Herpes simplex viruses, types 1 and 2, are responsible for the various types of herpes infections you will hear about. Herpes is a very contagious infection. In fact, more than 65% of the world’s population is probably carrying the virus in their nervous systems right now.
You may be wondering why it is that you don’t find long lines of patients seeking treatment for the disease. The main reason is that the virus remains dormant for most of its life but launches attacks when triggered. After the first outbreak, patients may even not notice recurrent outbreaks symptoms.
Factors such as prolonged exposure to sun, stress, sex, hormonal changes and others are thought to trigger dormant herpes virus to activation. Some surgeries and trauma which can even be caused by operations such as wart removal surgery can also trigger the virus.
In a majority of the reported cases, herpes appears on the mouth (oral herpes) and around the genitals (genital herpes). It can however still appear on other body parts such as shoulders, lower legs and hands but rarely. Its symptoms are itchy burning sensation accompanied by clustered sores which later form blisters.
Can herpes on legs occur?
It is very rare that you find herpes on the legs but it is possible. If it happens that you have entry points for the virus on the leg such as cuts or open wounds, the virus will definitely enter the body through those points. From there, you will experience herpes symptoms on the part where it entered the body.
Herpes zoster and herpes gladiatorum are the two types of the infection that you will mostly find occurring on other body parts apart from the genitals and mouth.
Herpes gladiatorum can occur in people who take part in wrestling activities. This is because skin to skin contact with lower legs is encouraged in such activities. In fact, college and high school athletes have a higher probability of contracting herpes on the legs than other individuals.
Herpes zoster on the other hand occurs as chicken pox initially. After a period of dormancy, the same virus responsible for this form of herpes may come back but in form of shingles. Herpes on the face can actually be caused by shingles. It produces a painful rash that may persist for weeks while the pain itself can persist even for years.
To identify herpes on the leg, you can take pictures of the affected part of the leg and compare them with online images. You can also consider an illustrative online video for better understanding. All in all, herpes on the leg will usually occur at the lower part of the leg. In some cases, the sores from genital herpes will spread to the thighs. This is not common.
Herpes on hands, arms and fingers from pictures
There are constantly queries on forums on whether you can get herpes on the hands and arms. The short answer is yes, but very rarely.
Herpes on the arm would need that you have a very weak immune system and a persistent ‘source’ of the virus. Even then, it would still take time for the infection to occur on fingers and arms.
The better way you can describe herpes on the arm is in reaction to its spread. You find that the virus responsible for herpes is very contagious. In the period when sores have formed blisters and are oozing, skin to skin contact will almost guarantee transmission.
You carry the virus for herpes on the fingers and spread it to other body parts. For example, touching cold sores and then touching your genitals with the same unwashed hands may transfer the virus to your genitals. In this case, you will not suffer the symptoms of herpes on the finger or hands but only the parts of the body such as the mouth and genitals that you have transferred the virus to.
All in all, you can get a form of herpes on the arm, one known as shingles (herpes zoster). Shingles is not like the herpes we are used to. For one, it is not contagious. Two, the pain produced by its rash can take even years to go away.
Shingles is caused by a reactivated chicken pox virus. The virus infects the nerves and in turn produces a painful rash on the skin. As we discussed earlier, herpes gladiatorum can also be contracted on other body parts such as the shoulders. For this reason, you may want to check if herpes symptoms occurring on your upper arm are in fact symptoms of this infection.
Symptoms and treatment for herpes on tongue
HSV-1 or herpes simplex type 1 is the virus behind oral herpes or cold sores. Cold sores appear on and in the mouth, mostly on the lips, gums, cheeks and the tongue. Herpes on the tongue is a very challenging condition and is easily confused with a canker sore in mouth. As you may well know, cold sores are painful and often transform into blisters.
