Herpes Throat Pictures - 5 Photos & Images

There are two types of herpes simplex virus. Type 1 herpes (HSV-1) is carried by around 80 per cent of the population and is the culprit behind recurrent cold sores. Most people pick it up in the first few years of life, usually in the form of a loving kiss from a parent or sibling.

Before the blisters appear, most people notice a mild tingling sensation on the skin. Soon after the blisters form they break open, releasing their infectious cargo and leaving a red raw patch or ulcer – the cold sore – which measures about half a centimetre across and takes seven to 10 days to heal.

Cold sores and genital lesions remain infectious until they have crusted over, so avoid contact during this time; you can transmit the virus to other parts of the body, and to other people, especially between the mouth and the genitals.

Cold sores and genital lesions also create a breach in the skin's natural defences, creating portals for other infections, like HIV.

When people are first infected with HSV on their mouth, they're often unaware because they don't always develop the tell-tale cold sore. Instead, most first cases of herpes affecting the face appear as a sore throat, a sore mouth (which can occasionally ulcerate), swollen neck glands, and a temperature.

The classic signs of initial infection in the genital region are a painful, red, ulcerating crop of lesions that can spread over a wide area and may involve the perineum and anus. Genital infection can also be associated with temporary numbness in the affected area, swollen glands in the groin, difficulty passing urine, and a temperature. Only 20 per cent of infected people, however, will experience these classic symptoms, with a much larger percentage having very mild symptoms (that may not be recognised as herpes), and a further 20 per cent (approximately) having no symptoms at all.

After the initial infection, HSV lies dormant in the body. The virus can be reawakened by various stimuli, including:
being run down,
use of drugs that suppress the immune system
skin damage from heat, sun or chemicals. Many recurrences are, however, spontaneous, with no obvious trigger. How often the virus reactivates varies from one person to the next. As a general rule, recurrences tend to occur most often during the year following infection and then tail off.

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