Posts Tagged ‘viral shedding’

Herbal Supplements and Oils

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-17-2010

Herbal remedies have been used since the beginning of recorded history.  All ancient civilizations have records of herbal cures and their effectiveness against disease.  

There are certain herbs that have been found to be helpful for herpes and cold sores. People turn to natural options for various reasons including cost, safety, effectiveness, and because many people would prefer not to take suppressive medication.  Some herbs or supplements can interact with medications and may not agree with a particular person, so it is always recommended to first consult your physician before beginning any treatment program.

Every day more and more studies are being conducted that provide consistent data evidencing specific natural compounds can reduce the activity of the herpes virus and viral shedding.  A simple supplement regime has helped many to successfully eliminate their herpes symptoms.  Medicinal herbs may help to increase the body’s immune response against herpes viruses, prevent future outbreaks, and provide some resistance to infection. 

The most notable of the herbal supplements are Andrographis combined with Echinacea, Olive Leaf, St John’s Wort, and Lemon Balm. The following is information on some of the herbs and oils that have been found to work well for many.  

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)

Andrographis is a bitter herb.  It is commonly used in Asia as an effective remedy for fighting infections and strengthening the immune system.

Strengthening the body’s immune system is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks. Once exposed to the herpes virus, outbreaks are typically related to times when the immune system is weakened or under pressure, such as from stress, illness, fatigue, diet, surgery, over exposure to sunlight, medications, etc.   This is why Andrographis is indicated for the treatment and management of herpes. The effectiveness of this herb has been found to be enhanced when it is combined with immune stimulators, such as Echinacea, zinc and vitamin C.

Andrographis interferes with viral reproduction and stimulates the production of antibodies and large white blood cells (macrophages) that kill invading viruses. 

Andrographis is considered a safe herb with very low toxicity.  It is not recommended during pregnancy and should not be used if there is a known allergy to the daisy plant family.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea is an immune stimulant.  It is recommended to be taken along with Andrographis to improve its effectiveness. These two herbs taken together have been shown to be a powerful immune system booster and also specifically targets and destroys viral infected cells.

Echinacea is one of the most well known and researched herbs in the world.  There have been almost 400 research papers about Echinacea appearing in scientific literature in the last 70 years.  It has been shown to have strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Some case studies have shown promising results with Echinacea reducing the frequency and intensity of herpes outbreaks when taken consistently.

This herb also appears to prevent infection and assist the body in repairing tissue damaged by infection.

Echinacea, especially when combined with Andrographis, is a powerful antiviral immune stimulant and may be effective in helping to prevent HSV-1 and HSV-2 recurrences. Due to the herbs response to restoring the skin after infection and reducing inflammation, it may also assist healing during active outbreaks.

Echinacea is considered a very safe herb. It is also generally safe and effective for use in people who have auto-immune diseases, such as HIV, Lupus and Crohn’s Disease, but should not be taken by individuals who are taking immunosuppressant medication.

Olive Leaf (Olea europaea)

The medicinal properties of the Olive leaf have been known by people in the Middle East for centuries.  Tea was made from the leaves and it was believed to fight coughs, sore throat, fever and gout.  Poultices were also made from the leaves for skin problems such as rashes and boils.

Olive leaf is showing impressive results against the herpes viruses, including HSV-1, HSV-2 and Herpes zoster, in anecdotal and clinical trials. It has demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties. The olive leaf contains a natural compound called oleuropein, which has been found to be lethal to the Herpes simplex viruses Type 1 and 2 in clinical studies performed by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals. These trials found it inactivated the herpes virus and prevented it from entering cells.

Olive leaf extract has the ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses. Olive leaf extract has been demonstrated to have antiviral properties against both HSV Type 1 and 2, and has been proven in comprehensive clinical trials to reduce herpes viral shedding and stop viral replication. It has also been shown to have the ability to directly penetrate viral infected cells, to neutralize the function of the herpes virus at a cell level.