- Pain in the muscles
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Cold sores occurring on the lips and the inner side of the cheeks
- Itchy and burning sensation on the parts that the sores have developed
- Dry mouth
- Cold sore on chin
Herpes on the tongue can be treated with the following options:
Mouth rinses – benzydamine is a good example. They are forms of painkillers that can relive the pain and discomfort caused by herpes sores on the tongue.
Oral medications – Medications such as Acyclovir are used as treatment options for oral herpes. They usually work in most of the reported cases. You can have a doctor prescribe the correct medication or just buy it over the counter.
Laser – Laser treatment can be used for treating herpes in people with a weak immunity or who don’t respond well to medications. This treatment method also works by reducing the chances of recurrent outbreaks. Laser treatment can also be used to get rid of skin tags on the nipple or other sensitive body parts.
L-lysine – This is an amino acid that can be taken in food or in supplements. It has been observed to slow down the development of herpes virus. It also works by boosting the immune system to avoid recurrent outbreaks. Supplements containing the amino acid are widely available over the counter.
Important information on eye herpes
Eye herpes or ocular herpes is caused by HSV-1, the same virus responsible for cold sores. They are three main forms of ocular herpes;
- Herpes keratitis – It appears on the cornea and usually heals on its own even without treatment.
- Stromal keratitis – It is a more serious version of the above condition. It can lead to a damaged cornea and possible loss of vision.
- Iridocyclitis – This one is even more serious than the former two. It doesn’t attack the cornea but the iris. The iris, as you may know, is the part of the eye that controls sensitivity to light and basically vision.
- Common symptoms of eye herpes include swollen, reddened and tearing eyes. Swelling might occur around or inside the eye. It may also occur on top cornea layers or deep inside.
- Most people will experience oversensitivity to light. This is caused by a damaged iris. With time, blindness will creep in.
- Cold sores occurring on other parts of the body such as the mouth can be an indication that it actually is eye herpes producing the symptoms.
Eye drops and antiviral drugs can be used to treat mild ocular herpes. Zirgan is a good example of medications you can use for this purpose.
All in all, the best approach is to have a doctor check the condition. In a hospital, the affected areas can actually be scraped away by a qualified doctor. It may even be necessary to undergo a surgery to restore lost vision.
Herpes on face; symptoms and causes
Herpes on the face should not be translated to mean a herpes attack that will cover the whole face. It is a collective phrase that applies to cold sores occurring on eye, mouth and nose. Chances are low that you will confuse cold sores with a skin tag or a mole on face.
Most of these have been discussed in this context. Basically, what you need to first know is that herpes virus is very contagious. You will not only pass it to other parts of your body but also to other healthy individuals.
If you happen to experience a burning or tingling sensation accompanied by a cluster of sores a day or two after, you will likely test positive for herpes on the face or the part of the body these symptoms are felt. The sores will eventually form blisters and later heal on their own. The fluid contained in the sores is most contagious. The whole process can take 1 to 2 weeks.
During the first episodes, herpes symptoms are most fierce. This may gradually reduce with recurrent attacks. It is good to get treatment to avoid the rate at which outbreaks will occur.
Herpes on skin (herpes gladiatorum) symptoms
Herpes gladiatorum can also be referred to as herpes on the skin. Unlike genital and oral herpes which are relatively localized, herpes gladiatorum can affect any part of the skin but tends to occur more on shoulders, back and face. Athletes are more likely to develop the infection but it still can occur in non-athletic persons after skin to skin contact.
- In most cases, the first symptoms will appear a week after contamination.
- Tingling and a burning sensation. This will occur about two days prior to the appearance of the first sores.
- Clusters of sores filled with a clear liquid. The sores are painful and later develop to become open blisters. You can notice a lobe shape in the formed cluster.
- Fever is common in first herpes on skin attacks. In fact, symptoms will be at their worst during the first episode.
- The lymph nodes are likely to swell in an attempt to fight the HSV-1 virus causing the herpes on skin.
After a week or so, scabs will form on the blisters and heal on their own. Unlike other diseases that the body can develop natural immunity to, recurrent outbreaks of herpes on skin are likely.