Herpes Symptoms

Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) is responsible for herpes disease. This is a viral disease which is one of the most infectious disease. There are basically two strains of virus namely, Herpes Simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex type 2 (HSV-2). The difference in these virus is mainly due to their genetic genome i.e. DNA. These two strains cause mainly two types of herpes in human beings.

Oral Herpes is mainly caused by HSV-1. However, HSV-2 also causes this in some people. In this, cold sores and fever blisters are seen on roof of mouth, gums, tongue, lips and inside of cheeks. These sores are extremely painful. There is another type of herpes known as Genital herpes which is caused mainly by HSV-2 virus. But 20% of such cases are also caused by HSV-1 strain. In this, open and painful sores develops in genital areas of men and women.

The oral herpes symptoms usually appears within 2-12 days of initial contact of the virus. These symptoms lasts for 14-21 days. Initially oral herpes symptoms start with fever, followed by tiredness and pain in muscles. The site where the infection of virus has occured, is marked by development of burning, pain and itching sensation. Slowly cold sores or blisters are seen to develop. These blisters appear in clusters. During the eruptive stage, the sores have red base and looks tiny and gray colored. Due to this, gums becomes raw and red colored and starts bleeding. Lymph nodes of neck are also affected. They become swollen and painful. As the disease progresses, blisters become more yellow. This marks the beginning of healing stage in which sores dry up and become crusted and scabbing starts.

Genital herpes is highly contagious and spreads easily through sexual contact with the affected person. The genital herpes symptoms usually lasts for 2-4 weeks. Genital herpes symptoms consists of certain vague and common symptoms like fever, headache, painful muscles and swelling of lymph nodes of groin which are also very tender. In females, there may be abnormal vaginal discharges. Some even suffer from dysuria i.e. pain during urination. As the disease progresses, blisters or ulcers develops in the genital area. These occur in groups known as 'crops'. Initially, blisters are seen which opens up later on, changing into ulcers. This is a painful condition.

The diagnosis of oral herpes is mainly based on the herpes symptoms present in such cases. The appearance of sores and blisters makes the presumptive diagnosis. However, a confirmed diagnosis can be made through some of the tests like Tzanck smear, Antigen and Antibody studies etc. Sometimes, a sample of fluid or tissue is taken from the sore and is tested for the presence of Herpes Simplex virus.

In genital herpes also, the appearance of sores is a clear cut indication leading to its diagnosis. However, to be 100% sure, physician carry out some tests. These are polymerase chain reaction, culture study, antibody tests etc. But, mostly physician start the treatment after examining the blisters and ulcers as results of these tests may require some days and treatment can not be delayed to avoid further complications.

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