Herpes Simplex: A Complete Guide

Risk factors and Preventive measure from Herpes simplex virus

Globally, the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) affects almost 3.7 billion people. It is extremely contagious and mere contact with a person with Herpes Simplex could give it to you. Sometimes HSV is transmitted through sexual intercourse. It mostly affects the following body parts- your arms, legs, mouth and your genitals.

What are the types of herpes?

There are two kinds of viruses that cause herpes-

  • HSV-1

This virus triggers oral herpes. It is the more common of the two types of infection and it has the status of being an endemic disease. It affects not only the mouth but also the area adjacent to it. Oral herpes often shows up in childhood and may last throughout the person’s lifetime. It can spread non-sexually.

  • HSV-2

It causes infections in other parts of the body but chiefly in the genital region. It is a type of sexually transmitted disease. This too is a condition that is life-long.

What are the causes of herpes simplex?

Direct contact with someone who is infected with HSV will trigger this infection in you.HSV-1 can be transmitted through sharing lip balm, utensils, kissing or through unprotected oral sex. HSV-2 will enter your body to trigger an infection if you come in contact with a herpes sore during sex without protection.

What are the symptoms of herpes simplex?

Usually, there are specific symptoms that accompany Herpes Simplex infection. But sometimes, the person may not experience any signs despite having contracted herpes and may also pass along the disease to others through contact, both non-sexual and sexual.

Some of the usual symptoms are:

  • Sores and blisters will develop
  • Patches of your skin will feel irritated or itchy
  • Sores may start oozing
  • Pain during urination
  • Symptoms similar to the flu such as a runny nose, headaches and fever
  • Inflamed lymph nodes
  • Infections of the eye

Even though the infection is life-long, the symptoms need not be. There will be outbreaks that can last up to 6 weeks leading the symptoms to flare-up.

What are the risk factors of herpes simplex?

You will be more susceptible to herpes simplex if you-

  • Start having sex very early on
  • Have more than one sexual partner
  • Already have an STI
  • Are a woman
  • Have a weak immune system

If a woman has herpes during pregnancy, she could transmit it to her baby.

Treatment of herpes simplex

Herpes Simplex cannot be cured. But with proper treatment, the sores and rashes will subside and incidents of outbreaks can be reduced. You may have to take anti-viral medicines to stop the virus from spreading. Aspirins can help cope with the pain and discomfort. Soaking the area with warm water can help ease the pain. A doctor might recommend topical creams or ointments to reduce the symptoms of this infection.

Prevention of herpes simplex

It is difficult to avoid Herpes simplex when it is transmitted non-sexually. Avoid using utensils, make-up products, towels with people. As for sexually transmitted herpes, it’s easy to avert. All you have to do is use condoms during sex, including oral sex. Sticking to one sexual partner will reduce your risk of getting herpes. Do not engage with someone sexually when he/she is in a phase of a herpes outbreak.


Herpes Simplex is an infection which may not threaten your life but it can trigger pain and embarrassment. [av_promobox button='yes' label='Consult a specialist on MediBuddy' link='https://www.medibuddy.in/?utm_source=blog_cta&utm_medium=blog' link_target='' color='blue' custom_bg='#f00' custom_font='#ffffff' size='large' icon_select='no' icon='ue800' font='entypo-fontello']Herpes Simplex may not be lethal, but definitely painful and embarrassing. If you notice any symptoms of Herpes Simplex, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor on MediBuddy.[/av_promobox] Sources:

  1. HealthLine
  2. WebMD