Herpes – This STD flies below the radar
Most people with genital or oral herpes are unaware that they have the sexually transmitted disease (STD). Even though herpes, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus, is one of the most common STDs, many cases have occurred that there were no symptoms of infection or the symptoms were mistaken for something else. This is why it is important to create awareness on how to know if you have herpes and how to prevent from catching it.
1-2 weeks is usually the amount of time when the incubation of the disease occurs. During this time, infected people may experience the first outbreak with symptoms which includes fever, muscle aching, swollen lymph nodes, dehydration for oral herpes, sores in the genital and surrounding areas, and sores on the lips, in the mouth, on the tongue, gums, cheeks and roof of the mouth.
Other symptoms would include headache, tingling or burning sensation, back pain, painful urination, and genital discharge. In oral herpes, sores in the oral cavity can cause significant amount of pain while eating or drinking.
The sores caused by herpes are medically called lesions. It can range from mild to severe, therefore preventing infected people from recognizing that they have been infected by the disease. Herpes is diagnosed using a number of tests which include Direct Flourescent Antibody (DFA) test, blood sampling, culture analysis, visual recognition, sampling of the sore for identification, and staining tests.
Herpes does not have a cure yet so recurrences should be anticipated. Recurrences are often less painful and severe than the first outbreak as the body has already developed some resistance to the virus. More than 50 percent of those who experienced the first outbreak are likely to have recurrences.
According to studies, there are several factors that may trigger recurrences. These factors include strong sun exposure, menstruation, damage to skin, weakened immune system, huge alcohol intake, and undue stress.
There are also warning signs that can help infected people to predict when an outbreak will occur. They should watch out for itching, numbing, fatigue, swelling of lymph nodes, back and leg aches, pain while urinating, and other flu-like symptoms.
Herpes is a disease for a lifetime, and therefore will need constant care and medication. Antiviral medication which comes as pills or topical medication is used to hasten the healing of the sores or outbreaks. These medicine can also be use to prevent outbreaks or at least lessen their frequency of occurrence.
Infected individual should also go for routine check-ups as sometimes the sores may appear as something else or perhaps not visible to the unaided eye. And sometimes, professional help is needed just in case, infected people, or first-time infected individuals have difficulty in recognizing the symptoms as it can be mistaken for mere abrasions, insect bites, hemorrhoids, ingrown hair, and yeast infection. Being sure is always the best way. Infected people should also take precaution when in contact with uninfected persons or during sexual activity. Vigilance is the best companion of herpes.