People have a common notion that herpes is a disease specifically acquired through sexual contact. But that isn’t entirely true. Simple direct skin contact may also cause herpes virus transmission. Some people also believe that the herpes virus may be passed on via inanimate objects like toilet seats, etc. Although the last idea may be highly unlikely due to the fragility of the virus itself. The herpes virus passes through tiny breaks in the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth and genital areas. Healthy skin acts as really good protective barriers against this infection. In cases of mucous membranes, even the slightest scrape or scratch is enough to expose the nerve endings into which the herpes virus entwines itself. This is the main reason why herpes infections usually manifest in areas where mucous membranes and normal skin merges. A good example is the corner of your mouth. The virus has been said to be passed on by sharing razors with an infected person. Unlike toilet seats, the virus can survive in the moist areas between the blades. This disease may also be passed from mother to infant during birth, however, most cases show that infants acquire the said condition after birth.
Herpes may be categorized into oral and genital herpes. Oral herpes are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1). They are commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. Fever blisters often appear as tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters on the face. These usually appear on the lips. Genital herpes, on the other hand, is caused by HSV-2 and is characterized by painful, itchy sores in the genital area.
People infected with this virus usually do not know they have it because it manifests no symptoms. Its manifestations may be too simple that I can go unnoticed. Most reported cases noted that the first outbreak was the worst. Some never get the outbreak again, and some experience it again after a very long time.
When one has herpes, be it on the mouth of the genital region, you will notice the presence of small, red bumps, blisters, or open sores in the infected area. These blisters will be very itchy and/or painful to the touch. These blisters will rupture and become ulcerations that will eventually turn into scabs and heal on its own.
There is no true cure for herpes, only preventive measures for future breakouts. Antiviral medications like acyclovir and other similar drugs help lessen the symptoms and frequency of cold sore recurrences. Proper care for blisters before and after eruption may help lessen the discomfort one may feel during periods of outbreaks.
A parody song of Britney Spear’s “Gimme More” discusses about the topic of herpes. The lines go like this: “ Every time you pull your pants down. You will know what I did that night with you. You’ve got blisters round that place now, it’ll start itching very soon.” It may sound funny hearing about it in a song, but it brings up a pretty good point about having careless, casual sex with strangers. Next time you think of getting it on with someone you just met, think twice if you’re ready for any complications it may bring.