Herpes Simplex : How Do You Get and How to Cure Herpes?
Herpes Simplex Virus : How to Prevent, Manage and Cure Herpes?
Herpes simplex is a type of virus belonging to the family of herpesviridae. Herpesviruses or herpesviridae is a type of DNA viruses. This large family of viruses infects animals and humans. The family is named after ‘herpein’. It is a Greek word meaning ‘to creep’. The word has been chosen in reference to the nature of the viruses to cause a latent infection. The viruses also cause recurring infections.
Introduction to Herpes Simplex Virus
The family of viruses called Herpesviridae is classified as Group I or dsDNA viruses of the order Herpesvirales and has three subfamilies. These subfamilies are Alphaherpesvirinae, Betaherpesvirinae and Gammaherpesvirinae.
The subfamily of Alphaherpesvirinae includes Iltovirus, Mardivirus, Simplexvirus and Varicellovirus. The subfamily of Betaherpesvirinae includes Cytomegalovirus, Muromegalovirus, Proboscivirus and Roseolovirus. The subfamily of Gammaherpesvirinae includes Lymphocryptovirus, Macavirus, Percavirus and Rhadinovirus.
There are five known species of the herpes simplex virus family. Nine types of herpes simplex virus are known to infect humans. Of them only eight cause infections or diseases that have been studied to an extent. The most common strains of the family of viruses are herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. These are abundant and cause the two most common infections, respectively known as oral herpes or orofacial herpes and genital herpes.
Orofacial herpes is at times herpes labialis if the symptoms are confined to the lips and the immediate surrounding areas of the mouth. Oro-labial herpes is another name used to describe this type of infection.
Types of Herpes Simplex Virus
The nine types of herpesvirus are herpes simplex virus 1, herpes simplex virus 2, varicella-zoster virus, Epstein–Barr virus, human cytomegalovirus, human herpesvirus 6A, human herpesvirus 6B, human herpesvirus 7 and human herpesvirus 8, also known as Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus.
Eight of these nine types have been studied and their effects on humans have been explored. Over a hundred and thirty herpesviruses have been identified till now but their impacts on humans are not known.
- Human Herpes Virus 1
Herpes simplex virus 1 or human herpes virus 1, abbreviated as HHV1, causes cold sores or orofacial herpes, also known as herpes labialis. While this type of herpes simplex virus is more associated with oral herpes, it may also cause sores or blisters in and around the genital area. This is not the same as genital herpes, albeit the symptoms do appear similar.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 is transmitted through physical contact. The contact could be sexual or nonsexual. Oral sex is the most common mode of transmission. Kissing and cuddling or simple touches can also facilitate contracting the virus. Sharing toothbrushes, towels, razors, utensils used for eating, clothes and napkins are also common modes of transmission. Any skin to skin contact can facilitate the contraction of human herpes virus 1.
- Human Herpes Virus 2
Human herpes virus 2 or herpes simplex virus 2, abbreviated at HHV2, causes genital herpes. It may also infect facial areas or around the mouth. The symptoms in both cases may be similar but the exact infection is not identical. Herpes simplex virus 2 is sexually transmitted. Nonsexual contact is not a common mode of transmission. However, physical or skin to skin contact with a person, especially around the genital area where the lesions are, can lead to transmission.
Sexual intercourse or oral sex is not the only medium. Sharing jeans or trousers can transmit the virus from an infected person to an uninfected person. An infected person must have an active infection. The virus must have incubated and should have caused an outbreak already for it to be transferable. The contagion does not thrive for long when it does not have a host body where it is active and has incubated. But the virus can linger in its dormant state and an outbreak can happen again.
- Human Herpes Virus 3
Human herpes virus 3 or varicella-zoster virus, abbreviated as HHV3, causes chickenpox. This type of herpes simplex virus can cause a recurring infection in or on the skin. This infection is known as shingles or herpes zoster. The shingles are common when varicella zoster virus gets reactivated from its dormant state after chickenpox. This virus can infect cells in the skin and nerve. The virus can recur in the pathways of nerve fibers. It can cause sores in places where the nerve fibers meet the skin cells.
