is a common viral infection. It causes Oral herpes (cold sores or fever blisters), and Genital herpes (genital sores).
There are two herpes simplex viruses
- Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV–1).
- Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV–2).
These viruses look identical under the microscope, and either type can infect the mouth or genitals. Most commonly, however, HSV–1 occurs above the waist, and HSV–2 below.
The body’s natural defense system is called “The Immune Responses”. Whenever herpes attacks the immune system, the body fights back against this menace. As the battle grows more intense, there are heavy losses by both the herpes virus and the immune system. This causes the body to be less able to defend itself from attacks by other viruses. For those very reasons, a herpes patient should try to keep the herpes virus under control at all times.
- Take care of the affected skin area. Keep the area dry and clean during outbreaks to help healing.
- Avoid physical contact with the area from the time of the first symptoms (tingling, itching, burning) until all sores are completely healed, not just scabbed–over.
- Prevent self–infection to other areas of your body. Wash your hands with soap and water if you touch a sore. Better yet, don’t touch the sores.
- Prospective parents: If either mother or father has genital herpes, or any of the mother’s previous sexual partners had genital herpes, tell your doctor about it.
- Women with genital herpes: Don’t skip your annual Pap smear.
Inform yourself about herpes. For many, diagnosis with herpes can mean a time of confusion, anger, fear and frustration. For many, it seems there is no place to turn for help in dealing with the sensitive aspects of herpes infection. There is help available. See a doctor while symptoms are still present. The doctor will look at the area, take a sample from the sore(s) and test to see if the herpes virus is present. The test you should request is a specific virus culture or assay for herpes virus. Remember, the test will not work if the sores have healed.
Known available herpes tests
- Cell culture test.
- Antigen test.
- Pap smear.