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What To Expect After Contracting The Herpes Virus

June 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 179

It is a fact of reality that by age 50, 80-90% of people will have contracted HSV-1, commonly referred to as oral herpes. HSV-2, or genital herpes, affects one in every six people in America. Both viruses never leave the body and remain throughout the person's life in a latent (dormant) state until varying triggers cause the familiar cold sores or fever blisters to reemerge. Since so many people are likely to contract one or both of these viruses in their lifetime, what are the symptoms, and when are they going to occur after the initial infection?

Oral Herpes

HSV-1 creates painful sores around the areas of lips, inside and outside mouth, tongue, and gums. The virus can be spread to children by touching infected adults through cuts, abrasions, or breaks in the skin as well mucous membranes. For children, the adult need not be showing signs of the virus (cold sores) to contract HSV-1, only to come into contact with broken skin on the child. Adolescents and adults generally contract the virus through direct skin contact with the infection by kissing or sexual contact.

There are three stages of infection known as the primary infection, latency, and recurrence. In the primary infection stage, the virus enters the body, reproduces itself, and causes symptoms seen visibly as sores or fever blisters. After the sores have healed, the virus moves into the latency period. Here it lies dormant in the central nervous system for an undetermined amount of time. Then, due to triggers such as emotional or physical stress, the virus becomes active in the "recurrence" stage and causes oral sores and fever once again (although generally not as severe as the first infection).

The time between the contact of the virus and the appearance of the symptoms in oral herpes is generally two to twelve days. For most people, the average is four days. The symptoms of illness (cold sores) can last for two to three weeks. Fever, tiredness, sores, muscle ache and irritation around the sores may occur. The indication that recurrence is about to happen usually starts with tingling and itching at the infected area, followed by cold sores or fever blisters. These sores contain the active virus and may appear as a tiny grey or yellow lesion on a red base. After a few days, the blisters appear dried and scabbed. Finally the scab will fall away and a simple red mark will remain until the infection is completely over. Fortunately, the blisters do not leave scars. These symptoms generally last several weeks. The sores may cause pain which can affect eating and drinking. The sore may extend from around the mouth to chin and neck. The gums may be infected and bleed. Neck lymph nodes may also be painful due to swelling.

Genital Herpes

HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease that creates skin blisters around the genitals and anal area. In many cases, this type of virus will not create any symptoms, so people may be unaware that they have been infected. Or the symptoms will be so mild that the person will mistake the blisters for insect bites or other skin conditions. Certain individuals will not have a "first episode" until years after the initial infection. Just as with HSV-1, the virus will remain dormant in the central nervous system, becoming active through varying triggers. However, HSV-2 sufferers tend to experience more outbreaks throughout their life than HSV-1 carriers.

People who have been affected by genital herpes will have discomfort even though they may not find any external symptoms. Generally, they feel pain and itching around the genitals, then, after a few days, sores may appear. The symptoms and signs of incubation can vary from two to twenty days. In males, the genital herpes usually form around the penis. For women, the herpes sores may be visible around the vagina, but most commonly the sores form inside the vagina causing discharge. Both men and women can experience other signs such as fever, headache, muscle ache, and painful urination.

If you are concerned you may have come into contact with either of the herpes simplex viruses, it is important to see a doctor to confirm the condition. Although once contracted the virus cannot be removed from the body, your physician can help you find treatments to help you live with the symptoms and avoid transmitting it to others.

Intown Primary CareAtlanta, Georgia

Intown Primary Care Atlanta, Georgia

Source: EzineArticles
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