Shingles are a serious condition as whole groups of nerve cells can be infected. This is more complicated than just another recurrence of a herpes simplex virus. The lesions feel itchy and tingly. There may or may not be associated pain. While the shingles may heal within two to four weeks, the scars may not go away completely. There is a possible complication with shingles wherein a person feels the associated pain for many months after the infection has apparently healed. Some people may feel the pain for years but the infection or shingles usually do not recur.
- Human Herpes Virus 4
Human herpes virus 4 or Epstein-Barr virus, abbreviated as HHV4, causes infectious mononucleosis. This is also referred to as kissing disease. The contagious infection is contracted through saliva. Sneezing, coughing, sharing crockery and other utensils used for eating or exchanging saliva during kissing can spread the contagion.
- Human Herpes Virus 5
Human herpes virus 5 or cytomegalovirus, abbreviated as HHV5, causes mononucleosis. Not everyone will have obvious symptoms. People who have relatively healthier immune systems may not have any symptoms whatsoever. This type of herpes simplex virus gets transmitted through sexual contact. Newborns are at risk of contracting this virus and it can lead to hepatitis. Cytomegalovirus can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants and breastfeeding. The virus also complicates auto immunodeficiency syndrome. Some of the effects of mononucleosis are diarrhea, vision problems such as blindness, intestinal and stomach infections and in rare cases death.
- Human Herpes Virus 6
Human herpes virus 6 or HHV6 causes roseola. It is a viral infection or disease that leads to a skin rash and high fever in kids. Infants and newborns are more vulnerable to roseola. The virus is also found in patients suffering from various diseases but the exact correlation is not known yet. The infection has been associated with convulsions that are common when infants suffer from high fever.
- Human Herpes Virus 7
Human herpes virus 7 or HHV7 has been recently identified, much like the HHV6. This type of herpes simplex virus may cause roseola. It is an extremely common virus and most people who are infected usually contract the virus at an early age. There is limited understanding of what this virus can do and how it affects the human body in the long term.
- Human Herpes Virus 8
Human herpes virus 8 or Kaposi’s Sarcoma herpesvirus, abbreviated as HHV8, has been recently identified. It was discovered in tumors that are known as Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Such tumors are common in tissues and skin of people suffering from auto immunodeficiency syndrome. The infections on the tumors are difficult to cure. The virus is also capable of causing some cancers, for instance a few types of lymphomas. The virus is more potent when a person has a failing immune system. This explains why people with auto immunodeficiency syndrome and other autoimmune diseases are more vulnerable to this type of infection.
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How to Cure Herpes Simplex Virus?
Herpes virus is one of the most common microbes that affect humans and animals. A staggering number of people in America and around the world get infected by one of these viruses. Prevention is indeed better than cure when it comes to the family of herpesviruses. However, there is no vaccine for herpes simplex.
There is no cure in traditional medicine. Some antiviral creams may offer transient relief from the symptoms of oral herpes and genital herpes but one has to wait for the viral infection to subside on its own. This subsiding is not exactly healing as the virus lays dormant before being reactivated again when its incubation would cause another outbreak. This may not be as severe an infection as the first time but the symptoms would be similar.
The most effective of all remedies, treatments and cure is to find an answer to how to get rid of herpes virus. When prevention fails, one must choose natural treatments. Natural treatments are a holistic approach. There are topical cures made of organic materials such as herbal extracts. There are lifestyle and dietary changes that can facilitate the elimination of the virus.
The objective should be to flush out the viruses from the skin or to develop a certain degree of immunity against the viral infection. These are possible with natural remedies. Eating foods that strengthen the immunity, avoiding foods that worsen different types of herpes, prioritizing impeccable hygiene and ensuring distance from people who may be suffering from a viral infection are just some of the answers to how to get rid of herpes virus. Traditional medicine has no cure. There is no vaccine yet. Natural treatments are the only effective remedies for herpes simplex viruses.
Note: This Page was last updated on Monday 17th of December 2018