SYMPTOMS OF HERPES
Now medicine knows not only the viral nature of the disease but also 8 types of this virus itself. The first 3 types of herpes are the most common: type I contributes to the appearance of colds on the lips, type II causes diseases of the reproductive system, type III causes chickenpox and shingles.
The most common symptoms of herpes are rashes in the form of vesicles, which can appear on the lips, mucous membranes of the nose and mouth, on the genitals and on the body. Before the appearance of herpetic vesicles in the place of future rashes, precursors appear:
- tingling sensation.
But herpes can occur atypically when there are no classic rashes, but there are discharge, itching, burning, perineal cracks, swelling, redness of the mucous membranes. A symptom of this form of herpes can also be pain - pulls, twists the lower abdomen, or patients complain of bouts of "radiculitis."
Who is at risk?
Almost all of us carry herpes simplex viruses, but few are affected. Why this happens is still a mystery to scientists. Up to 60% of those infected with herpes simplex virus do not even suspect that they are infected, but they can also transmit a dangerous virus to a partner through sexual contact.
Diagnosis of herpes is divided into two stages - a physical examination and laboratory tests, the purpose of which is to find and identify the herpes virus in the blood and other biomaterials.
Often, upon examination, the doctor is able to determine what type of herpes he is dealing with. However, visual signs can be misleading, for example, genital herpes can be like syphilis, and for some types of herpes, external manifestations are generally not characteristic. Therefore, the doctor will definitely refer you to herpes tests.
Laboratory methods are the basis for the diagnosis of herpes. They allow you to determine the presence of the virus even if it is inactive, as well as establish the type of pathogen and its concentration.
When tests may be scheduled
Herpes tests should be taken regularly, even if there are no manifestations of the disease - this is a normal measure of monitoring the state of health. But in some cases, tests for herpes are required.
- during planning and management of pregnancy;
- before preparing for organ transplantation;
- when vesicles and rashes appear on the skin, the cause of which is difficult to determine during the examination.
Laboratory methods for the diagnosis of herpes
Laboratory diagnosis of herpes includes several types of tests. What analysis for herpes is necessary in each case, the attending physician decides. Sometimes, for complete certainty, several different studies will be required.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) . An affordable and extremely simple method that allows you to quickly identify the virus, even if its concentration in the blood is extremely low. Using PCR, you can examine almost any biomaterial. PCR is based on the method of multiple copying part of the DNA of the pathogen and the subsequent identification of the virus and its type.
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) . Using this method, you can detect the presence of antibodies IgM and IgG (qualitative ELISA) and calculate their concentration (quantitative ELISA). With exacerbation, the IgM content is high, and in the chronic stage, IgG. Thus, this method makes it possible to establish the phase of the disease.
- Immunofluorescence Reaction (RIF) . With this method, the biomaterial is treated with a special substance, under the influence of which antigens begin to glow and can be quickly detected by microscopic examination. This method works well if the concentration of the pathogen in the blood is high.
Additional diagnostic methods
- The cultural method . An accurate and reliable method, the only significant drawback of which is a long wait for results. In the study of the cultural method, the biomaterial is transferred to a nutrient medium. The virus begins to actively capture healthy cells and the researcher, observing their changes, is able to identify the virus. A false positive or false negative result is almost impossible when using the cultural method, but the result has to wait 1-2 weeks.
- Serological method . The most common and affordable method for the diagnosis of herpes, which determines antibodies of class G. Often prescribed for suspected herpes of the 2nd type (genital herpes). The biomaterial for this study is blood from a vein.
- The immunogram . This is not so much an analysis for herpes or any other virus as a test of the functioning of the immune system. The specialist examines the blood from a vein and determines the total number of immune cells, as well as their ratio. This analysis allows you to determine which immunoglobulins are missing. An immunogram is prescribed to select the right therapy to stimulate the body's defense system.
