Herpes is the most widespread sexually transmitted disease that affects human beings. This disease is extremely contagious in nature and can effectively spread from person to person via simple and casual physical contact. Other activities like sharing the same utensils, kissing or oral sex can also easily transfer this disease.
This disease is brought about by the presence of a virus in the body known as Herpes Simplex Virus type-1.
Once it infects the host cells, it has an incubation period of around two to twelve days after which the symptoms can crop-up.
Most of the times the signs and symptoms are not apparent or the person can confuse it to be a bug bite. This leads to many people having herpes and yet never knowing about it.
Signs and Symptoms of Herpes:
Pain, sore lips, burning sensation, tingling, or itching occurs at the infection site before the sores appear. These are the early symptoms (prodrome). Sometimes these symptoms happen prior to the appearance of sores, bumps, pimple-like lesions, or blisters (herpes or herpetic stomatitis). Thereafter, clusters or groups of painful blisters (also termed fever blisters) or vesicles erupt or ooze with a clear to yellowish fluid that may develop into a yellowish crust. These blisters break down rapidly and appear as tiny, shallow gray ulcers on a red base. Fever blisters are smaller than canker sores. A few days later, they become crusted or scabbed and appear drier and more yellow.
How to Diagnose Herpes?
A doctor usually makes the primary diagnosis with respect to the information provided by the patient and doing a physical examination. The characteristic appearance of herpes sores is enough to make a good primary diagnosis.
In order for proper definite diagnosis, the doctor can carry out the following tests.
A sample (tissue or fluid) from the sores to identify the virus as HSV.
A viral culture analysis.
A staining test called the Tzanck smear (shows nonspecific cell nucleus changes due to HSV).
Antigen and antibody studies (serologic and PCR tests to determine if infection is caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2).
Is There a Cure For Herpes?
As disheartening as it is to say, there is currently no available cure for herpes. It has been extremely difficult for scientists to discover a cure for herpes. This is because of the virus’s elusive nature. When there is no outbreak of sores, the virus hides itself within the nerves of the central nervous system. This makes it extremely hard for the drugs to act against it.
So What Can be Done to Fight HSV-1?
Despite the current lack of a cure, there are certain medications as well as natural remedies which can effectively help in mitigating the symptoms of herpes and also reduce their chances of recurrence.
Certain remedial measures which can be taken are as follows:
A topical anesthetic such as viscous lidocaine (Dilocaine, Nervocaine, Xylocaine, Zilactin-L) may be prescribed to relieve pain associated with oral blisters and lesions.
Oral or IV medication does exist for HSV but is not recommended for people with a normal immune system. It is used only for people with weakened immune systems, infants younger than 6 weeks of age, or people with severe disease.
Mild uncomplicated eruptions of herpes simplex require no treatment. Severe infection may require treatment with an antiviral agent. Oral antiviral drugs include
a) Acyclovir (Zovirax),
b) Valacyclovir (Valtrex),
c) Famciclovir (Famvir), and
Topical acyclovir or penciclovir (Denavir) creams may shorten attacks of recurrent HSV-1 if it is applied early, usually before lesions develop. But these antivirals are always packed with a number of side-effects leading to worsening the problem.
The other available options are the home remedies for herpes which can provide you a perfect side-effect free treatment in a really affordable price.