As well as being a powerful antiviral herb, Olive Leaf can also be helpful for yeast and fungal infections, boosting the immune system, protecting the heart, raising energy levels and helping to cure infections.

Olive Leaf Extract is non­toxic, but because it kills many germs very quickly, it can cause flu­like reactions in some people.    It should never be used along with antibiotics as it can inactivate them.  It should also not be used by individuals taking insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents.  If taking any prescription medication consult your physician before taking Olive Leaf.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Studies have found that an extract of the plant was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of recurrent episodes of oral and genital herpes.   St John’s Wort is also known to have potent antiviral and antibacterial properties.  One of the components in St John’s Wort, hypericin, has been shown in studies to have antiviral activity against several viruses including herpes. 

Red Marine Algae

Red marine algae has been included in the diet of Asians for thousands of years because of its highly nutritious qualities.  It has also been found to be very effective in fighting herpes infections. Current research on Red Marine Algae has shown promising results in the control and reduction of the Herpes simplex virus.  Clinical trials have shown that sulfated polysaccharides, rich in Red Marine Algae, can suppress HIV, herpes, and influenza viruses. 

Studies also show that the carbohydrates extracted from red marine algae (carrageenans) do not permit binding of unfriendly proteins to a cell’s surface, which effectively blocks the virus from attacking the cell.  The carrageenans have been shown to be effective for treating patients with herpes infections.

Red marine algae can be used both orally and topically to provide relief from symptoms of herpes infections.  Red Marine Algae is considered very safe and there have been no side effects or toxicity reported from its use.

Prunella vulgaris

Prunella vulgaris is a perennial plant found in China, the British Isles, Europe, and North America.   This herbal remedy looks promising for treatment of herpes infections.  Recently, research has shown that a cream made from constituents in Prunella Vulgaris are useful in lessening or stopping outbreaks.  Studies on animals infected with HSV 1 and HSV 2 developed fewer lesions when treated with a topical cream was created containing a derivative from Prunella vulgaris than those who did not receive the treatment. 

Prunella can be used safely internally (used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb) and externally in a wash or salve.

Lemon Balm (Melissa extract and Melissa oil)

In research Lemon balm has been shown to have antiviral effects against the herpes virus.  It has natural properties that inhibit the virus.  Applying strong lemon balm extracts to initial herpes outbreaks can prevent recurrence, or can speed healing.

Melissa extracts and Melissa essential oils are now available in creams and capsule forms.  It can also be consumed internally as tea, made from the dried herb.

Lemon Balm can be taken long ­term without side effects.  

Coconut Oil

Recent anecdotal accounts suggest that application of coconut oil, especially in the prodromal stage, provides some symptom relief to patients with outbreaks of herpes infections.  Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has a broad­ spectrum of anti­viral and anti­fungal action.  

Oil of Oregano

Oil of Oregano has been shown to be beneficial in many areas.  It is an immune system stimulant, an anti­-inflammatory as well as an analgesic.  Studies have confirmed that Oil of Oregano, an extract from the herb, also has anti­viral, anti­fungal, and anti­parasitic properties.  A study published in 1996 in Medical Sciences Research, showed that this potent herb killed RNA and DNA viruses (like HSV1, HSV 2 and Herpes Zoster).

Applied topically, Oil of Oregano has been found to stop the progression of cold sores very effectively. A thin coating of the oil applied during the prodromal stage often prevents the outbreak altogether.

Do not use Oil of Oregano in combination with other medication, especially blood thinners.  Do not use if you have a liver or kidney condition.  Keep the oil from getting into the eyes as it can cause severe burning and itching sensation. Do not use in high doses, please note that essential oils in large doses are known to be toxic to the nervous system. 

