Herpes is a virus that has several variations. There are a few main herpes causes, but essentially the virus is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact.
The HSV-1 variant of herpes is the one that usually causes cold sores. This virus can be transmitted to the genitals via oral sex. The main herpes causes for this kind of outbreak are contact with broken parts of the skin, and a suppressed immune system.
The HSV-2 variant is the most common of herpes causes for genital herpes. This is a very contagious version of herpes, and it can be spread through skin-to-skin contact and sexual contact, even if there are no visible open sores at the time.
Herpes dies very quickly outside of the body, so it is not possible to spread the virus through towels, public toilets, or other items that have been used by an infected person. However, sine a huge percentage of the population is infected with herpes, it is possible to catch the virus through contact with someone who is showing no symptoms.
Preventing the Spread of Herpes
HSV-1 is more likely to spread if someone has an active cold sore. Therefore, people who are showing symptoms of infection should avoid close contact with others while the infection is active. For most people, this simply means no kissing and sexual contact while they have an active cold sore, however, close contact sports such as wrestling, where head on body contact may be a requirement, should also be avoided.
Once someone has had a herpes infection, the virus is likely to remain in their body for a very long time, potentially even going dormant for the rest of their lives. If their immune system ever weakens, then a fresh outbreak is possible. Recurrent outbreaks of oral herpes are the most likely. Some people find that they suffer from them whenever they are stressed, run down or tired. Others can go years without ever having an outbreak.
When an outbreak occurs, it is usually treated with a topical application of an antiviral cream. These creams can be applied as soon as the skin starts to tingle, and will prevent the sore from becoming visible. If the sore does become visible then it can take longer for the cream to take effect.
People who have outbreaks of herpes should not give blood while they are receiving treatment for their symptoms.
Herpes is incredibly common, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Because it can be spread between people even if the carrier has never suffered from symptoms themselves, there is no real easy way of stopping the condition from spreading. The only thing that can be done is to ensure that you behave responsibly when you do get it.
For most people, herpes is simply an irritation and a little embarrassing. By itself, it is not dangerous for an otherwise healthy person. However, if you have a weak immune system then a herpes outbreak may be a more troubling thing.
Other Types of Herpes
In addition to the two main types of herpes, there are six other variations, including one which causes shingles, and the Epstein-Barr virus. These are very different infections to cold sores and genital warts, and can be incredibly serious. Epstein-Barr causes glandular fever, which is an infection that causes severe fatigue. It is often called the ‘kissing disease’ because it spreads through oral contact.
Just as with other herpes variants, both shingles and glandular fever are conditions that will lie dormant in your body for the rest of your life one you have had them once. They can return at any time. The best way to fight off outbreaks is to try to stay as healthy as possible, eat a good diet and get plenty of rest. A weak immune system, stress, and lack of sleep can make outbreaks more likely. A lot of people go undiagnosed with glandular fever, writing it off as a case of the flu or something else similar. If you have any concerns about your health in general, then you should talk to a doctor and ask for advice as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis…