Herpes Simplex Types: 1 and 2

Nov 18, 2011 No Comments by

There are several strains of herpes viruses, with two forms of the herpes simplex virus. Herpes Simplex types 1 and 2 can both cause cold sore type symptoms around the mouth and genitals. The type 1 virus is commonly called oral herpes, and type 2 is typically referred to as genital herpes. These types of herpes simplex are also referred to as HSV-1 for Herpes Simplex Virus – Type 1, and HSV-2 for Herpes Simplex Virus – Type 2.

Other strains of herpes viruses include the herpes zoster virus, or chicken pox and shingles. It is also related to Epstein-Barr virus, and many other herpes strains.

Herpes Simplex Type 1

This oral form of the herpes simplex virus is a viral disease that typically manifests symptoms such as small blisters or cold sores on or around the lips. Often appearing in clusters, the sores are most often found on the lip and mouth area but they can actually show up on the chin and cheek area of the face, as well as on and in the nose. When the clusters of sores are focused outside of the lips and mouth it is referred to as oral-facial herpes.

The cold sores will generally begin as blisters, with the skin surrounding the area tender, red and swollen. Often the blisters will erupt, leaking a clear, very contagious fluid. Once the blisters erupt they will scab over and heal within about two weeks.

HSV-1 can be spread from anyone with an outbreak (evidenced by the fever blisters or cold sores) to anyone with a small cut or even a light scratch. This viral disease is almost always passed on through kissing, by someone touching a cold sore, or through sharing razors, or a toothbrush.

Adults with HSV-1 can easily infect infants and children when they are having an outbreak. Parents should keep relatives with any visible sores, pimples, or other signs of HSV-1 from kissing their children. Many people don’t realize that they have the viral disease and what they believe to be razor burn, bug bites, pimples, or a scratch, is actually HSV-1.

The cold sores or fever blisters on the face aren’t the only signs and symptoms of herpes simplex type one. The blisters and sores can show up on other areas of the body, they aren’t always on the face. Other symptoms of HSV-1 may include pain with no visible sores, swollen glands in the throat area, a sore throat, and fever. Because these symptoms are so typical of the flu and strep throat, people often don’t realize they are having an outbreak of HSV-1. A child infected with herpes will often drool before an outbreak.

The fever blisters and sores can be very painful. They can be so painful that patients will seek treatment from their doctor and this pain is first step in the doctor diagnosing herpes simplex.

At this time there is no cure for herpes simplex type 1. The cases can be very mild, in fact they can be so mild people don’t realize they have the disease, and while they have the virus, never get a cold sore. Or they can be very painful; flaring up anytime some one is under stress, over-heated, or sick from something else.

Herpes Simplex Type 2

Commonly referred to as genital herpes, herpes simplex virus type 2 or HSV-2 is a viral disease that has infected about one/fifth of the United States adult population. Highly contagious, it is important to note that a very high percentage of those infected with HSV-2 do not know they have genital herpes.

The physical symptoms of herpes simplex type 2 typically manifest on the genitals, buttocks, or anal area of the body. There is no cure for this disease that is generally transmitted during sexual contact. HSV-2 will cycle through resting periods and active outbreaks. When the viral disease is active it will surface on the skin or mucus membranes in the genital region, and then create copies of itself.

There may or may not be fever blisters or sores to signal to the infected person that the viral disease is active and that they are contagious during this time. The disease is spread if someone comes in contact with the infected skin during an outbreak.

There are other symptoms associated with herpes simplex type 2. These symptoms can include muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, fever, headaches, and burning or pain when urinating. However many people with HSV-2 don’t have any symptoms, and won’t know they have the disease and are contagious. Often mild symptoms will be mistaken for the flu, a bladder or urinary tract infection, or some other illness.

Once a person is infected the first active outbreak will appear as inflamed skin in the genital region. The area may be painful, itching and burning. Fever blisters may appear and release a clear fluid. Once the blisters have broken, they will scab over and heal in about ten days. These outbreak signs may be mistaken for ingrown hairs, pimples, a contact burn from energetic sex, or even a razor burn.

The first outbreak of herpes simplex virus type 2 physical symptoms can last for several weeks. Once the symptoms have gone away the virus migrates into the nerves and will stay there “resting” until the next physical flare up.

Click here for a quiz to access your risks for herpes simplex type 2.

Summary

Herpes simplex types 1 and 1 are viral diseases that are easily transmitted and that have no current cure. Both types of herpes simplex can be spread with no physical outbreak symptoms.

Basics, Types

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