Jojoba oil helps encourage healing of the skin.  Due to its antimicrobial properties it is able to prevent the growth of some bacterial and fungal microbes that attack the skin.  Jojoba oil contains nutrients, like vitamin E, B complex vitamins and the minerals silicon, chromium, copper and zinc, so it can be helpful in healing cold sores.  In addition, the chemical composition of jojoba closely resembles that of the skin’s natural sebum, so it is easily absorbed and rarely causes allergic reactions, even in the most sensitive individuals. 

Tea Tree (Melaleuca) and Eucalyptus oils are natural antibacterials that are effective against the symptoms of herpes infections and also seem to speed healing.  The antiviral properties of the oils may fight many common infectious diseases such as herpes.

Palmarosa Oil has antimicrobial, antiseptic, bactericidal properties among others, which makes it an excellent choice for the treatment of herpes.  It can be used topically and taken internally. 

Ravensara Oil has been in use for centuries as a tonic and for fighting infections. Modern studies on this oil have revealed many other medicinal values.  Ravensara Oil has analgesic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.  Can be used internally or applied externally.

Lavender is beneficial against the cold sore/herpes virus.  A blend of peppermint and lavender oils is often recommended for herpes.    It can sometimes halt an outbreak if applied during the prodormal stage, before the blisters appear.

Myrrh is an herb that has three main constituents, the resin, the gum, and the volatile oil.  All are thought to be important in herbal medicine.  The therapeutic resin has reportedly been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell) in test tube studies.  It also has astringent properties and fights inflammation.

Sage is an antiseptic that will kill most bacteria and viruses that it comes in contact with.

PREVENTION

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-13-2010

The only way to eliminate the risk of contracting herpes, or any other STD, is by not having sex with anyone (abstinence), or by only having sex with a non-infected partner who is only having sex with you (mutual monogamy).  However, since many people are asymptomatic, herpes is often transmitted by infected persons who do not know they are infected.  If you are not positive that both you and your partner are herpes free, use protection during sex. 

The virus is most likely to be transmitted during an active outbreak.  Sexual contact should be avoided from the first signs of an outbreak (itching, tingling or burning sensations) until lesions are completely healed.

The chances of transmitting the virus to a partner are small, if appropriate precautions are used. Having genital herpes does not mean you will have to completely abstain from sex or that sexual satisfaction and enjoyment will be reduced. When only one partner is infected, many couples have sex for years without ever transmitting herpes to the uninfected partner.  Some couples choose only to avoid sexual contact when signs or symptoms of an outbreak are present.  Other couples go further by using condoms when no symptoms are present to avoid transmission by viral shedding.

Studies have shown that the herpes virus does not pass through latex condoms.  The use of condoms between outbreaks may reduce the risk of transmitting the virus by covering the mucous membranes, the most likely sites of infection. However, use of condoms does not guarantee safety.  All herpes sores may not be located in the area covered by the condom. It is important to use the condom properly, from start to finish for each sexual encounter.

Additional protection may be offered by the use of spermicidal foams, creams, and jellies.  Never use contraceptive foams, creams or jellies instead of a condom.  They are best used with a condom.

The risk of transmission of herpes is increased if there are any cuts or abrasion on the skin. Avoid sex if you have any breaks in the skin.   Small abrasions often occur during sexual intercourse due to insufficient lubrication.  It may be helpful to use a lubricant during sexual intercourse.

Herpes sores in areas other than the genital area are just as contagious as those in the genital area.  Due to the highly contagious nature of the herpes virus avoid contact with sores in other areas, such as on the thighs or buttocks. By touching a sore on yourself or your partner, the fingers, eyes and other body areas can be accidentally infected.  Oral sex should be avoided if a cold sore is present to prevent spreading the virus to the genital area. 

Remember, even when there are no signs or symptoms of the infection there is still a small risk of spreading herpes.

COLD SORES

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-12-2010

Cold sores, also commonly known as fever blisters, oral herpes or herpes labialis, are caused from the herpes simplex virus.  The lesions that may occur on the mouth, lip, throat, cheek, chin, or nose are small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores.

