Herpes is the virus that causes cold sores. There are two types of herpes viruses humans are exposed to:
- Herpes simplex virus type 1 – known as HSV-1
- Herpes simplex virus type 2 – known as HSV-2
Humans have been exposed to these viruses for millions of years by now, which is one of the main reasons why complications are rare. Our immune systems are well equipped to deal with this virus.
According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, HSV-1 infected the common ancestor between hominids (early humans) and chimpanzees. This happened 6 million years ago. HSV-2 jumped onto Homo Erectus from ancient chimpanzees, about 1.6 million years ago. Since then, our evolutionary ancestors have lived with both viruses.
Complications from Herpes Infections
Although humans and our evolutionary ancestors have been exposed to both kinds of herpes for millions of years now, we can get complications from a herpes infection. It is very rare, but it still happens, especially for:
- Those whose immune systems are compromised
- Pregnant women and their unborn children
Complications from herpes include:
- Other bacterial complications from the initial cold sores – especially when they burst and become infected
- In pregnant women it can trigger early labor
Cold sores from Herpes can also spread to other parts of the body. That may cause other complications, especially if they spread to your eyes. If you have a cold sore outbreak, take all the measures necessary to prevent their spread to other parts of the body.
Cold Sore Medication
It is especially important to consider that Herpes is a highly contagious virus and that there might be people who are susceptible to complications from it around you because there is no cure. If you get cold sores, you know that you should take reasonable measures to protect vulnerable people around you.
Although there is no medication to treat Herpes, you can get cold sore medication to alleviate pain, discomfort, and itchiness from your outbreak:
- Abreva is the most popular over-the-counter ointment for cold sores
- Prescription antivirals such as Zovirax, Famvir, and Valtrex
So, next time you get cold sores or if you are going through your first outbreak, know if you are at risk of developing complications. It is important to contact your doctor if this is the case. Our staff here at Antidote Health is always available to help you.