Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes comes in two forms: Herpes 1 (oral) and Herpes 2 (genital). According to the American Social Health Association, between 50 and 60 percent of American adults are affected by Herpes 1. (See Reference 1)
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Herpes 1 causes cold sores or blisters to appear on the face, often near the mouth.
People get Herpes 1 from having contact with another person who has the virus, such as through kissing or sharing utensils.
Doctors can prescribe medication for Herpes 1, but people often use over-the-counter treatments to relieve pain or burning. Such ointments are those that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, tetracaine or dibucaine.
Herpes symptoms usually go away within 2 weeks, but since there is no cure, it often comes back.
If someone you know has herpes, wash your hands after having contact. Also avoid sharing items such as towels or clothing, because this can spread the herpes virus.
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