Oral herpes, or cold sores, are very common. It is estimated that 80% of the American population have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1.

Because some people’s immune systems have the ability to completely suppress the virus a person who has been infected with the herpes cold sore virus may not experience an outbreak.

The virus is spread from person to person by skin to skin contact with an infected area.  One does not have to have symptoms in order to be contagious.  Due to viral shedding, the virus can be spread from contact with the apparently normal skin of an asymptomatic carrier.  Infected saliva is also a means of transmitting the virus.  It is also possible to transmit the virus particles through objects such as a drinking glass, eating utensil, lip stick, lip gloss, toothbrush, or even a face cloth.

The fingers, eyes, and other body areas can become infected by touching the infected area and then touching another area of the body.  Preventing self-infection is simple. It is best not to touch an infected area during an outbreak.  However, when it is necessary to touch an infected area help prevent the virus from spreading by washing your hands with soap and warm water immediately.

The usual incubation period of the virus is approximately two to twelve days after the first exposure to the virus. A cold sore goes through a cycle of phases.  The prodromal stage of the outbreak, when one experiences symptoms such as pain, itching, or tingling, often precedes the blisters by one to two days.  Next is the appearance of a small, fluid-filled blister. The blister will usually ulcerate (seep) and then form a scab before healing and disappearing completely.

Once infected with cold sores, the virus remains inside the body forever, usually in a latent (dormant) state. The virus can become “activated” causing a cold sore recurrence due to many factors.  When cold sores reoccur they will typically appear in the same location that they did during previous outbreaks.

There are many factors that can cause, or “trigger” a cold sore recurrence, however, it is often related to times when the immune system is lowered or run down.  Any one or combination of the following factors might sometimes, but not always, trigger an outbreak: illness, stress, surgery, fatigue, skin irritation (such as sunburn), diet, menstruation, exposure to strong sunlight, cold or fevers, vigorous sexual intercourse, and certain foods or beverages.

There are many different cold sore treatments and remedies to assist with healing and help to prevent recurrences. Topical sore treatments such as Medavir, Abreva and Zovirax can help to shorten the duration of the outbreak. There are also treatments, herbs and nutrients, such as Medavir, and L-Lysine that may help to decrease the frequency of outbreaks.

No matter what treatment option one chooses, the immune system is a key factor in controlling outbreaks.  The immune system is responsible for keeping the body healthy and fighting off pathogens like the herpes virus.  Help defend against the virus by taking good care of yourself.  Getting enough rest, moderate exercise, eating a healthy diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables, and lowering stress levels will help to boost the immune system.

GENITAL HERPES

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-09-2010

Genital herpes is a STD that is generally spread by skin-to-skin contact. It is a contagious viral infection primarily affecting the genitalia of men and women.  Genital Herpes may be caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2, however, is mostly caused by HSV-2.  HSV-1 (or cold sores) can be transferred to the genitals and HSV-2 (or genital herpes) can be transferred to the mouth through oral sex.

Genital herpes is extremely common. In America an estimated one out of every five adults are infected, but only about a third of those are aware that they have the virus.  Many have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms and therefore do not relate the symptoms to herpes.  

Because some people’s immune systems have the ability to completely suppress the virus a person who has been infected with the herpes cold sore virus may not experience an outbreak.  

The virus is spread from person to person by skin to skin contact with an infected area, not through the air like a flu virus.  Oral sex, intercourse and rubbing against the infected area are common examples of how the virus can be transferred. One does not have to have symptoms in order to be contagious.  Due to viral shedding, the virus can be spread from contact with the apparently normal skin of an asymptomatic carrier.

The herpes virus does not pass through latex condoms.  Condoms do not provide 100% protection because a lesion may be found which the condom did not cover. It is important to remember that the virus can be spread when a person has no symptoms through viral shedding. Therefore condoms or latex barrier protection should also be used between outbreaks for additional protection. When used consistently condoms are one of the best available forms of prevention.

