What is Herpes Simplex Virus 1?

The name Herpes Simplex Virus 1 is also referred to as HSV-1. If you ask me, the name is rather scary; however, the virus really is not as vicious as it sounds. It is important not to confuse it with the Herpes Simplex Virus 2, which causes genital herpes.

No, HSV-1 is much more common and harmless than its name might suggest. HSV-1 is the virus that causes recurring cold sores, or “fever blisters,” around the mouth.

While the HSV-1 virus is not particularly dangerous to a healthy person, it is still unpleasant and outbreaks can be both painful and embarrassing. The way the virus spreads is usually through physical contact.

For example, when kissing a person with cold sores, the virus could pass over to the partner. Similarly, if you share utensils or razor blades the virus might be able to spread to the other person.

Once HPV-1 is in your system, it is incurable; you will have it forever. Luckily, the virus is not always active, and it goes through dormant and active phases. This is because HPV-1 invades nerve cells in the areas it affects.

In this inactive phase, they virus is just waiting around under your skin’s surface. It is only when it turns on its activity that you will see a blister appearing on your lip as the virus breaks through the skin.

These sores can last from a few days to two weeks, and they may leak fluid and then crust over. While someone has active sores on their skin, the virus is at its most contagious.

Your body is more vulnerable when your immune system is weakened which is why cold sores often appear at times when you are particularly stressed or even sick.

Outbreaks often follow other symptoms, such as pain, a sore throat, swollen glands, and pain around the lips. Once they have cleared up, you may not have a breakout of sores for weeks or months.

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