- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Almost ALL of Us Have Herpes
Now, before you yell at me, look at me in disgust or tell me I'm wrong, you need to understand the type of herpes I'm talking about.
Chances are that you thought of a completely different type of herpes!
But, by the end of this article, you may actually start to agree with the title above.
What Kind of Herpes?
Some of you may not realize it, but there are actually eight different types of herpes viruses that have been known to infect humans. The types that most people think of are herpes simplex virus 1 and 2. You know, the ones that affect the mouth and genitals... yep, cold sores and the worst one of all! But the type I'm referring to is called varicella zoster virus or VZV.
Now this type of herpes virus is closely related to the herpes simplex viruses, but it's structured a bit differently. Yes, close contact (including sex) can also spread VZV, but it's even spread through our respiratory system. But don't worry, things like bleach knock this baby right out!
And there are a number of drugs and vaccines you can take to treat this type of herpes. But sadly, just like with the herpes simplex viruses, you can't be cured of it; it just becomes dormant in your body. You won't have any symptoms, but it's still there. And about 10-20% of people, who have had VZV go dormant in their body, will actually see it rise up again, when they are an adult. Yes, children are mainly affected by this virus... can you guess what it causes?
How Did You Get Herpes?
Well, have you had chickenpox before? Eww, gross... you have herpes! Just kidding! Well, I'm kidding about it being gross, but you do have herpes. It's a highly contagious disease and it's caused by good old VZV infecting you. If you were ever anywhere from 4 years old to 10 years old, then you probably got chickenpox; and I assume most of you were in that age range at some point of your life.
It's spread by coughing, sneezing or just touching the infected area and it spreads like wildfire through the school system. Kids don't always cover their mouth or nose when they cough or sneeze, and they're always touching things. But the rampage of this itchy, blister-prone rash can only seem to be curbed one way, and that's by isolating the person who has chickenpox. But it doesn't take long for your immune system to start wiping out this infection; in 3 to 4 days the blisters should start to crust over. And about 6 days after the blisters have crusted over, the chickenpox won't be quite as contagious anymore. But if you're one of the unlucky people that has this virus reactivate when you're older, then it is called shingles.
So, do you agree with the title of this article now? See, that wasn't such a bad revelation, but be sure to isolate your children once you notice they have it, and clean up things they touch with bleach. But above all, try your very best to keep them from scratching at their skin because otherwise it can leave some deep pock marks, once all is said and done. I should know, I have one in the middle of my forehead.