Skin herpes may refer to any of the type 1 or 2 herpes simplex viruses or the herpes zoster. Herpes zoster is more commonly known as shingles.
It does not matter which of the above-mentioned viruses the transmission mechanism is the same. The herpes virus is generally a very contagious condition which can easily be transmitted from one person to the other by close or direct contact. This happens especially when the virus becomes symptomatic, a phase in which viral content and the virus itself is present on the very skin. Touching an infected area, drinking from the same receptacle or engaging in intercourse will almost surely end up with an infection if the ill person is showing symptoms.
Skin herpes can either be shingles or the common cold sore. Slightly different strands of the herpes virus are responsible for each. Symptoms, in both cases amount usually to a rash, blisters and sores. But this can differ from one person to the other, depending on their health and immune system status. Shingles is a condition that occurs in adults and the elderly, if they had chickenpox when they were children. This is because the virus never actually leaves the body it remains fixed on nerve endings and will erupt if the immune system is slightly affected or if the person goes through a stressful period.
There are a lot of other symptoms associated with skin herpes, like: itching, tingling, fever, headache, fatigue, pain, sensitive skin and burning sensations. These should all be treated accordingly and individually with an intake of antiviral medication to stop the virus in its tracks. There is no permanent cure for the virus, all you can do is treat and manage the symptoms. In managing the symptoms for skin sores, the most common, non-invasive treatments are the topical ones which involve using special ointments for the infections.
Shingles can leave permanent scarring on the skin. It is important to treat the itching, rather than scratch the area. The skin's sensitivity and elasticity is lost during an infection and it can be permanently damaged.
Another possible complication might occur if the infection is left untreated. This is common when the herpes simplex is confused with another skin condition or infection. If the herpes acts upon the genital area, it may be confused with genital warts. Also, a condition known as tinea cruris (jock itch) might resemble a herpes infection in some circumstances.
Herpes of the skin has been reported to be able to move from one area to the other. Cold sores, if left untreated, might help the virus reach the eye, resulting in ocular herpes. In less rare cases, it may be that the virus could travel up the nose, reach the sinuses and get to the brain, causing herpes encephalitis. As these two latter cases are rare, there is no conclusive evidence that supports them, but the risk is acknowledged.
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