Now remember that herpes is a virus. This is different
than a bacteria. Think of a virus like a tiny organism that has
armor, like a old time Knight. This armor is what has made it
difficult for the researchers to develop drugs to kill herpes. With
this armor for protection, the herpes virus then travels up the root
system to the central nervous system, represented by the tree's
trunk. Here the herpes virus hibernates until it is reactivated. Then
it travels down the same root to the same area that the original infection
was located. When this occurs, a repeat infection occurs, but
usually are not as bad as the first. Sometimes a person notices when
this occurs because they have early itching and burning in the area,
but no blisters. Many repeat cases don't get any worse than that,
lasting only 3-5 days. However, some do progress to painful blisters
that last a slight bit longer. What causes the reactivation of
the herpes virus ( HSV ) that lives in the spinal cord? We are not
exactly sure, however some believe that certain circumstances activate the
virus to repeat the infection. Recognized causes include stress,
illness, and getting sun burned.
It is thought that herpes became so wide spread because of
unrecognized modes of transmission. This means that infected
persons were contagious and didn't know it. How does this
occur? Again, we are not exactly sure. It is believed that the virus
sheds in small but contagious amounts from the nerve root that it
originally infected, without showing any outward signs that that nerve
root is re-infected. The area of skin in which the nerve root exists
is referred to as a dermatome. A dermatome the term that doctors use
to refer to areas of skin that a certain nerve supplies. It is
possible to infect additional nerve roots, in other areas of the skin, if
exposed to an active viral infection. This is how people get
infections in other areas that the weren't originally infected in.
Each separately now represents a specific nerve ending that can become
re-infected at any time when the conditions are right.
Facts About Herpes
The Herpes virus infection
varies depending on the site of infection; 1-oral
herpes, or on the lips, 2-genital herpes, 3-other body
surfaces such as Herpes
Zoster, or Shingles. Typically oral infections
are from Herpes Simplex I virus types, genital infections are from Herpes
Simplex II virus types, or genital herpes. Other body surfaces may be infected by type
I or II strains, or by another one of the Herpes virus strains. A
common infection of another body surface often results in a condition
called Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster. It should be
noted that treatment does not get rid of the virus from your body, but
simply diminishes the symptoms of an active outbreak. Some
researchers believe that a persons that are infected, are contagious
through viral shedding. This is a situation where the viral
particles escape the infected person's skin, even though they don't have
obvious visible symptoms. Therefore, it is important to remember that
treatment may not keep you from spreading the disease to someone else;
including a baby during the birthing process.
- Percentage of adults that have herpes: 1 in 4
- Estimated number of new cases of herpes a year: 1 million
- Percentage of infected persons who don't know they have herpes:
Over 50% of those infected don't realize it because they don't have
the classic outbreak pattern, and often dismiss it as an annoying itch
- More woman have herpes than men.
- Genital Herpes that infects the tissue of the cervix is suspected to have a
role in cervical cancer. This is an important reason to have
yearly pap smears.
- Women that have genital herpes on their cervix may not feel it when they
have an outbreak. This is another reason for today's high rate
- Herpes Simplex I, also known as oral herpes, is the herpes that you typically get on your
- Herpes Simplex II is the herpes that is typically know as genital
- You can get Herpes Simplex I ( HSV 1 ) on genitals, or you can get
Herpes Simplex II ( HSV 2 ) in your mouth and throat. This occurs
through oral sex primarily.
- Incidence of herpes infection by age group: 5-10% or teenagers, 15-20 % of
those in their 20's, and 25-30% of those 30 years of age or older.
- Incidence of herpes has risen 30 percent since 1970's
- Viral shedding can transmit herpes to a baby during birth.
This can cause blindness and other serious health problems for the
newborn baby. It is very important to tell you physician if you
know or think you may have genital herpes.
- Viral shedding means that virus is being transmitted despite no
obvious signs of infection.
- You never get rid of herpes from your body once you catch it. You
only control infection once they reactivate.
The treatments for herpes infections include oral
medication and topical cream. The location, length of time infected, and
age of the patient often play a role in determining the exact dosage and
combination of traditional medication. Alternative Herpes treatments often
involve natural herbal and nutritional substances. The alternative
treatments are often more successful in preventing outbreaks, than
diminishing active infections. It should be noted that little
research exists to support alternative therapies, whether for preventative
or active conditions. Both traditional and alternative treatments
are aimed at helping to to cut down on the length of time symptoms
are present, but do not automatically make the infection go
Please check back soon for your one stop source for
information pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the Herpes