HSV, or the herpes simplex virus, is a type of infection that causes herpes. Herpes in itself can be either Type 1 Herpes, or otherwise known as HSV-1, or Type 2 Herpes, or HSV-2.
Herpes can either appear on the mouth or on the genitals. In HSV-1, patients experience fever blisters and cold sores around the mouth or on the facial area. In HSV-2, herpes mostly appears around the genital area.
Herpes Simplex Causes and Symptoms
Herpes simplex virus 1 infections can come from general interactions with other people, i.e., kissing, eating from the same utensils or sharing a toothbrush or a lip balm, for example.
HSV-1 can be more infectious as compared to HSV-2 when the individual is having an outbreak. About 30 to 95% of the adult population may be carrying the herpes virus but almost all of them will never experience an outbreak in their life. It’s entirely possible that an individual can get an HSV-1 infection if they received oral sex from someone who had cold sores during the time.
Herpes simplex virus 2 infections usually come from having unprotected sexual contact with someone who has the HSV-2. In the U.S. alone, research shows that around 20% of the adult population have HSV-2. Spreading can happen if one makes contact with the genital cold sore, but there are instances where people got infected with the herpes simplex 1 virus from someone who did not have cold sores or blisters.
Herpes Simplex Signs
Wondering if you’ve been infected with the herpes simplex virus? Here are some of the most common signs you should look out for:
– Blistering cold sores (in the genital area or the mouth)
– Experiencing pain when urinating (symptoms of genital herpes)
Moreover, you can be experiencing flu-like symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes and general lack of appetite. If the infection reaches the eyes the person could be diagnosed as having herpes keratitis. In addition to the symptoms mentioned, the patient could have eye discharges, eye pain and a gritty feeling.
Herpes simplex can be diagnosed if a person undergoes a physical examination. The attending physician may check for sores and telltale signs, such as mouth sores and the like. The doctor may also order an HSV testing which involves acquiring culture samples and having it checked for the virus. A sample fluid is taken, sealed and sent to the lab for testing.
In situations where the patient suspects he or she is infected with herpes but there aren’t any cold sores in the mouth or genital area, the doctor can order blood tests to check for either HSV-2 or HSV-1 antibodies before making a diagnosis.
It’s worthy to note that people who have HSV will have it their entire life. Even when there aren’t any symptoms, the viral cells lie and wait under the nerve cells. Some individuals may experience regular outbreaks while others may only have one outbreak before the virus lies dormant. The viral cells may become activated if triggered with certain stimuli, i.e., excessive stress, illness, menstrual periods and prolonged exposure to the sun.