Cold sores on the lips, called “herpes labialis”, are normally mild and may be considered a mere nuisance. But if these become prolonged, frequent, or severe, the use of antiviral treatments is recommended.
Blisters on the hands and fingers can also occur and it is called “herpetic whitlow”. Since the hands can practically reach all parts of the body, it has the greatest capacity to spread the virus. To prevent such a disaster, the hands must be covered with plastic or rubber gloves.
There can be blisters on the anus, too. The infection is called “herpes proctitis”. This infection is usually more painful and more distressing than the genital herpes.
The eyes, especially that of the newborn, is also susceptible to the herpes virus. The infection is called “herpes keratitis” or “ocular herpes”. When this happens, or even when you only feel a painful irritation in your eyes, consult the doctor immediately. If ignored, herpes keratitis could lead to blindness.
Women who experience genital herpes outbreaks may also have vaginal yeast infections, called “vulvovaginal dandidiasis”. There will be swelling, itching, and pain when the woman urinates or engages in a sexual activity. This is due to the presence of too many yeast organisms in the vagina. If you have vaginal yeast infections, it doesn’t mean that you also have genital herpes. The excess growth of yeast occurs for many reasons, such as when the woman is taking antibiotics or birth control pills, or when she is pregnant, or when she is wearing tight body-hugging clothes. Fortunately, with good hygiene, this type of infection disappears on its own.
Sometimes, the genital herpes virus can infect the cerebrospinal fluid and the tissues that surround the brain. This will result to meningitis and encephalitis. Meningitis is life-threatening especially when these occur: changes in vision, photophobia, drowsiness, bulging on the baby’s head, and seizures. Encephalitis happens when the brain becomes swollen. It is also a life-threatening complication and have similar symptoms to that of meningitis. It can also lead to coma.
Other internal organs, such as the joints, lungs, and liver, may suffer complications when a person has genital herpes. These complications occur in people with ineffective immune systems, such as those with HIV, diabetes or cancer and those who are undergoing chemotherapy.
To avoid complications, you must again recall that HSV survives in mucus and may affect any part of the body where mucus is found.