What is herpes?

Knowledge about

You may have heard of herpes, which is a widespread ailment all over the world. Herpes simplex virus, HSV, is a virus that usually appears as small blisters or cold sores that occur within a small area. There are two types of HSV Herpes Simplex Virus, they are called HSV1, herpes 1 and HSV 2 herpes 2.

HSV-1 develops into cold sores and is known as herpes labialis (labialis is Latin for lip). HSV-2 appears on the genitals and is known as herpes genitalis (genitalis is Latin for genitals). Virus is found in the small blisters that appear when the virus is in an outbreak. An outbreak often occurs when you are a bit stressed because you are going to perform for an exam or when you are going to a big and important party. It can be very socially disabling to have a big sore on the lips or around the mouth, no one wants to give a kiss.

Most of the world’s adult population has HSV in their bodies, up to 80% are having antibodies against herpes. Of these 80% only 20% are burdened by outbreaks of varying incidence. The majority will never experience any symptoms or ever know that they have herpes dormant in their nerves. Nobody knows what causes you to become a part of the unlucky 20% that gets the outbreaks or why you don´t.

Where can you get herpes?

Type 1 HSV, herpes labialis is best known as cold sores on the lips, but can also occur on the face, throat, mouth, nose and eyes. These sores are also herpes labialis and shows as a sore with blisters. The first time you get a herpes outbreak is called the Primary infection and is characterized by being more severe and you might get flu-like symptoms with fever and general malaise. You may experience blisters and sores in the mouth and elsewhere. The vast majority get the primary infection before they are 5 years old. Normally the children have been infected by someone with an outbreak of herpes and many of the adults are not aware that it is herpes.

Type 2 HSV, genital herpes, is herpes on the genitals and usually settles on the external genitalia, buttocks and inner thighs, and it will appear as small blisters that can be extremely painful. At the same time, the genitals will be sore, red and swollen. Typically it subsides after 2-3 weeks. You might be affected by Genital herpes around the anus and in and around the vagina, in both of these cases it can be very painful and difficult to treat and keep clean to avoid further infection. If you are severely affected, it is advisable to contact your doctor. Herpes 2 is detected in adults, fortunately, we rarely see herpes type 2 in children.

How do you get herpes?

Herpes infection typically occurs through direct skin contact or mucosal contact between people. Most often it happens when people kiss or have sexual contact. Herpes does not need to be in an outbreak to be contagious, but the risk of infection is much higher during outbreaks on the skin or the genitals. When you become infected for the first time, it is called the primary infection. HSV finds its way down to the nerve cells, where it goes dormant and remains for the rest of the life of the infected person.  This does not mean that you will have frequent outbreaks, as the herpes virus can lie dormant for a long time. Your immune system notices that it is present in the body, but only 20% of the infected experience a recurring outbreak – most often 2-3 times a year.

Herpes outbreaks

When herpes flares up again various factors can be the cause. This may be due to: Skin damage, upper respiratory infections, a weakened immune system, drying out your lips, strong sunlight, stress hormonal changes, such as during a woman’s period.

What does herpes look like?

Herpes on the lip will appear as a sore around the mouth. When herpes simplex attacks the cells of the epidermis, it will form a sore with blisters, which just looks like a cold sore. Often the healing process takes 1-2 weeks without treatment and the wound forms a crust upon the small blisters that will fall off after 8 to 10 days. Herpes on the body can be more difficult to see, both because it does not appear as a sore and because it is on the genitals. The herpes virus will also appear as small blisters that can be extremely painful, and at the same time the external genitalia can swell, become red and sore. Penile herpes will also appear with small blisters, redness and swelling.

Herpes symptoms

You can feel a herpes outbreak coming. There are several symptoms of herpes that you must be aware of. Knowing these signs you can seize the opportunity to use a preventive treatment and prevent the outbreak in becoming very large and lasting for a ling time. The primary infection will cause symptoms such as pain, small blisters and open sores in the mouth, on the skin or on the genitals. At the same time, you may experience a fever, and if you have herpes in the palate or mouth, it can also result in sore throat.The next time you have a herpes outbreak, i.e. when type 1 HSV is reactivated, you will usually feel a tingling tenderness on the skin where the outbreak is coming. It is in this very first early phase that you have the greatest opportunity to stop the outbreak by using QUR Medical Herpes Gel. Put on the skin as soon as possible and use as often as you like, there are no restrictions. In this phase, where the virus is multiplying, you can relieve the pain and discomfort of the outbreak and make sure it doesn’t get big by using QUR Herpes Gel. If you get herpes in the eye, it might result in corneal inflammation, which will cause pain in the eye, lightheadedness and pinching of your eye. You may also experience reduced vision, as the function of the cornea is reduced. If you experience these symptoms, you must contact your doctor urgently because your vision may be in danger.         Having Herpes 2, the symptoms will typically be blisters and sores on the genitals as well as tenderness and redness in the area. At the same time, it can also cause burning and tenderness in the urinary tract.

How long does a herpes outbreak last?

It is difficult to predict how long you will have to wait for your herpes outbreak to disappear. However, it will take approximately 1-2 weeks from the outbreak of herpes until it is gone. And luckily it will leave no scar if the sore does not get infected by bacteria.     If you are going to touch the sore, you must remember to wash your hands, as you can spread herpes to other places on the body or get bacteria in the sore.

Can herpes disappear on its own?

 It would be nice if herpes could disappear after an outbreak, unfortunately this is not the case because the virus settles in the body’s nerve cells, it will live in the body for the rest of your life. Fortunately, this does not mean that it will break out, as up to 80% only experience the very first infection called “the primary infection”, after which the herpes virus will go dormant for the rest of their lives. Everybody can get herpes, and therefore it is important to take precautions if you want to avoid getting infected. However, this is a widespread disease, and the vast majority of the population is infected. Luckily many develop antibodies and therefore do not feel the disease at all.

Herpes treatment

If you have herpes, there are good options for treatment. There is both the option of medical treatment through your own doctor or by using preventive means that do not require a prescription. These remedies can minimize a future outbreak if you start the treatment as soon as you feel the very first symptoms. Regarding medical treatment through prescription drugs, there is the possibility of both symptom relief, prevention of a secondary infection and prevention of infection. This type of treatment must be done through your own doctor. Antiviral medicine is given by the doctor and must be taken with care as they are not without side effects. These types of medicine are effective in the very first phase of an outbreak, when the virus multiplies. You must therefore be prepared to buy the medicine in advance. If you first must get an appointment with the doctor, have a prescription and then go to the pharmacy, a few days have quickly passed and then the effective phase has been missed. Antiviral agents work by inhibiting the ability of the virus to multiply, and herpes only do this in the first phase, in the stage where blisters form. Over-the-counter treatments are milder products that can help with faster healing time, pain relief and prevention. These agents also work most effectively at the start of an outbreak in the virus’s multiplication phase. In later stages, they are still having a soothing effect and help the skin to heal again.