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Two type of herpes simplex virus exist and they are HSV-1 and HSV-2. These viruses are otherwise known as Human herpes virus and both of them fall under the herpes virus family called Herpesviridae. Herpes simplex virus 1 is the main cause of the occurrence of cold sores while herpes simplex virus 2 is the cause of genital herpes. Both of these viruses are highly contagious.

Herpes simplex virus specifications

According to the data, herpes simplex is a viral infection that is seen quite a lot among people. Cold sores of fever blisters are the main characteristic of this virus but there are some patients who never experience an outbreak of these blisters even though they have the virus. On the other hand, a majority of those who are infected experience these outbreaks several times per year. The good thing is that every outbreak is not as bad as the one before. Apart from cold sores and fever blisters, other names for these outbreaks are oral herpes, mouth herpes and herpes simplex labialis. The virus can spread from one person to another even in situations when the already infected person is not experiencing an outbreak.

Every person can get infected with the virus but herpes simplex type 1 is more seen in children and infants. Skin-to-skin contact is one of the ways the virus can spread. Apart from that way, the virus can also be transferred to another person by a kiss, from using the same utensil for eating or even by sharing the same towel. On the other hand, herpes simplex type 2 gets transferred through sexual contact. The data claims that more than 20% of all the sexually active people in the United States are infected with this type of herpes simplex virus. Even though anyone can get infected with this virus, there are those who are more prone to it. Women are more prone to it than men, especially women who had a lot of sexual partners or had their first sexual experience when they were young. A person with a sexually transmitted disease or an immune system that is not that strong because of some medicine or a disease is also more likely to get infected. It is often seen that the baby got the infection from the mother at birth. The situation can even get worse if the baby is born at the time when the mother is experiencing the first episode of genital herpes as the baby is then in real danger of potentially severe problems.

Due to the fact that there is no known cure for herpes simplex virus, a person who gets infected will carry it in his or her body for the rest of the life. Before the first outbreak of fever blisters the virus is located in the cells of the skin. However, after the outbreak the virus changes location and can be found in the nerve cells, from where it never moves. Once it gets to the nerve cells the virus goes to sleep but it can become active once again. Certain factors are known to wake up the virus. Some of the most often seen factors are stress, illness, fever, exposure to the sun, menstrual periods and even surgery in some patients.

How is herpes simplex diagnosed

The virus is usually diagnosed for the first time when an outbreak occurs. At that time, the doctor is able to diagnose the condition just by taking a good look at the blisters. In order for the proper diagnosis to be made, the doctor will get a sample from the sore and send this sample to the laboratory. In situations when the blisters are not present there are other ways in which the virus can be diagnosed. A fair number of tests exist that can diagnose herpes simplex virus but a blood test is used most often.

Since the cure for the virus does not exist, the actual treatment focuses on getting rid of the sores as quickly as possible. The sores tend to clear on their own but there are lots of ways in which the patient can speed that process. Due to the fact that fever blisters are not a pretty sight and on top of that cause a lot of pain, most patients prefer to treat them. The use of antiviral medicine is the most often used way of treating the blisters. Itching, burning and tingling are the sensations that almost every person feels when an outbreak occurs. All of these sensations are effectively treated with the use of antiviral creams or ointments. Apart from the creams and ointments, pills can be taken and even shots can be given. Acyclovir, famciclovir and Valacyclovir are some of the antiviral medicines that can be prescribed and will treat the outbreaks caused by both types of herpes simplex.

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