Most people have suffered herpes. The most common is the one that comes out around the mouth, but there are different types of herpes and it is very common for there to be some confusion with the term. This is the generic name and different skin ailments are caused by herpes.
Many people wonder, for example, if herpes that appears around the mouth is the same that can appear in the genital area. It is a very good question to avoid an unwanted contagion. In today’s article, we will clarify these types of doubts
What is a herpes?
To answer other questions, first of all, it is necessary to clarify what herpes is. Herpes is some skin affectations caused by viruses. These can annoy us a lot because of the pain they cause and because they can affect our personal life.
After a person is infected with herpes for the first time, it remains inactive in the body from then on. It then remains in the body forever until it can reappear spontaneously in certain situations.
The main triggers are stress, a lowering of defenses, other infections, changes in temperature, menstruation, ultraviolet rays, or even trauma.
The different types of herpes
Most of us know there are skin ailments located in different areas of the body that respond to the name of herpes.
The main virus, that is, the one that affects the whole world the most, is herpes simplex (HSV). As we will see, this virus gives rise to more than one affectation, although there are other types of herpes viruses.
Below we expose the different types of herpes lesions that can affect a person according to their location in the body, explaining the differences between the different viruses that cause them.
1. Cold Sores
Cold sores or herpes simplex virus type (HSV-1) generally affect the area of the mouth, and can also manifest in other mucous areas. It causes small blisters and painful cold sores or sores that can take approximately 7 to 10 days to heal.
This is herpes that has the highest prevalence of all. It is estimated that 45% of the population is infected by this virus, which then spends its entire life in our body but obviously in a latent form.
It is not a serious infection, only in people with immunosuppression problems. Half of the cases of people infected with herpes have more than one outbreak of the virus a year, and it especially affects adolescents.
The infection generally begins through intimate or close contact with an infected person and does not initially cause any symptoms. Towels, razors, cutlery, or anything that is shared can lead to infection.
2. Genital Herpes
Genital herpes or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a sexually transmitted disease. It affects the mucous membranes and skin located in the genital area, being transmitted from one infected person to another at the time of sexual intercourse. Its infection can be caused by contact with secretions.
The skin, the glans of the penis, the genital lips, or the vagina can become infected through this sexual contact. 5% of the population is infected by this virus, although the virus spends almost its entire life in the human body also latently.
Generally, infection from one person to another occurs when the one who is infected actively presents the virus. This happens when blisters, ulcers, or other cold sore-like rashes appear on the genitals. However, it can be passed from one person to another even in cases where there is no symptoms present.
3. Herpes Zoster
The herpes zoster virus is not related to the herpes simplex virus. Something that will surprise many is that it is the same virus that causes chickenpox, which remains inactive in the ganglia of certain nerves. After many years, it can be reactivated without the reason being very clear.
Shingles initially cause the appearance of rashes on the skin coupled with the appearance of red spots. Then these become blisters that itch a lot, being the whole area very annoying.
The rash usually manifests itself on the chest, although it can manifest itself on the cervical or lumbar area. The rash usually affects one side more, where the chickenpox was most intense at the time it was suffered.
Having suffered chickenpox before reaching the first year of life, being over 60 years old, and having a weakened immune system are risk factors for shingles.
More considerations about the effects of these viruses
The herpes simplex virus type 1 can also affect other parts of the skull such as the face, throat, or eyes. To understand this scope, it is necessary to go beyond observing the affected area, since the infection is properly of the central nervous system.
Although the mouth is the most common area, it is an infection that occurs in the mucous membranes. The infection occurs at the end of the sensory nerves of the mucosa, but its spread is to the bodies of the sensory nerve cells. This is where it becomes latent and resides permanently.
Similarly, the herpes simplex virus type 2 may not only target the genital area. It is not common, but it can affect the entire anogenital area and extend beyond its most usual area of involvement.