- Dot hybridization . The method, in many ways similar to PCR, is also aimed at identifying the pathogen DNA. The diagnostic method can be used even when there are no external manifestations of the disease.
- Vulvolpopocervicoscopy . This method is of high quality and is used to diagnose genital herpes in women. The doctor examines the mucous membranes of the vagina and cervix with a special microscope - it does not give a very large increase, but this is enough to see the rash characteristic of herpes.
Ways of transmitting herpes viruses
When HSV is present on the surface of an infected person's skin, it can be easily transmitted to someone through direct skin contact in the mouth, anus and genitals. The virus can spread to another person through direct contact with other areas of the skin, as well as at the eye level.
The HSV virus cannot be transmitted by touching an object, work surface, washbasin or towel that has been touched by an infected person. The infection can be transmitted, for example, in the following ways: through unprotected vaginal or anal sex with an infected person, through oral sex with an infected person or through genital contact with an infected person.
It is very likely that the virus will be transmitted even before the appearance of blisters, when it is visible, and until the ulcer is completely healed. The HSV virus can still be transmitted to another person even when there are no clinical signs of infection, although it is less likely.
If a mother with genital herpes has wounds while giving birth, the infection may be passed on to the newborn.
Symptomatic treatment of herpes infection
There are a variety of treatment options that can alleviate the injury and help the patient get over the unpleasant symptoms more easily. These include: natural remedies, warm salt water baths, administration of painkillers (such as paracetamol or ibuprofen), applying Vaseline to the affected area, avoiding tight clothing around the affected area, washing hands especially after touching the affected area, abstinence from sexual activity until the disappearance of symptoms.
If urination becomes painful, creams or lotions may be applied to the urethra, containing, for example, lidocaine (a local anesthetic).
For some people, using ice packs can be helpful. Never apply ice directly to the skin, it should always be wrapped in a cloth or towel.
There is no drug that promotes the elimination of the herpes virus from the body. Once contacted, the herpes virus can no longer be eliminated from the body. Doctors may prescribe an antiviral, such as acyclovir, that prevents the virus from multiplying, which can reduce the severity of clinical signs. Antiviral drugs will help the outbreak disappear faster and will also help reduce the severity of symptoms.
Doctors usually prescribe antivirals the first time a person has symptoms. Because recurrent infections are usually mild, antiviral treatment is usually not necessary.
Episodic treatment and suppressive treatment
Episodic treatment is generally applied to people who have less than six recurrences in a year. Doctors may prescribe a 5-day course of antivirals each time symptoms occur.
Doctors prescribe suppressive treatment if a person experiences more than six recurrences in a year. In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take daily antiviral therapy for an indefinite period. The purpose, in this case, is to prevent further recurrences. Suppressive treatment significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the HSV virus to a partner.
Ways to prevent recurrences and transmission of the herpes virus
To reduce the risk of developing or transmitting genital herpes: condoms should be used during intercourse, sexual contact should be avoided while symptoms are present (in the genitals, anal or skin), avoid kissing in case of infection in the oral cavity.
It has been found that stress, fatigue, illness, damage to the skin in the genital/oral areas, or exposure to the sun can trigger recurrences of this infection. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help reduce the number of recurrences of this infection.
If a fever on your lip jumps up and there is no special cream at hand, try to help yourself with folk remedies.
To reduce itching, you can apply a piece of ice or a used tea bag to the bubbles for several minutes (tea contains tannic acid, known for its antiviral properties). Tea tree and sage oils, which have an antiseptic effect, are also suitable.
DID YOU KNOW?
Genital herpes can lead to infertility of spouses: women develop inflammatory processes in the organs of the genital area that prevent pregnancy, in men the virus penetrates the sperm, and they lose their viability.
Infection during pregnancy often leads to miscarriages, severe lesions, and malformations of the unborn child.
In order to “catch” genital herpes in time, a virological examination of blood from a vein or a sample taken from the site of the rash is performed.
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