Herpes Simplex or HSV is a common, contagious virus. There are 2 forms of the virus. HSV-1 causes cold sores to form on the lips, mouth and surrounding areas and HSV-2 causes sexually transmitted ulcers.
The virus begins to show signs 2 days to 3 weeks post exposure causing groups of small, red, fluid-filled blisters to form. These blisters eventually break open and leave a sore with an overlying crust. The lesions usually will heal within 1-2 weeks if left untreated.
Most people are exposed to the HSV-1 virus through family and friends during childhood. Sores present on the lips and surrounding areas.
Genital Herpes, HSV-2, usually affects the genital and rectal areas but can be spread to other parts of the body. Pregnant women with genital herpes should be discussed with their doctor as the virus can be spread to a child during childbirth.
The virus is passed via personal contact, so kissing and sexual contact during an outbreak are not recommended. Most often people don’t know they have the disease so they pass it unwittingly to those they come in contact with.
While the virus cannot be cured and remains dormant in the system, active lesions can be resolved more quickly with an oral treatment, often Valacyclovir. When the medication is taken at the earliest possible sign of outbreak such as tingling, itching or burning, the eruption can be diminished significantly and the length of the outbreak shorted.