Herpes simplex type I reactivation

What is Reactivation of Herpes Simplex Type I

The term “reactivation” refers to the appearance of new visible lesions (breakouts) on the surface of the skin. Reactivation of Herpes simplex type I (HSV-1) is a common viral infection caused by the type I strain of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). It is estimated that more than half of the worldwide population have been infected with HSV-1, either through regular contact with others or from childhood. The majority of HSV-1 infections are asymptomatic (without symptoms) or only cause mild symptoms, such as cold sores around the mouth or a swollen lymph node. However, HSV-1 can still become active and cause outbreaks of visible sores.

What are the Causes of Herpes Simplex Type I Reactivation?

The most common cause of HSV-1 reactivation is stress. Physical stress from a fever, sunburn, or other illness can weaken the body’s immune system and lead to an outbreak. Mental stress, such as problems at work or with relationships, can trigger the virus as well. Herpes simplex type I reactivation may also occur due to hormonal changes, hormonal birth control, and pregnancy. Other activities that may trigger reactivation of HSV-1 include overexposure to the sun and cold weather.

What are the Symptoms of Herpes Simplex Type I Reactivation?

The most common symptom of HSV-1 reactivation is the presence of clusters of small, fluid-filled blisters on the skin. These blisters will generally appear in the same areas where previously active lesions are found. In some cases, lesions may be painful or in areas not typically affected by HSV-1, such as the lower abdomen. The blisters may also appear on other areas of the body, including the face, genitals, hands, feet, and around the anus. Other symptoms of HSV-1 reactivation include itching, burning, or tingling of the affected areas, as well as general discomfort and fatigue.

How is Herpes Simplex Type I Reactivation Treated?

Treatment for HSV-1 reactivation usually involves prescription antiviral medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. These medications help reduce the severity and duration of the outbreak. Extra measures can be taken to help relieve the symptoms of HSV-1 reactivation, such as taking lukewarm baths or using soothing creams or gels to relieve itching. It is important to avoid contact with other people, especially those with active lesions, to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Prevention of Herpes Simplex Type I Reactivation

When possible, it is best to avoid circumstances that are known to trigger HSV-1 reactivation. This includes reducing stress, getting enough rest, and avoiding activities that could increase the risk of infection. It is important to avoid physical contact with active lesions, and to use barrier methods of protection such as condoms during intimate contact. Lastly, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. These preventive measures can help reduce the risk of HSV-1 reactivation.