Herpes is a common disease caused by the HSV (herpes simplex virus) and it is believed by many that unprotected sexual intercourse causes it, though other conditions also contribute to getting it. Herpes affects several parts of the body; the common parts being the external genitalia, mucosal surfaces, the skin and the anal region.
The important part of Herpes to note is the fact the disease is life long and some people can be asymptomatic (people who carry the virus but exhibit no symptoms), making unplanned sexual intercourse risky.
Herpes can be transmitted through the moist skin openings like the mouth, genitals and the anus, where the HSV will be present in an infected person. Herpes could spread to the eyes and other areas of the skin.
Physical contact is enough to make a person contract Herpes. The known ways a person can contract herpes are:
- vaginal sex without protection
- anal sexwithout protection
- sharing sex toys
- having genital contact with an infected person
- oral sex with a person who hascold sores
Herpes is can be transmitted when the blisters aren’t visible yet, when they are visible, and even when blisters heal completely. Though its less likely, HSV can still be transmitted to another person even when there no signs of an outbreak through an asymptomatic person.
A baby could contract herpes if the mother still has open sores from herpes while giving birth. A disturbing thought indeed!
The first and prominent symptom of herpes are sores. Sores can be evident on the skin, genitalia and in the anal area.
Other symptoms of Herpes are ulcers, blisters, cold sores, vaginal discharge and pain while urinating. Home remedies and medication can help you reduce the symptoms but as of now, there is no cure for herpes.
Symptoms do not appear for months or years after someone is infected, making it difficult to know if and when one is infected without seeking medical diagnosis. In some cases, the symptoms become noticeable 4 days after exposure, which is considered to be in the initial period. The average duration for the initial period is 2-12 days.
Those who are infected with herpes for the first time will face recurrences frequently. The occurrence will be less severe and remission periods gradually extend over time.
An outbreak of genital herpes that takes place when one is first infected is called the primary infection. The symptoms can be severe to some and could include:
- tender, enlarged lymph nodes
- vaginal discharge
- sensation of pain and itching
- blisters and ulceration on external genitalia, in the vagina, or on the cervix
- high temperature (fever)
- red blisters on the skin
- pain when urinating
- malaise (feeling unwell)
- cold sores around the mouth
Most of the time the ulcers will heal naturally and won’t exhibit permanent scaring.
Recurrent infection symptoms
For recurrent infections, the symptoms have a tendency of being less severe and usually last for no more than 10 days.
These symptoms are:
- reddish blisters
- burning or tingling sensations around genitals before blisters appear
- blisters and ulceration found on the cervix
- cold sores around the mouth areas
Over time, the recurrences become less frequent and the symptoms become less severe.
Seeking medical attention is a must to properly and effectively treat the symptoms of herpes.
Simple home remedies that help deal with herpes include:
- abstinence from sexual activity until symptoms clear up
- apply ice pack to the irritated area, but wrap it with a towel first.
- avoid wearing constrictive clothing around the affected area
- ensure hands are washed thoroughly on a frequent basis
- get prescribed medication from clinics
- a bath in lightly salted water may provide some relief
- gently apply petroleum jelly to the affected areas
- sit in a warm sitz bath
Note: Certain conditions may bring on symptoms of herpes, e.g., extreme tiredness, skin friction on affected areas, stress or even exposure to the sun. Identifying these triggers will help reduce frequent recurrence.
Lastly, another solution is to avoid having unprotected sex to prevent herpes, since there is no cure for it. Like many other diseases, prevention is the best cure.
5th May 19:21