Herpes is a communicable disease which is caused due to viral infections. It is characterised by the presence of localized sore, latency and reoccurrence. Herpes is caused by 2 main viral agents – HSV 1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1) and HSV 2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2). It is considered to be a sexually transmitted disease considering the most common mode of transmission being sexual activities. Other mode of transmission includes direct contact with infected saliva. The clinical symptoms of herpes depend on the portal of entry of the disease into the body. The most common area to be affected by herpes is the genital area and the oral area, and based on the area of infection herpes is classified as genital herpes and oral herpes.
How Long Does Herpes Take To Appear?
It has been noted that in cases of primary infection with HSV 1, the symptoms are rather mild and evident in early childhood. About 10% of this condition may cause severe complications. Herpes presents itself with fever and malaise that lasts for about a week after being infected and depends on the health status of the patient. After a few days, one may notice sores and blisters. Herpes caused by HSV 2 is commonly associated with genital herpes and affects adults rather than children. The mode of transmission of herpes is associated with sexual intercourse.
In most of the cases, the symptoms associated with herpes appear between 2 to 12 days after being exposed to the causative agent. This is known as the incubation period of herpes. However, in large number cases, the herpes infection is asymptomatic and the disease goes unnoticed. This is more evident in cases of recurrence. Studies have shown that about 90% of the population in USA infected by herpes are unaware that they are carrying this virus. The early symptoms such as itching, fever and weakness can last for upto 2 to 4 weeks. The symptoms of herpes may subside after a couple of weeks but the virus may remain in the body for years, thus giving rise to possibilities of recurrence in future.
The symptoms of herpes progresses in stages, each stage lasting for a few days to few weeks. The initial sores (red, bumpy sores which are often itchy) may be noted in matter of few days after being infected. These sores may appear over the mouth, penis, vagina etc. The next stage involves blisters or painful open sores which appear after a few days of initial signs. After a couple of days, these sores become crusted and may heal without scarring. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for these scabs to heal completely. In some cases, a second crop of outbreak may occur during this phase with flu like symptoms. The recurrent symptoms are much milder and heal within 2 to 12 days.
The communicability period of herpes lasts between 2 to 7 weeks after onset of the symptoms and it is known as the infectious period. The extent of infection and appearance of the herpes symptoms depends largely on the immunity of the patient. Herpes commonly affects immunosuppressed people, young children and pregnant women. This is due to fall in immunity as compared with other healthier people. Also, the severity of the symptoms is milder and often unnoticed in healthy individuals.
What are The Home Remedies To Manage Herpes?
Management of herpes lesions often involves anti-viral medications along with certain vitamin supplements. However, it has been seen that a few home remedies can help in management of the lesions in conjunction with conventional treatment. Some of this home remedies for herpes include:
- Application of ice pack over the lesions.
- Local application of apple cider vinegar along with oral intake of 1 – 2 teaspoon with water twice a day.
- Applying mixture of Lysine tablet and 3% hydrogen peroxide over the affected area or using a home-made mouth wash with 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts water for few times daily, for management of oral lesions.
- Placing a garlic clove over the lesion for 10 – 15 minutes can also accelerate healing and is an effective home remedy for herpes.
- Lemon balm is known to reduce the intensity of the outbreaks and it also has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Licorice root extract is also an effective home remedy for herpes as it helps is strengthening the immune system and helps in fighting the disease.
- Drinking peppermint twice a day can help in management of the pain and inflammation associated with herpes.
- Local application of tea tree oil is also considered to be beneficial for treating herpes lesion. They have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
- Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is known to be anti-viral and anti-bacterial in nature making it an useful home remedy not only for herpes but also for many other ailments. This can help in fighting against herpes.
- Aloe vera gel applied over the lesions promotes healing without scarring.
- Stress management can also help in prevention of outbreak of the lesions, particularly the oral lesions.