Herpes simplex, or simply herpes, is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can affect different parts of the body, particularly the genitals, mouth, and eyes. There are two types of HSV – the HSV Type 1 and the HSV Type 2. The HSV-1 is typically responsible for cold sores around the mouth and on the face, while the HSV-2 causes genital herpes.
Herpes is a chronic condition, which means that it’s long-lasting. However, most people affected with the virus don’t usually know that they have it because they have no signs or symptoms of the disease; and if there are any signs, they are usually very mild that you won’t even notice them. Some people even mistakenly identify them as just an ordinary skin condition, such as a pimple, bug bites, or ingrown hair. But it’s important to know that even without symptoms, the disease can still spread.
How do you get herpes?
Herpes is a contagious virus that can be passed through direct contact. Infection with HSV-1 can occur when you kiss and share items with the person infected. You can get HSV-2 through sexual contact with a person who has HSV-2. But keep in mind that it is also possible to get HSV-2 from someone who has HSV-1 if that infected person has active cold sores and you perform sexual activities with that individual.
How do you know if you have herpes?
As mentioned, many people who get the virus don’t actually aware that they have it. Most infected people never see or feel any symptoms of the disease; and if they do, those symptoms are usually very mild.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to someone with the disease, consult your doctor or dermatologist immediately. Your doctor will perform some tests on you, such as blood test or internal examination to check whether you have been infected. And if your test is positive, your doctor will prescribe you medications to treat your condition.
What are the treatments for herpes?
The truth is, there is no cure for herpes. Once the virus gets into your body, it remains there for the rest of your life. But the good news is that there are treatments to get rid of the painful sores and reduce outbreaks. Depending on your doctor’s diagnosis, he or she may prescribe you one or more of the following:
Aside from these medications, your doctor may also recommend you to do the following to further reduce the symptoms and at the same time avoid the virus from spreading:
- Drink lots of water
- Keep the affected area clean
- Apply ice pack on the sores to soothe pain
- Avoid wearing tight clothing
- Avoid sexual contact
For mild infections, you can also use alternative treatments, known as “home remedies” to ease the symptoms. These remedies may include olive oil, tea tree oil, cornstarch, and aloe vera gel. However, keep in mind that these remedies have not yet been approved by the FDA, so it’s best to consult your doctor first before trying them.
We also recommend you to get some advice from those who have been through what you’re going through. Ask them about the things they did to treat it and avoid it from spreading. If you don’t know anyone who have it, a book by Melanie Addington called The Ultimate Herpes Protocol can greatly help you. Melanie suffered from the same disease. In her book, she essentially shares the remedy that helped her treat her condition to also help you heal and stop you from transmitting it to others.