Herpes simplex

Knowledge about

Herpes simplex, or just herpes, is a virus with small blisters or cold sores. Herpes can be irritating, bothersome and highly contagious, which is a bad combination. For those who have herpes outbreaks, it can often be a big burden.

Many people are affected by either herpes 1 or herpes 2, and the virus is one of the most widespread diseases. The vast majority have been infected with herpes, mostly in their childhood. The virus goes dormant in the body and remains in the body for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, many people never get more outbreaks  than the first one. The herpes virus will go dormant, and this way many will never have outbreaks of herpes for several years or, in the best case, for the rest of their lives. An unfortunate 20% will experience outbreaks in different intervals for the rest of their lives.

What is the difference between herpes 1 and herpes 2?

There are two different types of herpes. Herpes 1 is also known as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) /herpes labialis, while herpes 2 is known as herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)/herpes genitalis.

Herpes 1

Herpes 1/herpes labialis is the most common type and most often causes outbreaks of herpes on the face around the mouth, on the lips, inside the mouth and throat, around the eyes, nose or in other areas of the face. Herpes 1 can also cause breakouts and blisters on other parts of the body, although this is less common. There is no way to cure herpes simplex 1, you can only treat the outbreaks and alleviate the symptoms.

Herpes 2

Herpes 2/herpes genitalis is the second of the two types. The term herpes genitalis refers to the English term for genitals. This is because herpes genitalis causes blisters and sores on or in the genitals themselves, in and around the anus, on the inner thighs and on the buttocks. Herpes 2 affects some of the most private and intimate areas. Herpes 2 is not immediately visible to people around you when you are clothed. However, herpes 2 can also cause outbreaks on other parts of the body. There is also no way to cure herpes simplex 2. You can only treat the outbreaks and relieve the symptoms.

How do you get herpes simplex?

Herpes is usually transmitted by skin contact or mucous membrane contact between people. This can happen through kissing or sexual contact, and herpes can also be transmitted even if it is not in an outbreak. However, the risk of infection is greater when the virus is in an outbreak. Infection can also occur from mother and child during pregnancy, but this only happens in rare cases.

How herpes 1 is transmitted

Herpes simplex 1 is transmitted through kisses, close hugs and other skin-to-skin contact or mucosal contact. Therefore, it is also relatively easy to become infected with herpes type 1.

How herpes 2 is transmitted

Type 2 herpes is typically transmitted through sexual contact. The outbreaks are on and around the genitals, and therefore the infection typically takes place when the area comes into physical contact during sex. With oral sex, herpes type 2 can infect the person performing oral sex. On the other hand, much research suggests that a person with type 1 herpes cannot infect a person with type 2 herpes. This applies both to oral sex, kisses and other forms of contact that pose a potential risk of infection.

Herpes simplex is highly contagious

Herpes is a highly contagious virus, and therefore there are many people who are affected by one of the two forms. It is expected that approx. 20% of those who are infected get outbreaks, the rest are lucky and the herpes virus settles in their nerve pathways and goes dormant.

Many become infected with herpes before they reach the age of five. This is connected to the fact that children generally have more physical contact than adults do. Once you are infected with herpes, you cannot get rid of the virus again. It will remain in the body for life, and there is no cure or treatment for herpes simplex. On the other hand, it is completely harmless, although it can be both annoying and bothersome, and you will not necessarily experience repeated outbreaks throughout your life.

Is herpes simplex dangerous?

Fortunately, the short answer is no. Herpes can be inconvenient and a great nuisance, but it is not dangerous. Therefore, there is no reason to be worried or afraid if you become infected with the virus. At the same time, it is a good idea to protect yourself when you are having sex so you don´t get infected.  You can also treat your outbreaks so they don´t bother you so much.  This can be done both with means prescribed by your doctor or with over-the-counter creams. None of these remedies, neither prescription nor over-the-counter, can eliminate herpes, but they can help prevent, relieve, and speed up the healing process.

It is very different how often you experience herpes outbreaks when you are infected with herpes. Some experience very frequent outbreaks, while others are rarely or very rarely affected. Whether you experience frequent or infrequent breakouts, it is not dangerous.

Signs of herpes simplex

There are different symptoms of herpes simplex, and your symptoms may differ depending on whether you have herpes type 1 or type 2. The common signs of herpes simplex are often that you will feel soreness and pain in the skin, which in a few days develop into small fluid-filled, yellowish blisters that are tender, stinging and painful. After a few days, the blisters will form scabs before eventually falling off.

If it is the primary infection , which is the first time you ever experience a herpes break out, you may experience stronger and more painful symptoms. Fever, muscle pain and headache may occur, and there is also a risk of strep throat or corneal inflammation with type 1 herpes. Corneitis will manifest itself with symptoms such as pinching of the eye, hypersensitivity to light and pain in the eye. It can also cause reduced vision until the inflammation is treated. In the event of such symptoms in the eye, you must always contact your doctor.

With herpes type 2, women may experience increased discharge and burning when urinating if the small blisters are in the urethra. Men may experience similar symptoms at the penis. Both sexes can experience the symptoms around the anus. Herpes 2 can be very stressful and having herpes 2 in an outbreak can be extremely painful. Som people get large areas on the skin with sores and it can cause problems to sit og go by bike.

In addition, there is a more rare form of herpes, Herpes zoster, which is also known as shingles. It often appears as a rash over a large part of the body, which also turns into small blisters, and this can be extremely painful and some even experiencing fever. If you have herpes zoster it is important to contact your doctor in order to get some remedies to relieve the symptoms.

Is herpes simplex an STD? (Sexually Transmitted Disease) we will answer ; Yes and no. Herpes simplex type 2, also known as herpes 2/ HSV-2/herpes genitalis is characterized as a sexually transmitted disease. Herpes 1, on the other hand, is not a sexually transmitted disease. Herpes 2 is a very common sexually transmitted disease.

Outbreaks of herpes 2 typically occur on the genitals, more precisely on the penis or in and around the vagina, at the anus and on the buttocks and inner thighs. However, herpes 2 can also in rarer cases cause outbreaks on other parts of the body.

What is the difference between cold sores and herpes simplex?

Basically, there is no difference between herpes 1 and cold sores. Herpes simplex type 1 is also colloquially called cold sores. However, herpes simplex type 1 can also cause blisters and outbreaks elsewhere than on the lips and around the mouth, and therefore herpes 1 is a more inclusive term.

What is the difference between herpes and herpes simplex?

Herpes and herpes simplex are the same. Herpes is the term we typically use for the virus, while herpes simplex; herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 are the more medical terms for the virus.