Some types are so common that more than ninety percent of the population has them, while others are rare except in certain populations of people. All types of the herpes virus have one thing in common though, and that is that these viruses can not be cured. Treatment may be available in the form of antiviral medications, but this simply lowers the level of the virus, it can not completely eliminate the virus. Symptoms can be treated to make the infection more bearable while it runs it's course, but there is currently no drug or treatment available to completely cure you.
What Does Herpes Look Like?
Herpes Simplex 1 (Oral Herpes)
Type one herpes is usually in the form of cold sores, which can be on your lips, your nose, in your mouth, and other areas. Below is a picture of a typical herpes simplex one cold sore symptom. These sores do not only appear on your lips and the skin around them. Herpes simplex one can infect other areas of your body, such as your fingers, and cause an outbreak. The blisters start out small and fluid filled. The fluid blisters bust, and a crust or scab forms over the area, The surrounding skin may also turn red due to irritation. This infection can be spread to other areas on your body by touching the outbreak area and then touching other areas on your body. Type one can cause genital herpes if someone with a cold sore has oral genital contact with another person.
Herpes Simplex 2 (Genital Herpes, Oral, Nose, Eyes)
Herpes simplex 2, also known as genital herpes, is Herpes simplex type two. This herpes infection usually causes outbreaks in the genital area, but this virus type can be spread to other areas, including the mouth, nose, and eyes. If oral genital contact occurs, this type can turn into oral herpes and result in cold sores. Genital herpes causes fluid filled blisters to appear on the genitals, and possibly around the anus area. These can spread to the upper thighs and on the buttocks as well. The blisters will rupture, leaving skin ulcers or lesions. During an outbreak no sexual activity should be performed. Below is a picture of genital herpes that has progressed to the lesion stage.
Herpes Type III (Chickenpox- Varicella)
Herpes type three is responsible for two different diseases, both the chickenpox and shingles. Chickenpox develops with an incubation period. During this time you may run a fever and feel achy, but there will be no rash. After the incubation period, a rash will appear and it consists of medium sized fluid filled blisters which can cover any or all parts of the body. Usually the rash will start on the trunk of the body and spread outwards to the extremities. This used to be a common childhood disease, but the chickenpox vaccine has prevented a lot of these cases in the last few years.
Shingles are caused when the varicella virus becomes reactivated in the body, and then it is called the herpes zoster virus. Shingles is extremely painful, because the rash and blisters follow along the nerve path. The rash usually appears on one side of the trunk, and usually includes the fluid filled blisters that herpes is known for. The nerve and skin in the rash are become extremely sensitive to touch.
Herpes Type IV (Epstein Barr)
Herpes type four is the Epstein Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis. This virus causes fatigue, weakness, and a general feeling of illness. There can also be a sore throat, fever, or headache. The rash in the mouth is one way to tell if the Epstein Barr virus is responsible, but the rash may not be present all the time. A blood test is commonly used to detect this viral infection. With the Epstein Barr virus, glands will become infected and swollen. This infection is common among teenagers and college students, and is highly contagious. Plenty of fluids and rest is recommended if you have the Epstein Barr virus.
Herpes Type V (Cytomegalovirus Rash)
Herpes type five is the Cytomegalovirus. Many people who are infected with this virus may not ever show any symptoms at all. Some may develop a less common form of mononucleosis, and they can have a fever, enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, muscle aches, a sore throat, and other symptoms. Most people are exposed to this virus and it is very common in children and infants. If this virus causes infection in a woman who has not had the virus before, complications can develop, and this is also the case in patients who have a lowered immune system for any reason.
Herpes Type VI & VII (Roseola)
Herpes type six can cause roseola, a rosy rash that may be attributed to other causes. Roseola starts off with a high fever that lasts from two to four days. As the fever goes down, the skin rash appears. This is normally considered harmless, and is treated like a cold or flu, with lots of rest, medication to bring down the fever and make the child more comfortable, and plenty of fluids. Because most patients with roseola are under three years old, if the fever goes too high febrile convulsions can result. Because this infection can be commonly confused with other childhood illnesses, always take your child to the doctor if a rash develops.
Herpes type seven is also responsible for a small percentage of roseola cases in infants and children. The rash starts on the trunk and will spread to the arms, legs, and face last. The red skin rash can be raised or flat. Just like with roseola caused by herpes type six, all you can do for this infection is treat the symptoms and make sure to get plenty of fluids and rest.
Herpes Type VIII (Kaposi's Sarcoma)
Herpes type eight is associated with Kaposi's Sarcoma, which is a type of cancer. This cancer is normally rare in most of the population, but in the population that has a compromised immune system, like those AIDS or HIV, organ transplant patients, people receiving chemotherapy, and others, this virus type can cause the much higher risks. Kaposi's sarcoma appears as small dark patches, and these may be blue, purple, red, or black, and resemble bruises at first. Swelling of the lymph nodes may occur, and sometimes there may be some swelling in the arms or legs. Over time, these patches may grow, and raise up if they are flat. Tis cancer spreads quickly, and this results in even more patches and growths. If you have any unusual bruising or marks, see your doctor and discuss this. Because this herpes virus type can cause cancer, if you develop any signs of Kaposi's sarcoma get medical attention immediately.