In this article, I will try to explain to you how to protect yourself from herpes, what are the symptoms and more.
Herpes is an infection in the organism that is caused by a virus.
There are two types of viruses that cause herpes and lead to the appearance of two types of herpes as well.
Thus, there is oral herpes, which appears around the mouth, and genital herpes, which appears in intimate areas. Educating yourself about these viruses and types of herpes and taking all the precautions measures necessary, together with being transparent and honest with your partner, will help you stay away from contacting the virus responsible for herpes and from having to withstand its symptoms.
As mentioned previously, there are two types of herpes viruses, each responsible for triggering a certain type of herpes.
Thus, oral herpes, which is characterized by sores around the mouth, is caused by HSV-1, at least 80% of the cases.
The genital herpes is caused by the HSV-2 virus, also in a proportion of 80%.
In order to stay protected, you need to fully understand how these viruses can pass from one person to another.
Thus, the only way to get the herpes virus in your body is through fluids or coming in contact with infected skin.
For example, a broken herpes blister will spread the virus if you are not careful.
The virus can enter your body by kissing a person with oral herpes, through a scratch or wound on your body, or by sharing drinkware or utensils such as spoons or forks.
In the case of genital herpes, the virus is transmitted through unprotected intimate contact.
Because of this, genital herpes is considered a Sexually Transmitted Disease.
Believe it or not, the issue is relatively spread, as 1 in 6 people in the US, with ages between 14 and 49, were diagnosed with genital herpes.
To know whether you are dealing with herpes and how to protect yourself from herpes, you first need to know how to recognize the symptoms of the illness.
9 interesting facts about Herpes
1. Herpes is a generic name for a family of viruses with at least eight species that cause various diseases.
The most common strain is herpes, a rash of heat sores, but other strains of herpes can cause chickenpox, reddish, lymphoma, Oral cancer, and more.
2. Herpes of the lips is called simplex, and it attacks not only the lips (usually the upper lip) but also the area of the cheeks, nose, nostrils and sometimes other facial areas. It is caused by prolonged exposure to too high and temperature.
How can I get infected?
3. Because it is a virus that spreads easily and is transmitted to the skin with direct contact or with the help of “mediators” such as glasses and so on, it is very easy to get infected.
Studies have shown that, contrary to the prevailing assumption that it is possible to become infected with the virus only when it is visible, the opposite is true, and it can be infected even when the small pimples are only potential and have not yet been seen.
4. During the herpes outbreak, it is strictly forbidden to kiss babies and children, since in their case, herpes can cause irreversible injury, and sometimes even death (!).
Who might get infected, and when?
5. Two-thirds of the world’s population, between the ages of 18-50, carry the herpes virus.
6. Not everyone who carries the herpes virus will also get sick during his lifetime. It is possible to be a ‘passive’ carrier of the disease, without actually becoming ill.
7. The world’s best-known ointment for treating the herpes virus is Zovirax.
8. The inventor of the Zovirax ointment is a German researcher named Gertrude Elion, who in 1988 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
9. Herpes ‘blooms’ especially during the transition between summer and winter.
Symptoms of Herpes:
So, when it comes to oral herpes, the condition will manifest through skin lesions around the mouth, usually on the lips. These are called cold sores and should not be mistaken for canker sores, as the latter is formed on the inside of the mouth, never on the outside, and are caused by a different virus.
In the case of genital herpes, sores will appear in clusters around the genital area or even in the genital area.
Before disappearing, in most occasions, these sores that first appear as reddish spots will form blisters that will eventually break, oozing liquid that makes the risk of infection so high, and be covered in scabs before finally healing.
How soon will the sores appear after getting infected with the herpes virus?
The incubation period of the virus is very short and the sores will appear within a few days.
Thus, if you see the sores, then you can know that the infection was recent.
Also, symptoms that are similar to those triggered by flu are usually accompanying the first herpes outbreak.
After the first outbreak heals, the symptoms will recur, diminishing in intensity and frequency in time.
But, even so, it is worth mentioning that once you have the herpes virus, it will stick with you for the rest of your life, as there is no cure for this virus at the moment.
This means that you’ll have to deal with herpes outbreaks for the rest of your days.
Even so, there are cases in which a herpes virus will not manifest for years, remaining in a dormant state in the organism. When it will finally outburst, it is usually triggered by factors that affect the balance of the body, such as high levels of stress, fever, trauma, sunlight exposure, and other.
It is worth mentioning that in some cases, the herpes virus remains asymptomatic, meaning that the infected person will never show any symptoms. Or he or she may display mild symptoms.
But, no matter what kind of symptoms you present, you should never treat herpes lightly.
Pregnant women that have herpes may suffer miscarriages or they can transmit the virus to their babies, which can turn into a life-threatening problem.
Also, when the skin is affected by herpes sores, it will break easily, increasing the risk to contact other viruses, especially during sexual contact.
How to protect yourself from herpes?
The best way to stay safe from herpes is to always use protection during sexual intercourses and to limit your number of intimate partners.
Also, during a herpes outbreak, whether we are talking about oral or genital herpes, physical contact should be avoided. So, kissing is out of the question together with using kitchen utensils, such as cutlery or drinkware.
Ideally, a partner with herpes should be open and honest about his or her problem and let the partner know.
The herpes virus can be held in control with the help of good practices and precaution, so there’s nothing to be ashamed about.
If you don’t know whether your partner has herpes or not, it is highly recommended to use a condom as a way of protection.
It is worth mentioning that for a proper degree of protection, you should use condoms made out of polyurethane or latex. Also, using the condom all the time will prevent the virus from spreading, so it is a must to use it even when there is no herpes outbreak.
Have in mind that besides regular sex, oral and anal sexual intercourses are also ways of contacting the herpes virus.
Thus, protection methods must be used in these cases as well.
What to do during a herpes outbreak?
Well, while there is no cure, there are treatments that will help you out, by minimizing the symptoms and making them go away faster.
There are antiviral drugs recommended in the case of genital herpes and topical creams for oral herpes.
But, you will need to talk to your doctor about the best treatment in your case and utilize the indicated medication only during breakouts.
Using them as a prevention method will not work, as the treatment targets the symptoms and not the virus itself.
Once you got the herpes virus it will stay with you forever.
There is no cure for the herpes virus at the moment.
Protection is the key, always use protection while having sex with strangers!
Try to avoid using stranger’s people glasses and cutlery without washing them first.
In case that you carry the virus, you must be open about it and tell it to your partner.
There are very good treatments for dealing with the symptoms of herpes, consult your doctor about them.
I hope that now you know how to protect yourself from herpes.
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