How much do you know about herpes? How much do you know about this disease affecting your children? Here’s a detailed look at 6 different types of herpes and how they may or may not affect your children.
HHV1 or HSV1
Human Herpes Virus 1 causes cold sores to develop and appear around a person’s mouth. Because of the location where this type of herpes affects humans, there is the risk of a person contracting genital herpes and herpes of the mouth through oral contact. HHV1 is highly contagious and can be spread to children by an infected person with the HHV1 virus coming into contact with small cuts or other breaks in a child’s skin, including a mucous membrane. Never share towels or utensils used for eating, razors and other similar items with someone who is infected with the HHV1 herpes virus.
HHV2 or Herpes Simplex Virus
Human Herpes Virus 2 is a herpes virus that is almost identical to the HHV1 virus. HHV2 is what causes the STI(sexually transmitted infection), genital herpes. HHV2 can also cause cold sores on the face, as well as, around the mouth. HHV2 is highly contagious and contracted through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact. In any event, this virus cannot survive when it is outside of the body, so always be cautious with your children around someone who has HHV2.
HHV3 or Varicella-Zoster Virus
HHV3 is the virus that is responsible for chickenpox. As a person ages, the chickenpox virus transforms into a more serious, painful disease known as shingles. The shingles virus infects nerve and skin cells, which can be painful and cause a burning or tingling sensation on or around the affected area. Like the HHV1 and HHV2 virus, chickenpox is highly contagious. As far as shingles are concerned, this virus cannot be passed from person to person like chickenpox can. You need to know that Varicella-Zoster, the virus that causes shingles, can infect a person who has never had the chickenpox virus with chickenpox, so your child could be at risk for contracting chickenpox if they have yet to have this infection.
HHV4 or Epstein-Barr Virus
HHV4 is responsible for causing mono, also known as the “kissing disease”. This virus is extremely contagious and transferred to another person by saliva, which means, sneezing, kissing, coughing, sharing food, and using the same eating utensils with a person who is infected with mono. Your child is at great risk for contracting this virus if they are around someone who has the HHV4 infection.
HHV5 or CMV
CMV(cytomegalovirus), is responsible for mononucleosis. This herpes virus causes neurological damage and other severe symptoms in newborns and can affect people who have a weak immune system. CMV is one of many complications of the AIDS virus. People who have a healthy immune system may not notice any symptoms. Your child is at risk of contracting this disease if you are breastfeeding. Other forms of virus transmission for this infection include sexual contact, organ transplants, and blood transfusions.
HHV6 is an infection that affects children directly. This infection is found in the blood cells of people who often have more than one disease. HHV6 is responsible for roseola, as well as, many different other infections that affect infants and young children, often causing seizures, high fever, and skin rash.
There are a variety of herpes viruses, some of which are similar and others that are different, including their symptoms. It’s important to know a person’s health status, especially if you intend to have them around your children. Some strands of herpes viruses have no symptoms at all due to a person having a healthy immune system, so always check to ensure your children are not in any hidden danger. There are different medications a person can take to keep the infection under control, but even if this is the case, it’s important you know the person’s health status to keep your children safe.