Herpes is not an uncommon health issue. More than seventy percent of the whole society develop this issue. In fact, researches proves that we all keep herpes virus inside the body. However, this virus is immobilized and harmless. If you are included to those who have a higher susceptibility to this disease, some potential triggers might awaken these sleeping beasts. Herpes is not only humiliating and decreases self-esteem, but is also contagious. Herpes is classified into labial herpes which leads into cold sore—producing watery blisters around the mouth or nose, and genital herpes, which causes painful, itching blisters in the genital area. Genital herpes can possibly be accompanied with fever during outbreak.
Who gets herpes?
Herpes is sometimes unseen, because it does not show any visible symptoms before severe outbreaks. Hence, there are many people infected with herpes simplex virus—the cause of herpes outbreak—without knowing it. Herpes can be suffered by adults—men and women, and children, even infants. Adults might get it from heredity, former outbreak, or weakened immune system, while infants and toddlers might catch the disease from a direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected adult. To get infected by herpes, you do not necessarily have to be in touch with someone showing the symptoms of outbreak. In fact, most people get infected by herpes from infected person who does not even have the sores. This is called as asymptomatic viral shedding.
How does someone get cold sore?
Herpes simplex virus is possible to reside in the body’s nerve system without causing any harmful outbreak. However, some triggers may activate this inactive virus. In many people, those triggers include:
- Hormonal changes or menstrual cycle
- Weakened immune system
- Excessive sunlight exposure
People who are susceptible to herpes may experience painful, itching watery blisters which occur around the mouth or on the lips. These blisters may easily break and transmit the disease to the other parts of the face. Water which fills these blisters are also able to transfer cold sore between people through kissing or touching the affected areas, and also sharing some objects which have had direct contact with the affected areas, such as lip balm or a razor.
How does someone get genital herpes?
While cold sore is caused by herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), genital herpes is caused by another herpes virus, the HSV-2. Most people get genital herpes from sexual intercourse with an infected individual. Once infected, someone keeps this virus for life inside the body, although it will be inactive on certain period, similar to the HSV-1. Therefore, a transmission of genital herpes potential is also possible from a mother to a baby during childbirth. This herpes virus might not simultaneously cause an outbreak in the baby’s body, and resides inactively in her nerve system.
Can cold sore lead to genital herpes?
Cold sore and genital herpes might not be a hundred percent similar, and is specifically caused by different simplex viruses. Commonly, genital herpes is considered as a more severe one. However, this might not be correct, as both cold sore and genital herpes lead to similar risks and can also be treated with similar chance of healing. As these two kinds of herpes are located in different sites of the body, they are interchangeable and can lead to one another. Someone with cold sore may infect other person with genital herpes. This might happen during oral sex. For sure, it does not suggest that the HSV-1 turns into the HSV-2, instead this happens because when oral sex is performed, the HSV-1 which resides in sufferer’s mouth moves into receiver’s genital through a direct contact. Vice versa, an active HSV-2 which resides in someone’s genital can move into someone’s mouth through a sexual activity. There, this virus might cause cold sore with its general symptoms. Herpes transmission, either cold sore or genital herpes is very common, since a lot of people suffer from herpes without experiencing any symptoms. An unprotected sexual activity commonly spreads genital herpes, as even wearing condoms does not guarantee inhibited herpes transmission.