There can be a wide range of complications from the Herpes Simplex Virus (cold sores, shingles and genital herpes) that can include everything from feeling more emotional during a breakout to experiencing severe symptoms, even death.
Complications include the following symptoms and conditions:
Infections: Persistent, localized infection, eczema herpetiform (widespread herpes infection across the body), and infection to eyes (Herpes Karatitis), throat, liver (which can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure), lungs (meningitis) and brain (encephalitis). Although encephalitis can cause death, it is rare. Encephalitis is associated with HSV-1 (cold sores), rather than HSV-2 (genital herpes), due to the Herpes Simplex Virus being in such close vicinity of the brain.
Genital sores, often called lesions or blisters, and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
Pain can be quite severe in those who are highly sensitive or have disorders, such as Fibromyalgia.
Herpes creates a higher risk for HIV and AIDS.
Genital Herpes (HSV-2) causes increased risk of slow fetal growth, miscarriage, and premature labor. It can be transmitted to a baby during the birthing process, even when lesions are not present, and cause skin lesions, blindness, brain damage, and even death of the infant. Cesarean births are the only choice for safety. Mothers can breast feed, by the way, as long as there are no visible sores on the breast.
Genital Herpes also increases the chance of developing cervical cancer.
Prescription drugs often cause allergic Pruritus. Once you've experienced this itching you may experience it again whether you are taking medication or not.
Post-Herpetic Neuralgia is nerve pain that continues after the breakout disappears. This is common, but does not happen to everyone who has HSV and does not happen with every breakout. It, typically, is the result of severe breakouts, and, sometimes, this nerve pain can last for months.
Some individuals are more sensitive or allergic to the Herpes Simplex Virus, or have overlapping may have often likely to experience more frequent and severe breakouts or have persistent infection without lesion-free periods.
Herpetic keratitis. Herpes infection of the eye leading to scarring within the cornea and possible blindness.
Eczema herpetiform, widespread herpes across the skin
HSV can turn off the immune system because herpes can hide and move from cell to cell.
Herpes can change DNA and, thereby, affect not only your immune system (leading to cancer), but your personality.
Contracting HSV can be extremely difficult to cope with emotionally. Some individuals have moderate to severe mood changes during cold sore, shingles and genital herpes breakouts and during episodes of viral shedding. Some individuals become moody, impatient, cry a lot or develop brain fog (can't think clearly) and feel emotionally depressed or numb during a bout of herpes. Feeling over-emotional is normal. Expect it. It may not happen every time, but it's completely normal.
However, if you are feeling suicidal, please see HSV Resources for someone to talk to about your feelings. Feeling suicidal can be normal too among those of us who have contracted it, but carrying it out is another story. Seek help even if you don't feel like it. Having herpes isn't your fault and it CAN be put in remission.
Flu-Like Complications of HSV
Flu-like symptoms may be present, such as headache, body ache, fever and chills. It can be difficult to just get out of bed in the morning, much less get up and go to school or work, take care of children, drive around town to appointments or meetings, or a get together with friends when you hurt and just want to cry, scream or roll into a ball and sleep (if you can). Herpes is also known to interfere with sleep, due to agonizing ache, pain and itch. If you are in misery and can afford to take a day or two off from work, do so.
Complications from Immune Suppression
You are more likely to experience complications from HSV if your immune system is suppressed from:
HIV or AIDS
Medications that intentionally suppress the immune system
Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment
Long term use of high dose corticosteroids
The thing about herpes is that your 'killer' T-cells don't recognize HSV proteins and can't fight them off because HSV proteins are hiding. The virus, basically, disguises itself behind your own healthy cell walls as if it is wearing you as a magic cloak.
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