Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Once this virus enters your body, it travels up to the nerve roots near the spinal cord and stays at this place forever. It can get reactivated when the immune system weakens. Under such circumstances, the virus replicates and travels along the nerves to the skin, thereby giving rise to blisters around the place that was affected during the first outbreak. The herpes simplex virus-1 causes blisters inside mouth, whereas herpes simplex virus-2 gives rise to blisters or sores in the genital region.
Symptoms of Oral Herpes
This infection is characterized by cold sores of fluid-filled blisters near the mouth, lips, gums, inside of the cheeks, roof of the mouth. The virus can get reactivated due to infections, fever, cold, allergies, sunburn, physical or mental stress, thereby giving rise to an outbreak. The stages of cold sores include:
- Tingling stage: Though there are no visible signs during this stage, the affected person experiences a tingling sensation on the lips and around the mouth. Before the blisters appear, one is also likely to experience redness, swelling, and soreness on the lips and around the mouth.
- Blister stage: As the name suggests, this stage is characterized by the formation of a small fluid-filled blister or clusters of blisters that join to form a large blister.
- Weeping stage: This is the stage when the blister bursts to form an ulcer, and fluid oozes from it.
- Scabbing stage: The ulcer scabs over. It might itch, bleed, or burn.
- Healing stage: The scab heals and peels off.
Besides the formation of blisters, the affected person is also likely to experience flu-like symptoms. Cold sores are contagious at all stages, but the chances of the virus getting transmitted to others are high during the time the fluid oozes from the blisters. Topical application of antiviral creams can certainly promote healing. One must follow precautionary measures so that others don't get infected.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
Herpes simplex virus-2 is the causal agent for this infection. Women affected by this infection develop blisters in the genital region. The symptoms include:
- Tingling sensation, itching, and redness in the initial stages
- Fluid-filled blisters around the vaginal opening, thighs, cervix, vulva, anus, or besides the buttocks
- Pain and burning sensation while urinating
- Change in the color and texture of vaginal discharge
- Muscle soreness, nausea, headaches, joint pain, fever
- Pressure in the abdominal region
The first outbreak is generally the most severe, but it can be treated with anti-viral medications. Generally, medicines such as Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, and Famciclovir are effective in alleviating the symptoms, but these must be taken as per the doctor's advice. Topical application of Denavir will also prove beneficial.
Once this virus enters the body, it lies in a dormant state in the body forever. It can get reactivated, if the immune system gets compromised due to stress or other illnesses. So, if you experience the aforementioned symptoms, seek medical help. Since this virus can get transmitted through physical contact, one must take precautionary measures.
: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.