A genital herpes infection goes through a cycle of phases.  During the initial genital herpes outbreak it is common to feel flu like symptoms (fever, headache, swollen glands).  The prodromal stage of the outbreak, when one experiences symptoms such as pain, itching, or tingling, often precedes the sores by one to two days.  Next is the appearance of a small, fluid-filled blister. The blister will usually ulcerate (seep) and then form a scab before healing and disappearing completely.   The outbreak can sometimes resemble bumps, cuts, sores, or a rash in or around the genital area.  The typical duration of an outbreak is 3 to 14 days but may last as long as 6 weeks. 

Once infected with genital herpes, the virus remains inside the body forever, usually in a latent (dormant) state. The virus can become “activated” causing a recurrence due to many factors.  When genital herpes reoccur they will typically appear in the same location that they did during previous outbreaks.

There are many factors that can cause, or “trigger” a genital herpes recurrence, however, it is often related to times when the immune system is lowered or run down.  Any one or combination of the following factors might sometimes, but not always, trigger an outbreak: illness, stress, surgery, fatigue, skin irritation (such as sunburn), diet, menstruation, exposure to strong sunlight, cold or fevers, vigorous sexual intercourse, and certain foods or beverages.

There are many different treatments and remedies to assist with healing and help to prevent recurrences. Topical treatments such as Medavir, Abreva and Zovirax can help to shorten the duration of the outbreak. There are also treatments, herbs and nutrients, such as Medavir, and L-Lysine that may help to decrease the frequency of outbreaks.

No matter what treatment option one chooses, the immune system is a key factor in controlling outbreaks.  The immune system is responsible for keeping the body healthy and fighting off pathogens like the herpes virus.  Help defend against the virus by taking good care of yourself.  Getting enough rest, moderate exercise, eating a healthy diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables, and lowering stress levels will help to boost the immune system.

What is herpes?

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-08-2010

Herpes is a common viral infection.  There are many different “herpes” viruses including conditions such as genital herpes, cold sores, chickenpox and shingles. Other human members of this group of viruses include Epstein- Barr virus, Human cytomegalovirus, and the recently discovered Human herpes virus.  The herpes viruses are also widespread throughout the animal kingdom.

The herpes virus can spread from person to person by direct contact, that is, directly from the site of infection to the site of contact, unlike a flu virus that you can get through the air.  It can appear on many different areas of the body and is typically marked by an eruption of a cluster of blisters, although some people show very mild or no symptoms at all.

The usual incubation period of the virus before any symptoms show is approximately two to twelve days after the first exposure to the virus. However, the virus can lay dormant for periods of time before any symptoms begin to show.  Some people may not experience a recognizable outbreak for several months or even years after exposure. 

Symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Many people never experience active symptoms (asymptomatic carriers).  Symptoms vary from very mild to severe in others. 

Herpes is estimated to affect some 80 million people in America. At least one in five adults in the United States has genital herpes.

There is no cure for herpes to date. Efforts to develop a herpes vaccine by biotechnology companies are ongoing. Until an effective herpes vaccine or cure for HSV infection is found, the main approach to treatment is suppressive antiviral therapy.  Special attention to supporting the immune system should be given. A weakened immune system is more prone to outbreaks.

OTHER HERPETIC CONDITIONS

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-04-2010

ASYMPTOMATIC HERPES

It is possible for a person to carry the herpes virus without knowing that they have it. When a person shows no symptoms it is known as asymptomatic herpes. Up to 80% of people infected with HSV-2 show no signs of the infection.

All herpes viruses have in common the ability to remain inactive (dormant) in the body for long periods of time during which there are no symptoms. The virus may be in a person’s system for a various time periods, sometimes years, before any symptoms begin to show.

