What are herpes lesions?

Herpes lesions are present during a herpes outbreak. These red, watery sores are associated with both herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1, known as oral herpes or cold sores, causes blisters around the mouth. HSV-2, known as genital herpes, causes blisters around the penis, vulva, vagina, anus, and rectum. Blisters go through stages, eventually crusting over and disappearing.

Herpes lesions look different during each phase. Before the rash develops into a series of blisters, there may be a general feeling of discomfort with itching in the genital area. The skin may feel sensitive and tingly. Sometimes the skin can turn pink or red, although it can go unnoticed. The same symptoms are evident around the mouth region.

Once the initial itchy and painful rash occurs, a flare-up is very likely to occur. Although some herpes victims may only experience one outbreak in their lives, many people experience several a year. The tingling and pain sensation is a telltale sign of an impending flare-up.

Once herpes lesions appear, the sufferer may notice small red fever blisters on or around the affected area. There may only be one blister. However, there will most likely be several groups of blisters around the genitals or mouth.

Lesions rarely form inside the mouth, although it is possible. Occasionally, herpes lesions can crawl over the neck or even the eyes. A doctor should always be consulted in severe cases, as well as when the initial outbreak occurs. There are prescriptions available that can treat the effects of herpes, although there is no cure.

The blisters may also appear as open sores, with a dark red or whitish tip. These ulcers are quite painful and must be treated with care. Whenever possible, herpes lesions should be allowed to breathe. Such sores can make it difficult to urinate or have a bowel movement. It is imperative that the infected party wash their hands after coming into contact with herpes lesions, so as not to spread the disease to others.

It is important to note that HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause herpes lesions in the mouth or genital area. While technically known as a sexually transmitted disease (STD), herpes belongs to the herpesviridae DNA family. It's the same family that causes chickenpox, shingles, and Epstein-Barr, among other infections. However, herpes lesions are not the same as pockmarks or shingles.

Although the virus is usually spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone who is shedding the infection, it can also be spread during childbirth. While rare, this can be a dangerous problem. Usually, however, a sexual partner transmits the disease during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The couple does not need to be in the middle of an outbreak to spread the virus. However, it is more likely to spread when there are injuries.

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