* Affects mouth and genital area
* characterized by blisters or sores
* May cause cold sores or eye infections
* Two types
There are two types of herpes simplex. The first type, herpes simplex type 1 (or oral herpes), affects the mouth area, and is characterized by blister or cold sores (or, occasionally, eye infections). Oral herpes is common and transmitted by contact with saliva. Herpes simplex type 2, or genital herpes, affects the genital area and is characterized by genial ulcers or sores. Cross-infection of the two types through oral-genital contact can lead to genital herpes on your mouth. Both types of herpes cycle between active outbreaks — where blisters are present — and inactive cycles, where the virus goes into remission. Activity generally lasts between 2 and 21 days. Genital herpes may be asymptomatic in many people. The virus can be transmitted even if sores are not visible. People with active outbreaks of genital herpes should avoid sexual activity.
Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance
Non-viral canker sore
*Sores around mouth or on genitals
*Viral cultures or blood test can confirm diagnosis
Diagnosis of herpes simplex can generally be determined by inspecting the sores, although tests — viral cultures or blood tests — can confirm the diagnosis. Testing is more important for genital herpes as it can often be confused with Syphilis.
There is no cure to herpes simplex. In many cases, however, outbreaks are mild and need no treatment. In more severe cases, antiviral medications such as Acyclovir, famcyclovir, or Valacyclovir can be prescribed to treat infections or lessen the symptoms. Early antiviral treatment can also significantly reduce the frequency and severity of future outbreaks.