Category Archives: Herpes Types

Learn about the different types of herpes at

What Is HSV-1?

HSV-1 stands for herpex simplex virus (HSV) type 1. It is the virus that is most often responsible for oral herpes, or what is commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. While HSV-1 usually infects the mouth and lips, it can also spread to the genital area as a result of oral sex. But typically, oral herpes manifests as sores on the lips, gums, tongue, the soft palate or roof of the mouth, and the insides of the cheeks. Sometimes, the sores appear on the face or neck. The sores are painful, and may be accompanied by fever and muscle aches. Other possible symptoms of oral herpes are:

Itchiness, pain or a burning sensation on the site of infection prior to the appearance of sores
Pain and shallow ulcers in the throat area
A grayish coating on the tonsils
Flu-like symptoms
Swollen lymph nodes on the neck, which may be painful
Crusted, scabbed, yellowish spots when the sores dry up

Most of these symptoms last two to three weeks. They are usually experienced two to twelve days after contact with the virus. For most people, the symptoms appear four days after exposure. The sores are most painful when they first appear, and they may make it hard for the person to eat, drink and swallow. When the sores appear on the gums, they take on an angry red color, and they tend to bleed. These sores are also called herpes gingivostomatitis.

In many people with HSV-1, the symptoms are absent or very mild, and therefore hardly noticeable. As a result, the person may not even be aware that he has oral herpes. This is called an asymptomatic or symptom-less infection.

When people ask “What is HSV-1?” they usually want to make a distinction between this virus and HSV-2. The two are subtypes of the same virus. The main difference is that HSV-1 mainly causes oral herpes, while HSV-2 mainly causes genital herpes. However, it is possible, as mentioned, for HSV-1 to infect the genital area when the person has oral sex. It is also possible for HSV-2 to cause oral lesions, but these cases are not very common.

In answer to “What is HSV-1?”, it may also be stated that the herpes-1 virus can infect children and adolescents, while HSV-2 usually infects grown-ups. The reason for this lies in the transmission modes of the viruses. HSV-1 is contracted when someone touches infected saliva, skin or mucous membranes. It is highly contagious and easily contracted from kissing or touching, such as when a child kisses an infected parent or older relative. Meanwhile, HSV-2 is mainly spread through sexual contact, hence adults are the usual victims.

Both oral and genital herpes have no cure. They are a life-long infection. It is estimated that about 65% of all Americans have HSV-1 infection, but it is latent or asymptomatic in the majority of cases. Statistics suggest that there are twice as many asymptomatic cases of HSV-1 infection as there are cases with symptoms. For the latter, the infection can recur with the usual symptoms due to certain “triggers,” which include stress, illness, trauma, fatigue, fever, immune suppression, and hormonal changes.

What is Herpes Whitlow?

Herpes Whitlow is caused by the viral entity known as herpes simplex. It comes in two forms: type 1 and type 2. It occurs normally to persons who have been exposed to the virus via an exposed contact to an area of skin having an outbreak. In the past it has been observed commonly among dental and medical healthcare professionals who because of the nature of their job is exposed to people with herpes in the mouth. It is very common on the fingers or thumbs. Some of the symptoms of herpes whitlow include swelling, reddening and tenderness of the skin. Some patients have exhibited the same in nail cuticle. When an outbreak happens it is accompanied by fever and some swollen lymph nodes. The outbreak starts with very few clear vesicles then gradually forms a lump and merge together into one cloudy cluster. As stated earlier herpes whitlow is commonly located in the digits specifically the thumb, index finger and other. When these digits are exposed to the virus the first two weeks or so will be characterized by burning and tingling sensation. After a one or two weeks swelling occurs to the fingerss and then the blisters appear. Healing will occur after the lapse of additional two weeks.

This infection can be very painful and can appear to more than one finger. In studies it has been shown that about sixty percent of those who contract herpes of this kind are infected with Herpes simplex virus type 1. The remaining statistic is left to the type 2 virus. It was considered an occupational risk during the late 50’s because health care workers at that time were not required to used gloves at all times. The effects of herpes whitlow can be leave a patient disabled so proper care is advised. There are over the counter medicines available that will help lessen the impact of herpes whitlow. Another aspect of herpes whitlow that must be taken into account is the possibility of infecting other parts of the body. With this in mind, a simple hygienic procedure is in order. When you accidentally or intentionally touch a blister, wash your hands quickly with soap and water, this will prevent the further spread of the virus to other parts of the body.

There has been several treatments suggested for herpes whitlow but most of them address only the painful symptoms that are associated with it. Some painkillers are recommended to help alleviate the suffering. At its inception, a ready ice pack will support the reduction of the swelling and ease up the pain as well. Consult your doctor immediately for some oral antiviral medications to curb the painful blisters or outbreaks. Some topical antiviral treatment is also available to speed up the healing process. If you fancy homeopathic treatments look for an oral spray that will also help. In all instances, do not pop the blister to avoid shredding the virus and passing it on to unsuspecting individuals. Keep a well rounded hygienic practice and do not share common household items like towels, utensils and others of similar import.