Herpes simplex viruses can be spread when there are no symptoms due to a phenomena known as Viral Shedding. So it is possible for a person to transmit the infection to their partner without even knowing they are infected.

OCULAR HERPES

Ocular herpes is usually caused by HSV-1, the herpes simplex virus responsible for most cold sores. It affects the area around and in the eye. The eyelids, the mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and the under surface of the eyelid, and the cornea are the parts of the eye ocular herpes generally infects. There is no cure for ocular herpes.

Herpes keratitis is the most common form of eye herpes. One of the first signs of infection is inflammation of the cornea.

You can contract herpes of the eye by self inoculation and contamination during your own active herpes infection or cold sore or by contact with another person having a herpes outbreak.

Treatment for eye herpes depends on where the infection is located in the eye.

HERPES WHITLOW (finger herpes)

Herpes whitlow is a condition normally caused by the Herpes simplex virus (the same virus that normally causes cold sores), where the herpes virus is spread to the fingers.

Herpes whitlow outbreaks are often painful and at times disabling, just like herpetic lesions anywhere else on the body.

The fingers, eyes, and other body areas can accidentally become infected by self inoculation and contamination, spreading the virus from the location of an outbreak to other places on the body. To help prevent the virus from spreading further, wash your hands frequently during an outbreak, and as soon as possible after touching an outbreak area. If at all possible do not touch the area during an outbreak.

HERPES ENCEPHALITIS  (herpes in the brain)

Encephalitis is a condition where the brain becomes inflamed due to a virus or other types of infections. Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) can cause encephalitis. Herpes encephalitis is extremely rare and affects only two cases per million in the U.S.

Herpes simplex type 1 most often causes mild symptoms like cold sores and fever blisters and is generally not life-threatening and has no long-term effects on general physical health. However, it can occasionally travel from the nasal cavity up into the sinuses, and then into the brain causing a rare condition called Encephalitis, which can cause complications.

Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment of herpes encephalitis are necessary. If left untreated, herpes encephalitis can result in death. Symptoms can include a sore throat, fever, headache, a stiff neck, runny nose and vomiting. More serious symptoms such as personality changes, paralysis, hallucinations, convulsions, and coma can occur as the disease progresses. It is important to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you suspect you have herpes encephalitis.

CHICKENPOX

Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the Herpes varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The disease spreads through contact with an infected person’s chickenpox blisters. It is also easily spread through the air when infected people sneeze or cough. People who have never had chickenpox can get infected just by being in a room with someone who has the disease.

Initial symptoms may include aches, fever, fatigue, irritability and sore throat. This Is followed by an itchy rash that can develop into as many as 250-500 blisters. Symptoms appear between 10 and 21 days after exposure to the virus.

Once infected the virus remains inside the body forever, usually in a latent (dormant) state. In some people who have had chickenpox the virus becomes “activated” later in life causing shingles.

EPSTEIN-BARR VIRUS

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a member of the herpesvirus family and one of the most common human viruses. Most people become infected with EBV at some time during their life and develop EBV antibodies that prevent repeated sickness from re-infection.

Infants are susceptible to EBV as soon as maternal antibody protection (present at birth) disappears. EBV infections in children usually cause no symptoms or are indistinguishable from the other mild, brief childhood illnesses.

When infection with EBV occurs during adolescence or young adulthood, it causes infectious mononucleosis 35% to 50% of the time. Symptoms may include fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Infectious mononucleosis is almost never fatal. Occasionally more serious symptoms develop such as a swollen spleen or liver involvement. Only rarely do heart problems or involvement of the central nervous system occur.

The symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually resolve in 1 or 2 months, however, EBV remains dormant or latent in a few cells in the throat and blood for the rest of the person’s life. Periodically, the virus can reactivate, usually without symptoms of illness.

Transmission of EBV is typically through contact with the saliva of an infected person. Transmission of this virus through the air or blood does not normally occur. The time from exposure to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. Persons with infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks.

Transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent since many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. No precautions or isolation procedures are recommended, since the virus is found frequently in the saliva of healthy people.

How is Herpes Spread?

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-03-2010

The herpes virus can spread from person to person by direct contact, that is, directly from the site of infection to the site of contact, unlike a flu virus that you can get through the air.  Herpes is most easily spread when a sore is present, but, one does not have to have symptoms in order to be contagious.  Due to a phenomenon known as Viral Shedding, the virus can be spread from contact with the apparently normal skin of an asymptomatic carrier, so it is possible for a person to transmit the infection to their partner without even knowing they are infected.

An infected person can spread the virus to other parts of his or her own body.  The fingers, eyes, and other body areas can accidentally become infected by self inoculation and contamination by touching the location of an outbreak or viral shedding and then touching, rubbing or scratching another part of the body. 

Oral herpes can be caused by HSV- 1 or HSV-2, but typically, HSV-1 is above the waist. Genital herpes is usually caused by HSV-2, and generally below the waist.   However it is important to note that either type can be found above or below the waist since transmission is through direct contact.  HSV-1 can be transmitted from mouth to mouth through a kiss or from mouth to genitalia through oral sex.  Similarly, HSV-2 can be transmitted from genitalia to genitalia through vaginal or anal intercourse or from genitalia to mouth through oral sex.  

Transmission of Oral Herpes

The virus is spread from person to person by skin to skin contact with an infected area.  Kissing someone with a lesion is a very common way for the virus to be transmitted.  One does not have to have symptoms in order to be contagious.  Due to viral shedding, the virus can be spread from contact with the apparently normal skin of an asymptomatic carrier.  Infected saliva may also be a means of transmitting the virus.  It also may be possible to transmit the virus particles through objects such as a drinking glass, eating utensil, lip stick, lip gloss, toothbrush, or even a face cloth.

Transmission of Genital Herpes

The virus is spread from person to person by skin to skin contact with an infected area, not through the air like a flu virus.  Intercourse, oral or anal sex, masturbation, and rubbing against the infected area are common examples of how the virus can be transferred. One does not have to have symptoms in order to be contagious.  Due to viral shedding, the virus can be spread from contact with the apparently normal skin of an asymptomatic carrier.

An uninfected individual has about a 75% chance of contracting herpes during intimate contact with someone actively shedding virus.  However, since asymptomatic viral shedding occurs without any signs or symptoms, it is impossible to know exactly when viral shedding is happening.

The herpes virus does not pass through latex condoms.  Condoms do not provide 100% protection because a lesion may be found which the condom did not cover. It is important to remember that the virus can be spread when a person has no symptoms through viral shedding. Therefore condoms or latex barrier protection should also be used between outbreaks for additional protection. When used consistently condoms are one of the best available forms of prevention.

VIRAL SHEDDING

 :: Posted by wordpressblog on 06-01-2010

Viral shedding is when the herpes virus is active, has traveled the nerve pathway to the skin’s surface, and is shedding at the infection site.  The herpes virus is contagious during this active time and can therefore be spread through direct contact with the infected area.

Sometimes the virus is shedding at the site of infections between outbreaks, when there are no visible signs or symptoms.  This is called Asymptomatic Viral Shedding.  Often herpes simplex infections are spread by people who either don’t know they are infected or don’t know they are contagious due to asymptomatic viral shedding.

Asymptomatic transmission through viral shedding is far less likely than spreading the virus when lesions are present. However, since asymptomatic viral shedding occurs without any signs or symptoms, it is impossible to know exactly when viral shedding is happening, therefore there will always be a small risk of transmission.

For people with active outbreaks, shedding is most likely to occur from a few days before symptoms show through a few days after the outbreak has healed.  Completely avoid contact with the infected area during these times to avoid spreading the virus. To further reduce the risk of transmission condoms should be used in between outbreaks.