Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a common viral infection.

If you’ve ever had a cold sore or fever blister, you picked up the herpes simplex virus. Most cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Other names for cold sores caused by HSV-1 are:

  • Oral herpes
  • Mouth herpes
  • Herpes simplex labialis

After clearing, herpes simplex sores can return. When the sores return, the outbreak tends to be milder than the first outbreak.

A closely related herpes simplex virus, HSV-2, causes most cases of genital herpes. But either HSV-1 or HSV-2 can cause a herpes sore on the face or genitals.

Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) is a viral infection of the skin that is usually acquired by most people at an early age or later in life. It typically causes a burning, uncomfortable painful eruption of small blisters on an angry red base which may rapidly rupture and ooze before crusting over and drying up. Many people carry the virus (usually hiding in underlying skin nerves) and don’t even know they have it; however, some people can have troublesome recurrences, usually at the same area of skin involved by the initial infection.

There are two types:
HSV Type 1 typically occurs above the waist mostly on the face around the nose and lip. Triggers for recurrent episodes of the virus can be things that weaken local immunity such as stress, trauma, overexposure to sun and illness/fever (thus the term “fever blisters”). Sometimes there is no identifiable trigger.

HSV Type 2 usually causes a similar type eruption on the buttocks, genitals days to weeks after sexual intercourse with an infected person. As with Type I, the frequency of repeated bouts can vary; and again, some people can be asymptomatic carriers, not even knowing they were ever infected until years later. This unfortunately can not only lead to infection of unsuspecting individuals; it can also lead to unfair accusations about the source of infection. If you are having trouble controlling outbreaks or are unsure if you may have Herpes simplex, we can ensure an accurate diagnosis and recommend treatments to reduce outbreaks and keep the problem under control.