Are Oral Herpes and Genital Herpes The Same Thing?

A lot of people don’t realize that there are two different forms of herpes out there. Genital herpes and oral herpes actually share 50% of the exact DNA, they are virtually identical. Genital herpes, or HSV-2, is the one that makes the big news, and thus it is the one that most people think of when they picture herpes in general. However, oral herpes is also a problem out there, and it is one that most people have without even knowing it. Known as herpes type 1 (HSV-1), oral herpes can result in the ever so common cold sores than most people get around their mouths. Most people contract this when they’re younger, childhood or teenage years, by kissing parents, relatives, or when puberty starts when you begin kissing boys and girls. Most never even know that they have herpes.

One of the differences between the two different herpes types is the preference where the virus is located. Generally, HSV-1 prefers the mouth and lips, while HSV-2 prefers the genital region. However, it is possible to pass genital herpes to someone’s mouth or to pass oral herpes to someone’s genitals, but note while it can happen, it is rare. This usually happens during oral sex when one person does not realize that he or she is breaking out. You can pass the virus on to another person even a few days after a breakout has occurred, so you need to make sure to approach that idea cautiously. If you have vaginal or anal intercourse, make sure to use a condom to provide a barrier between the uninfected skin and the infected skin.

There are a number of tests out there for herpes, but few of them will pinpoint what kind of herpes you actually have. Blood tests, for instance, are beneficial because they can find herpes even when there is no outbreak present, but few can tell you which type of the virus you have. You will need to request specific testing from your doctor if you want to know whether you have oral herpes or genital herpes. Most of the time you will know that anyways though based on the severity and location of your particular symptoms. Even still, testing is available for you at any time. Talk to your doctor today about your options.

Are Cold Sores Actually Herpes?

As many as 80% of the U.S. population get cold sores, but many do not know, or equate that cold sores is also know as HSV-1, or oral herpes. In fact, many people contract HSV-1 in their childhood or teens, through social kissing from a family member or boyfriend/girlfriend and not think anything about it. Yes, cold sores is actually a type of herpes. In fact, HSV-1, oral herpes, shares very common, almost identical attributes of HSV-2, also known as genital herpes. There is certainly a stigma around herpes, but it’s usually around genital herpes. Gential herpes is labeled the “bad” herpes and oral herpes has adopted the name “Cold Sores” and is considered the “good” herpes. To those that actually knowledgeable in herpes, it’s quite comical at times to hear people talk this way. Although herpes is no joking matter, if you were unaware that cold sores were in fact a form of herpes, read below to find out exactly what is going on with your body.

Most people never see cold sores until they have a trigger, either stress related, perhaps an illness or a change in their diet that causes an outbreak. The reason that the cold sore shows up when you get a cold is because your body is fighting infection within itself. The herpes virus is then irritated and begins to come to the surface. Generally speaking, these cold sores are filled with fluid and are painful to those who get them. The infected areas tend to be the mouth region, more commonly residing around the lips. Though it’s not the most common place to find herpes, cold sores can be found anywhere from the bottom of the lip to the chin and from the top of the lip to the nose, showing up in clusters or just single sores.

One of the dangers of oral herpes, is that because of the “cold sores” name, people don’t treat it like they would if they had genital herpes, for example, and precautions are not taken against spreading it. Unless you’re just flat out irresponsible, with genital herpes, you’ll tell your partner that you have this condition. When have you ever heard of someone saying “I have oral herpes, or I get cold sores,” before kissing someone? The social acceptance around cold sores is that it’s not a big deal. Many people don’t even know, that not only can you spread HSV-1 from kissing, but that you can also spread it to the genital area through oral sex.

Even though your cold sore is a herpes infection, it can still be treated, but not cured. Make sure that you watch very closely for this type of virus as the sooner you find it, the better off you’ll be. Like genital herpes, a tingling sensation may occur before you have an outbreak. Your body will give you signs an outbreak is coming on. If you find it early enough, you can begin treatment on the sore and hopefully be rid of the infection within one to three days. Aside from Valtrex and Acyclovir, there are even a number of over the counter products that you can pick up at your local pharmacy that are solely for treating HSV-1. However, if the herpes virus is allowed to grow to its full strength, then treating this condition will take a longer time, approximately a week or even longer depending on the case.

Having herpes of the mouth can be very irritating as doing simple everyday tasks are affected by it. You will have trouble eating and even sleeping when you have this painful sore on your face. Even considering taking a shower will put you in pain as water only seems to irritate the facial herpes. If your herpes outbreak is severe enough, it’s advisible that you see a doctor as they can offer you antiviral meds to help reduce the outbreak time. As always, keeping your body both healthy, clean with a healthy diet will help fight off infection and reduce the number of outbreaks.