Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that results in the manifestation of symptoms consisting of blisters that are painful. The viral infection can be severe and may affect the genitals and other areas of the body. The infection is easily transmitted through direct contact and can easily spread from one person to another. Getting rid of herpes is difficult because the viral infection has no known cures. But the main objective of treatment is controlling the occurrence of its symptoms using various forms of treatment and other natural cures that will cause the virus to live dormant in the body and prevent recurrences.
The herpes simplex virus outbreak
Herpes outbreak usually begins when the person gets infected by the virus by contact with oral secretions or the entrance of the virus to sores or break in the skin. It is easy to spread the virus even by sharing personal things. There are two types of HSV infection. The type 1 HSV is referred to as the oral herpes and the type 2 HSV as the genital herpes. Both of these types are highly contagious and differ in the modes of transmitting the infection. The type 1 HSV is transmitted through contact with the oral secretion while the type 2 HSV is transmitted during sexual activities, either genital or anal routes.
The viral infection easily spreads because the infected person does not know that they have herpes. About 8 out of 10 infected individuals are unaware that they are carriers of the virus because they have no symptoms. The virus may remain dormant in the body, but are usually triggered by certain conditions that cause the viral outbreak. These conditions include fatigue, illness, emotional and physical stress, trauma, and immune deficiencies.
Common symptoms of herpes
The moment that one contracted the virus, it may stay dormant in the body where it stays there inactive. At this stage, the infected person remains asymptomatic. Whenever certain conditions activate the virus, it travels to the nerve path and reaches the surface of the skin where the symptom begins to manifest and the herpes outbreak begins. The symptoms may begin to become apparent within weeks or months from the time that the virus becomes active. In some people with a strong immune system, the outbreak may occur years after the infection.
The initial symptom of the viral infection manifest as blisters that breaks out to the surface of the skin. It produces a raw and painful scabbing from the sores that form and may heal for over a week. Once the sores begin to show, the infected person may experience chills, fever and flu-like symptoms. At times, they may have a swollen lymph node. Once the virus surfaces on the skin, it can easily multiply and spread to the other parts of the body, causing blisters formation. More common symptoms of herpes are the following:
- Tingling sensation around the infected areas, especially in the genital region
- Painful sores
- Red, raw, and cracked skin with or without itching or pain around the genitals
- Painful sores from a broken skin
- Blisters around the mouth, rectum and genitals
In certain instances, the symptoms of herpes in females can be mistaken as vaginal yeast infection or other forms of bacterial infection. Getting the proper diagnosis is crucial for obtaining the proper treatment for herpes. Diagnosing herpes among pregnant women is also important because the virus can easily be passed on to the fetus during delivery. Seeing a medical practitioner immediately when the symptoms begin to manifest is important to learn about the course of the disease and to prevent the spread of infection.
There are different tests that a professional health provider can do in order to obtain the proper diagnosis for your condition. Aside from the symptoms, the presence of the herpes virus can be accurately confirmed by laboratory screenings like PRC blood test and cell culture. The blood test will indicate the presence of the herpes simplex virus even without any apparent symptom. The virus' DNA is detected and it is the most accurate form of herpes diagnosis. A cell culture is usually undertaken by taking a sample of the cells from the sores and the virus is identified under the microscope. Antibody tests can also be performed to detect the presence of the HSV in the body.
Treatment options for herpes
It is unfortunate that there is no known cure for herpes. The gold standard of treatment is to control the outbreak and keep the virus dormant in the body. However, the sores may clear within a few weeks, even without treatment, but there are remedies that you can use in order to prevent the herpes outbreak.
Antiviral medicines are commonly prescribed in order to control the spread of the virus. They come in the form of topical creams or lotion that can be applied to the sores and blisters to relieve the discomforts of pain and tingling sensation. Herbal cures are also available, such as olive oil, ice pack, baking soda, tea tree oil and the medicinal plant called Echinacea that is known for its anti-viral properties. You may find the need to consult your doctor immediately once your symptoms continue to recur and the symptoms becoming more severe.
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