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What is Herpes?

Herpes simplex is a skin disease caused by infection with a virus called Herpes simplex virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with the skin of a person infected with herpes, and can therefore be transmitted through sexual intercourse as well. Herpes can appear in various locations on the body, including the mouth, genitals, and anus. Symptoms can range from being asymptomatic to experiencing itching, pain, fever, and blisters. Herpes is a recurring disease that can be triggered by factors such as a weakened immune system. Therefore, it is crucial to have a good understanding of herpes. Lack of knowledge and understanding may increase the risk to yourself and those around you.

ผื่นโรคเริม Herpes simplex แดง บวมคัน ตุ่มใส

Types of Herpes Virus

Herpes simplex virus is the cause of herpes and is divided into two types:

1. Herpes simplex virus type I: HSV-1

This type of herpes virus appears as lesions on the skin above the waist, including the mouth, face, and body. It causes red rashes, blisters, and sores, and is transmitted through contact with the secretions of infected individuals, such as saliva.

2. Herpes simplex virus type II: HSV-2

Herpes virus type 2 is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected individual. It manifests as lesions in the genital and anal areas, accompanied by itching, pain, and blisters.

Symptoms of herpes

Herpes is a recurring disease, and the severity of symptoms seems to vary depending on whether the patient is experiencing it for the first time or if it has recurred. Most patients will experience similar symptoms, such as:

  • Blisters cover a wide area and cause itching.
  • Painful burning sensation.
  • Burning feeling during


  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge in women.
  • Fever, body heat, and headache.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

Herpes can occur in different parts of the body, depending on the type of virus the patient has been infected with. For example, clear blisters around the mouth are caused by the HSV-1 virus, while itching, swelling, and redness around the genitals or anus are caused by the HSV-2 virus.

Symptoms of initial herpes infection

Patients experiencing their first case of herpes have an incubation period of 3-7 days, and most are asymptomatic. However, if symptoms do appear, they tend to be more severe than usual. This can be identified by the appearance of numerous blisters across a large area, which then rupture and form sores. This can cause a burning sensation and pain. You may also experience fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.

Symptoms of individuals with recurrent herpes

In the case of patients who have recurrent herpes, the symptoms are usually less severe than the first time. The lesions are smaller and there are fewer blisters compared to the first occurrence. There is only slight itching and no other symptoms such as headache, fever, or enlarged lymph nodes. Many patients may overlook these symptoms, unintentionally causing an outbreak to others.

Causes of herpes recurrence

As mentioned earlier, herpes can recur if a trigger is encountered. The factors that can cause it to reoccur include:

  • The body’s immunity decreases.
  • Stress
  • Stay in the sunlight for a long time.
  • Illness from other diseases that result in low immunity.
  • The nerves are affected.
  • Receiving immunosuppressant drugs.

How is herpes transmitted?

Herpes is transmitted through contact with the infected person’s skin in the area showing symptoms, as well as sharing utensils or objects such as drinking straws and glasses. The disease can also be spread through unprotected sexual intercourse. Oral sex has been found to be a mode of transmission for herpes. It has also been found that the transmission of germs from mother to child can occur when a mother is infected with herpes during pregnancy and infects her child during childbirth.

Diagnosis of herpes

If you suspect that you may have herpes, it is recommended to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. This is because genital ulcers are not necessarily caused by herpes. The doctor will take a medical history and examine the area where the blisters have appeared or the herpes wound looks like. Then, the doctor will perform a lab test called a PCR test (Polymerase chain reaction test), which detects the genetic material of germs in secretions. This method is accurate in detecting infection and identifying the type of virus.

How to manage herpes?

Once a correct diagnosis has been made, doctors will prescribe antiviral drugs to prevent the HSV virus from multiplying. They will also provide pain relievers to reduce the impact of herpes symptoms on the patient’s quality of life. Medications for herpes treatment include:

  • Antiviral drugs for HSV include Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, and Famciclovir.
  • Pain relievers like Paracetamol, NSAIDs, and anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken orally.
  • Topical antiseptic creams or ointments such as Mupirocin and Fucidin are also used.

During a herpes outbreak, doctors recommend keeping personal items separate from others, as the virus can be transmitted through contact. It is also advised to avoid sharing personal items and eating together during this time.

How to avoid getting herpes?

The most effective method to avoid herpes is to abstain from sexual contact with individuals who have herpes sores, whether they are genital sores or sores in the mouth. This is because individuals with herpes sores can transmit the infection to their partners through activities such as kissing, sharing meals, and engaging in sexual intercourse. Furthermore, using a condom every time you engage in sexual activity can reduce the risk of contracting herpes from another person by over 80%.


For individuals who have herpes, it is important to prioritize maintaining a healthy body and mind. This includes practicing good hygiene, consuming a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and ensuring adequate rest to support a strong and stable immune system. These measures can help reduce the likelihood of herpes recurrence.

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