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The herpes virus causes "fever blisters," "cold sores," and genital (sex organ) herpes. The initial symptoms of herpes may include the following:
* soreness or tingling of the skin and
* small red bumps that later turn into blisters filled with fluid

The blisters break becoming sores that are covered with a yellowish dried crust. The blisters may be painful and seep fluid. Usually the sores are gone within two weeks, but can sometimes last longer.

The herpes virus is spread by direct contact and the fluid within the blisters is very contagious. If you have blisters, be sure not to:
* directly contact others by kisses or other oral contact
* touch yourself or others with your hands after you have touched the affected area
* share soaps, washcloths, or cosmetics or
* share eating or drinking utensils

Once a person has herpes they have the virus for the rest of their life. The herpes virus remains inactive inside nerves, and can become active again.

People react differently to herpes infections. Some people are exposed, but never get an outbreak. Others have an initial outbreak, yet never have a recurrence, while others have common recurrences. Recurrences are often triggered by sunburn, windburn, menstruation, foods, drugs, and emotional stress.

Treatment includes keeping the blisters clean and dry until they heal. For those with serious or recurrent infections, medication to prevent outbreaks is now available.


Copyright © 1998. HBOC Call Center Group (602) 230-7575.
All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice.

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