Saturday, May 3, 2008

A common and highly contagious infectious disease, herpes is caused by strains of the herpes simplex virus and is noted by painful and itchy blisters. Type I herpes, or oral herpes, causes cold sores or fever blister around the mouth. In some cases, this type of herpes infects the eyes and can result in blindness or, even more seriously, can spread to the brain the result in life-threatening herpes encephalitis. Type 2, or genital herpes, is sexually transmitted and causes sores in the genital and anal areas. Engaging in oral sex with an infected person can cause mouth and throat blisters that are difficult to differentiate from type I 1 herpes.
Regardless of the type or location, herpes blisters usually rupture into open weeping sores that crust over and eventually heal within a few days or weeks. Some people also experience a mild fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. Even after healing, the virus remains dormant in the body; some people never have another attack, while others have repeated but milder eruptions sporadically throughout their lives.
Recurrences may be triggered by hormonal changes, physical or emotional stress, fever, exposure to the sun, or other environmental factors. Certain foods and drugs precipitate recurrences in susceptible people. If you have frequent attacks, analyze your lifestyle and try to figure may have precipitated them.
A pregnant woman who has had herpes should inform her obstetrician immediately. An active infection may be transmitted to the baby during delivery and can cause blindness, retardation, even death. A cesarean delivery can prevent transmission.

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