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Differences Between Herpes And Shingles

Herpes vs Shingles

Herpes and shingles are two different types of diseases – both have different symptoms and both have distinct modes of transmission. Their only similarity is that they are both caused by the family of the herpes virus. Herpes is said to be caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), while shingles is said to be caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.

Herpes is usually passed to others through intimate sexual contact. Oftentimes, it is referred to as a sexually transmitted infection or STI. There are two types of the herpes simplex virus: type 1 and type 2. Both of these types are contagious and can be passed on easily from one person to the other by direct contact – even if the symptoms of herpes do not show up, it is still highly possible for someone to pass the condition on to a sexual partner.  It is a chronic condition, meaning the virus will remain in your body and if triggered, it can be active again.

Shingles is a painful skin rash. It is mostly common among older adults and those who have weak immune systems caused by stress, injuries, and certain medicines. The virus never really goes out of a person’s system; in some cases, it stays dormant forever. In some cases, the virus can be triggered when disease, stress and aging weakens a person’s immune system. Shingles cannot be passed on to other people but there is a tiny chance that a person with a shingle rash can spread the virus to a person who has not gotten chicken pox or a person who has not gotten a vaccine for it.

How Will You Know If You Have Herpes or Shingles?

Herpes usually go undiagnosed mainly because its symptoms go unrecognized. Symptoms of herpes usually include painful red blisters around the genitals, rectum, thighs and buttocks; women usually get vaginal discharges and painful urination. Symptoms of herpes usually last up to 20 days but the sores will eventually heal without scarring. In the case of shingles, the symptoms usually begin with a pain that usually tingles or burns. The pain can be either mild or severe. Rashes, burning, itching, fluid-filled blisters and numbness can occur as well. Usually, shingles appear in a band, a strip, or in a small area on one side of a person’s fact, neck or torso.

How Are They Treated?

Usually, herpes is treated with medications. Primary infections usually require seeking the help of sexual health clinics, who prescribe antiviral tablets like acyclovir, which is taken five times a day. It prevents the HSV from multiplying but it does not clear the virus out of your system – it will also cause side effects such as feeling sick and having headaches. In the case of shingles, prior to its outbreak, it usually heals on its own within a matter of weeks. It can be treated with medications as well; usually antiviral medicines and pain relievers help.

Summary:

  1. Herpes and shingles are two different types of diseases – both have different symptoms and both have distinct modes of transmission.

  2. Herpes is said to be caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) while shingles is said to be caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.

  3. Herpes is usually passed to others through intimate sexual contact. Oftentimes, it is referred to as a sexually transmitted infection or STI.

  4. Shingles is a painful skin rash. It is mostly common among older adults and those who have weak immune systems caused by stress, injuries, and certain medicines.


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