Herpes is a dreaded infection that is caused by Herpes simplex virus. It chiefly affects genitals, anal region and mouth. It can also affect other parts of the body.
Herpes Zoster which is commonly known as Shingles occurs due to reactivation of Varicella-Zoster virus that causes chickenpox.
Herpes Simplex and Herpes Zoster are 2 different conditions and must not be confused. Though both of them cause rashes and belong to the same family of viruses, they are different. Herpes simplex virus is of two types i.e. 1 and 2. HHV1 causes oral herpes, HHV2 causes genital herpes (they are spread by direct contact with lesions or body fluids); whilst, HHV3 or VZV i.e. the Varicella-Zoster virus causes shingles/ chickenpox (contact with the virus can cause chickenpox, not shingles in a person who has never had chicken pox before).
VZV causes rashes on the body along with blisters which are painful, itchy and irritating. Herpes Zoster occurs after many years after chickenpox infection. There is a general tired and fatigued feeling along with weakness. Shingles are not very contagious.
HSV gives rise to oral and genital herpes, wherein there are rashes and blisters. The dormant virus is activated by stress, sunlight, pregnancy, fatigue. There might be fever, muscular pains, swollen lymph nodes, headaches associated and it is very contagious.
Causes and Symptoms explained…
Causes of Herpes Simplex:
- Having an unprotected sexual intercourse by all ways
- Having genital contact with the infected person
Cause of Herpes Zoster:
- Reactivation of the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV) in individuals with weakened immune system and in old age.
- Contact with the virus can only cause chickenpox in individuals who have never got chicken pox but cannot cause Herpes Zoster
Symptoms of Herpes Simplex:
- Symptoms occur depending upon the location of lesions caused by the HSV. Orofacial herpes affects the face and mouth causing blisters that are known as cold sores, Genital herpes affects the genitalia, Herpetic whitlow affecting hands. A more serious disorder is Herpes Keratitis affecting the eye or Herpes Encephalitis affecting the brain.
- Tingling or shooting pains may arise before the occurrence of the blisters.
- There may be vaginal discharge along with pain and itching in females who have genital herpes.
- There is lymph node enlargement with fever and fatigue that sets in.
Symptoms of Herpes Zoster:
- At the beginning, there are symptoms of a headache, fever and malaise followed by heightened sensations on the skin (oversensitivity, tingling, numbness)
- After a couple of days, a skin rash appears on the face, eyes or other parts of the body. The rashes are initially reddish and turn into blister like vesicular structures. They then break leaving behind crusts as they heal.
Prevention of Herpes Simplex:
- Using barrier methods before a sexual intercourse
- Avoiding intercourse till the infection subsides
- Avoid contact with mucosal structures
Prevention of Herpes Zoster:
- Vaccination for VZV is the known prevention for the disease.
Once the infection has set in….
For Herpes Simplex infection
- Taking bath in mildly salted water helps reduce symptoms. Also, sitz bath helps.
- Apply petroleum jelly
- Wear loose clothing
- Wash hands thoroughly after touching affected part
- Avoid intercourse
For Herpes Zoster infection
- Application of soothing lotions will help in relieving the uneasiness
- Eat easily digestible diets
For both infections get enough rest, drink water, and eat nutritious food.
Treating the condition
In Homoeopathy, the product Doliosis D57 Herpex relieves symptoms associated with Herpes Simplex or Herpes Zoster such as boils and small blisters with nerve pain. This product has no side effects and is easy to consume. It can be taken with other medicines, for all age groups.