Herpes Virus is of two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. The Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 generally causes genital herpes, which results in sores in the genital area. The type 1 causes blisters or cold sores near the mouth, on the lips, the nose and anywhere on the face. However, these can also be transmitted to the genital area due to oral sex or due to genital contact. The virus enters the body and attaches itself to the ganglia, remaining there in a latent state. After the primary infection, it reactivates itself periodically, causing herpes outbreak with painful blisters and sores.
The primary outbreak occurs between 3 days to 14 days after the person is exposed to an infected person. In some cases, the infection can be very mild and he or she may never get any other outbreaks in a lifetime. For others, the outbreak of sores and blisters might recur every few months or few years, as the virus continues to remain in the body. The primary outbreak is the worst with the infection lasting from three weeks to six weeks. In case the body is able to build up a good tolerance for antibodies, the infection will remain asymptomatic and they might never have a recurring outbreak again.
It has been observed that statistically, 80% of those infected with HSV suffer from secondary outbreaks or recurrent outbreaks within six months of the primary episode. On an average, the outbreaks are about three to five times a year, but this can vary according to the person’s health. Those infected with HSV-2 are five times more likely to experience secondary outbreaks compared to HSV-1.
What Causes Outbreak
There are many factors that trigger the recurring outbreak of Herpes in the person in whom the virus resides.
- Factors, such as trauma, stress and sunlight are said to be the triggers for a herpes outbreak.
- Physical fatigue or depression, anxiety and emotional stress, lowered immunity brought on by sickness or medications can also trigger a herpes outbreak.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or irritation of the genital areas and exposure to ultraviolet rays are also among the triggers.
- In case of women, the additional triggers for a herpes outbreak are menstruation, hormonal fluctuations and pregnancy.
- It has also been observed that L-arginine, which is an amino acid, can also irritate the virus causing an outbreak, as the virus starts to mutate, increasing the frequency of outbreaks.
- There are also some foods, such as chocolate, nuts, grains and caffeinated beverages that could cause frequent outbreaks.