What Is Herpes Simplex 1?
What is Herpes Simplex 1? Herpes Simplex 1 (commonly abbreviated HSV-1 for Herpes Simplex Virus 1) is the virus that causes cold sores. HSV-1 is commonly transmitted in children when there are cold sores exposed, generally on or around the lips or inside the mouth. Sores caused by Herpes Simplex 1 can also appear on or near the nose. Unlike the similar virus, HSV-2, that causes genital herpes, Herpes Simplex 1 is for the most part not sexually transmitted.
Cold sores are not always present in someone who has been infected with Herpes Simplex 1 (often contracted in or around the preschool years in close contact with someone else who has it), but there is no cure for the virus and it will remain with you throughout your lifetime. Many people have the virus, which is contagious when sores are present and exposed.
No one knows for sure what causes the sores to activate. One does not have to have a cold to have a cold sore. Herpes Simplex 1 sores can result from stress, menstruation, pregnancy, or other infections. Exposed cold sores are highly infectious and should not be touched. Treatment for cold sores caused by Herpes Simplex 1 revolve around the pain that the sores cause: Ice, heat, or pain relieving over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetominophen.
It is important to see a doctor if cold sores do not heal themselves within seven to ten days, or if redness spreads beyond the sore itself; this can be a sign of a further, worsened infection. Herpes Simplex 1 is a virus that many people have contracted, and many live normal lives carrying it, but as always, asking a doctor what's best is a great help.