Herpes is a common and often benign condition caused by the HSV or Herpes Simplex virus. There are two types of Herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2, usually associated cold sores and genital herpes respectively. The virus is transmitted due to close contact with infected persons. Once the person is infected, the virus travels through the skin and remains dormant in the ganglion. However, there are periodic outbreaks of the virus in the form of rashes, blisters and lesions that appear on the skin, the lips, the mouth, the fingers, the eyes, genital area and anywhere else on the body or the face.
Herpes lesions are sores that are red and watery in appearance. These lesions are common for both HSV-1 and HSV-2. The lesions or blisters go through various stages in the outbreak and then finally form crusts and disappear.
Lesions have different appearances in the various stages. In the initial stage before they appear, the person who is infected might feel an itchy and tingling sensation in the area. The skin becomes tender and pink and rashes can be seen in the area. After this stage, the herpes outbreak occurs. Some infected individuals experience only one outbreak during a lifetime, a primary outbreak, whereas others experience recurring outbreak of lesions throughout their lifetime. The tingling sensation is a warning sign of an outbreak of lesions or blisters.
At times, there is only one blister whereas, sometimes, there might be many fever blisters and sores, with clusters of lesions near the mouth or the genitals. Lesions can also appear near the eyes and the neck. The person must always consult a physician during the initial outbreak as well as subsequent ones. There are many medications available for treating the lesions, but there is no cure for the virus. The blisters may also be an open sore with a dark red or a white tip. They can be quite painful and must be treated very gently. It might also become difficult for the person to urinate or empty bowels. The person must wash his hands every time, so that the infection is not transferred to other parts of his own body or to others.
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause such lesions in the mouth and in the genital area, though each is typically associated with a specific area. The virus, causing these lesions, is typically contracted through skin-to-skin contact with a person who is shedding the infection. The virus can also be contracted during childbirth. Sexual partners can transfer the virus through sex. Though it is more likely to spread during the presence of lesions in the infected person, it can also spread when there are no symptoms in the person.