Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are common viruses that infect the skin. HSV-1 usually causes small blisters around the mouth and is also known as fever blisters or cold sores. HSV-2 mainly causes genital herpes.
HSV-1 is transmitted from person to person through direct contact with contaminated saliva or other infected secretions. HSV-2 is primarily transmitted by sexual contact.
The virus infects the skin and grows at the site of infection. It will then travel backward along nerve fibers where it can remain dormant (inactive) in nerves until reactivation.
Some people may have no symptoms of herpes virus infection. Others may notice the following symptoms, either during the initial outbreak or recurrences:
The sores caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2 usually disappear within a few weeks. But, the virus remains in the body, and the lesions may recur from time to time.
Although there is no cure for HSV-1 or HSV-2, antiviral agents can shorten an outbreak and relieve some symptoms. Specialists at UCLA Dermatology may recommend one or more of the following medications:
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.