Herpes Simplex 1

Herpes Simplex 1


Herpes simplex 1 is the most common virus that one usually acquires during childhood. It is a type of viral infection that is commonly associated with cold sores or canker sores and fever blisters that frequently appear on a person’s mouth, lips, and face. It is also generally related to non-genital lesions, but in some cases, it involves the genital tract. This type of herpes virus can also cause blisters, sores in the nose area and buttocks of an infected indivudual and it can also appear on the skin on various areas of the body. This virus can be painful, annoying, and unpleasant, and it can reappear occasionally (“Herpes Simplex”).

Herpes simplex 1 has two types of infection. First is primary infection which usually causes sores to 10% of the population of infected individuals for 2 to 20 days. Before the blisters appear, the person will experience itchiness, stings, burns, or tingles. The sores in this type of infection typically heal completely and seldom leave scars. On the other hand, the virus that caused this kind of infection lingers in the person’s body, and it goes to the nerve cells where it stays in a resting condition. Thus, the individual may have the infection again, and it could appear in the same location or near the first infection spot. The infection may persist every week or not at all. The second type of infection is the recurrent infection. This type of infection tends to be mild. They can be set off by different factors such as fever, sun exposure, menstrual period, trauma, or nothing at all in some cases. The mouth is usually the infected area in recurrent herpes, although it also appears in some areas such as fingertips, lip margins, face, neck, and the arms of an individual (“Herpes Simplex”).

Herpes simplex 1 virus is contagious. Many acquire it during infancy or childhood from close contact with family members or friends who have the virus. It can be transmitted through kissing, sharing eating utensils and even towels (“Herpes Simplex”).


            Symptoms of herpes simplex 1 vary. Many of the infected individuals have few noticeable symptoms. The first occurrence of herpes virus simplex 1 is generally worse than outbreaks that come later. The major symptoms of herpes include a painful outbreak and itchy blisters packed with fluid on and around the infected area such as the lips or mouth areas. These blisters dry up fast and leave scabs that can last anywhere from a few days to weeks, depending on how severe the infection is. This infection usually feels dry and crusty (Zieve, Juhn, Eltz, and Stacy).


            Doctors can easily diagnose herpes simplex virus 1 by just looking at the lesions of an individual. Nevertheless, there are several types of tests that can make sure whether a person has herpes simplex 1. These tests include blood test, direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test, and viral culture of the lesion, a kind of laboratory test to check the skin of a person and see whether it is infected with the herpes simplex virus (Zieve et al.).

Prevalence/ Complications

            In western countries, herpes simplex virus 1 usually infects individuals at the age of 15 years and above, but it may also occur on pregnant women. Socio-economic factors also play a role in the occurrence of this virus. For instance, those people who live in a lower socio-economic status tend to get a higher risk of herpes virus simplex 1 due to lack of knowledge and information about this disease as well as malpractice of hygiene (McIntyre and Newell 146). Possible complications that an infected individual may get are the following: “meningitis, encephalitis, eczema herpetiform (widespread herpes across the skin), infection of the eye – keratoconjunctivitis, prolonged, severe infection in immunosuppressed individuals, pneumonia, and infection of the trachea” (Zieve et al.).


            There is actually no cure for herpes simplex 1 virus. However, there are several medications and treatment that an infected individual can do. In some mild cases of this virus, treatment may not be required at all, but individuals with severe and prolonged cases of herpes simplex 1 should take antiviral medicines like “acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex)” (Rosdahl and Kowalski 994). For those with recurrent type of herpes simplex 1, they may continue taking the antiviral medications to lessen its recurrence. In addition, topical antibiotic ointments can also be applied to the infected skin to prevent secondary bacterial infections (Rosdahl and Kowalski 994).


            There are several ways on how to prevent getting infected with herpes simplex virus 1, although it is difficult to prevent it because individuals are capable of spreading the disease even though they do not manifest any kind of symptom of virus occurrence at all. People who have herpes virus should keep from making contact with people especially physically like kissing, sharing cups, eating utensils, and even sharing lip balms. Hence, keeping away from direct contact with an open wound or lesion like blisters and sores will actually lower the risk of the infection in an individual. Those individuals who are infected in their genital area should also refrain from sexual contact with others in order to prevent the virus from spreading and being transmitted to another person. Newly born babies, children infected with eczema, or individuals with low immune system should also avoid contact with people who have herpes simplex virus 1 because they have a higher chance of getting infected with the virus. If one touches a sore that is infected with herpes simplex 1, he or she should wash his or her hands and keep them clean in order to prevent and stop the spreading of the virus (Zieve et al.).


            It is very important for people to know about herpes simplex virus 1 as it is considered as one of the common diseases today. Thus, people should learn and be educated with this information so that the occurrence of this disease may be prevented and stopped from spreading and infecting people.

Works Cited

“Herpes Simplex.” American Academy of Dermatology. 2008. 7 January 2008


McIntyre, James and Marrie-Louise Newell. Congenital and Perinatal Infections. New York:

Cambridge University Press 2000.

Rosdahl, Caroline and Mary Kowalski. Textbook of Basic Nursing. Philadelphia: Lippincott

Williams & Wilkins, 2007.

Zieve, David, Greg Juhn, David R. Eltz, and Kelli A. Stacy. “Herpes Simplex.” Medline Plus

Medical Encyclopedia. 7 April 2008. 7 January 2009



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