The herpes simplex virus is usually just referred to as herpes. It can appear in two different strains, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Herpes simplex 1, sometimes called oral herpes, usually appears on or around the mouth. This is because it is most commonly transmitted by oral to oral contact, such as kissing, sharing someone’s drinking container, or using an infected person’s toothbrush. The HSV-1 virus can also cause a genital form of herpes.
HSV-2 is usually transmitted through sexual contact. Because of this, herpes simplex 2 generally shows symptoms around the genitals, the upper thigh areas, and the buttocks. HSV-2 causes genital herpes, and along with oral herpes, it is an infection that lasts a lifetime. As far as symptoms go, sometimes there are no signs that you have contracted herpes, either the first or second strain. When symptoms do occur, there are both common and infrequent signs to look for.
Common Signs You Have Developed the Herpes Virus
Oral herpes is extremely common. In many cases it is not very painful, and slightly noticeable if it is noticed at all. Small blisters or ulcers will develop around the mouth area, and when physical symptoms are present, this is when herpes is highly contagious. Bear in mind that someone has to come in direct physical contact with herpes blisters or sores for the virus to be transmitted.
Signs of oral herpes, almost always HSV- 1, are generally referred to as fever blisters or cold sores. HSV- 2 can also be present in and around the mouth, and in this case, was usually transmitted through oral/genital contact during sex. Common herpes simplex 1 symptoms include itching and tingling sensations around the infected site. In 2012, there were as many as 3.7 billion people with some form of oral herpes infection. Common symptoms for HSV-2 mimic the sores and blisters of HSV-1, and these blisters around the anal or genital regions are called ulcers. Genital herpes often causes an irregular discharge from the penis or vagina.
Uncommon Herpes Symptoms
In addition to the mild to medium pain around the infection site due to blisters and sores, herpes simplex 1 and simplex 2 can cause the following uncommon problems. When left untreated and a weakened immune system is also present, due to some chronic illness, side-effect of medication or another reason, herpes can cause high fever and headaches.
Swollen lymph nodes may also appear, along with body aches, and pain in the hips, buttocks and legs with genital herpes. These symptoms usually come and go as the herpes becomes dormant and recurs, which is typical with the herpes virus. Difficulty urinating may also be experienced, and in rare cases, a herpes infection can cause the spinal cord to become inflamed to the point where pain is experienced in the eyes, and a stiff, painful neck may also be present.