Herpes – The dormant virus
Herpes, one of the most common sexually transmitted disease, is caused by a DNA virus which has two types: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or less commonly by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The HSV1 often cause oral herpes while HSV2 is often associated with genital herpes.
This virus is transferred through open wounds, sores, infected oral cavity, and mucous. Science has still not found a way to cure herpes so its victims have to live with the disease for their entire lives.
Herpes is a Common Sexually Transmitted Disease Condition
The herpes virus has a characteristic called latency. Latency is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the state of dormancy. This is how the herpes virus works. Once it enters the body, it duplicates itself and multiplies, spreading the virus throughout the infected area. This infection can result to a number of symptoms such as fever, muscle ache, swollen lymph nodes, and most commonly sores.
When this happens, the human body alerts the immune system and helps to control the damage caused by the herpes virus. To counter this action, the herpes virus will enter the nerve system and hide in a nerve root called “ganglion.” In genital herpes, the virus withdraws in the base of the spine called the sacral ganglion. In the case of oral herpes, the virus hides on the top of the spine called trigeminal ganglion. Here, the virus lies dormant for an unspecific amount of time.
Biological factors can cause the virus to become active again. When this happens, the virus can cause bumps or skin irregularities. Recently scientists and researchers have discovered that the activation of the virus does not necessarily produce visible effects. These are called asymptomatic shedding which means that the symptoms occur in unusual places or mistaken for something else such as ingrown hair.
There are also what medicine calls “prodomes”, these call attention to the person that the virus has become active. This comes in the form of itching or burning sensation in the are where sores usually occur.
Recurrences can cause the aforementioned symptoms and are treated with antiviral medicine. Some people take antiviral medicine only when the virus is active – this is the episodic approach of therapy. This helps in lessening the pain of the sores and other symptoms while also helping in quickening the attack. Some, however, choose to take medication daily, which is called the suppressive therapy. Taking medication consistently will help prevent outbreaks or at least lessen it occurrence.
Living with herpes takes constant attention and alertness. Infected people should always be on the look-out as they never know when the virus could attack. They should also take necessary precautions such as always drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration in the case of oral herpes. Other trigger factors like sun exposure, stress, and weakened immune system should be minimized as not to help activate an outbreak.
Infected people should also go for routine check-ups to make sure of the status of their health. Also sometimes, the symptoms cannot be recognized by people with mo medical training or without the help of equipment. It is still best to make sure rather than be complacent with a disease like herpes.