The condition of herpes characterised by the formation of blisters or vesicles either on the skin or in mucous membranes, such as the mouth or genitals. It is an extremely painful and unpleasant inflammatory condition caused by the Herpes Virus.
Herpes Simplex virus type 1 causes the common condition known as a cold sore. The Herpes Simplex virus type 11, causes genital herpes. It may be recurrent and is extremely contagious, especially at the stage where the blisters burst.
Herpes Zoster is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus and is responsible for the painful condition known as Shingles.
The virus enters the body initially as the causative agent of Chickenpox. After that illness subsides the virus lays dormant in an area of the Spinal Cord. When conditions are suitable, usually when the body is at a low ebb and the immune system is under strain, the Virus will erupt and affect the sensory nerve area supplied by the spinal cord level where the Virus had hidden.
This condition usually has a pattern to it. Firstly there is pain as the sensory nerve endings are irritated, and the pain is always localized to one side of the trunk or head mainly. The pain can be quite intense, and then some days later a blister type rash will appear in the same area.
The rash is similar to Chickenpox and can be itchy and irritating as well as painful. It is possible to control the condition with drugs if diagnosed within days of the onset of the symptoms e.g. Zovirax for Cold Sores.
If not caught soon enough, Calamine Lotion and analgesics are helpful. The juice of crushed leeks can also be used as a soothing lotion to control the discomfort.
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