful blisters filled with fluid on the affected area of the skin. The blisters are often preceded by pain or tingling (called prodomes) by a day or two. The symptoms may not start for some time after you\'ve been exposed to the virus, usually longer than 20 days. When they do start, however, they only last for about seven to ten days, after which the blisters break and ooze. A yellowish crust then develops and sloughs off. There is usually no scarring involved.
As mentioned before, the virus is chiefly transmitted through direct contact with an infected person. Touching, kissing, and sexual intercourse are the main ways of contracting the infection. It doesn\'t matter if the infected person is showing visible symptoms of the infection, like blisters or lesions, because they may still transmit the virus via their skin.
Unfortunately, there is no empirical cure for the herpes simplex virus (like most viruses), even though they usually clear up within two weeks without any form of treatment. The best that you can hope to do is alleviate the discomfort brought about by the symptoms.
Want to know more? You can read more tips on How to get rid of Herpes Simplex, plus information to get rid of practically anything else that ails you - from bad breath to telemarketers to cellulite - at http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com
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