What Are the Similarity and Difference Between HSV1 and HSV2?

What Are the Similarity and Difference Between HSV1 and HSV2?

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) are commonly divided into two types, including HSV1 and HSV2. Both result in herpes infections. While HSV1 is mostly responsible for oral herpes (cold sores), HSV2 causes genital herpes. However, HSV1 sometimes leads to genital herpes through oral sex and vice versa. When it comes into herpes infections, it’s common to compare oral herpes with genital one. Are HSV1 and HSV2 the same? Or which one is more severe. By comparing both, you’ll clearly understand the similarity and difference between HSV1 and HSV2.

What Are the Similarities in HSV1 and HSV2?

Both HSV1 and HSV2 are highly contagious infections that can affect people of all ages. These types of HSV spread through skin contact during sex, kissing, and sharing utensils. As they are herpes viruses, they are similar to some aspects, such as the symptoms or how they affect people.

  • Both HSV1 and HSV2 often infect your body mucous membranes (like the mouth, genitals, noses, eyes and ears). Once they enter your body, they stay dormant in the nervous system. Then, they can be reactivated under certain triggers. That’s why some people suffer from several herpes outbreaks yearly
  • They commonly have the same triggers. Both physical and emotional stimuli can make the viruses active. When they become reactivated, they duplicate and travel to the nerve pathways to the skin’s surface. As a result, a physical outbreak occurs. Other times, they result in viral shedding that can be spread to other even when there’re no visible symptoms present.
Both HSV1 and HSV2 ghave the same trigger, such as stress  or infections

Both HSV1 and HSV2 ghave the same trigger, such as stress or infections

  • The HSV1 and HSV2 have similar symptom You can’t even distinguish them by the severity of the primary outbreak. Mostly, you experience tingling, itching, and burning sensations at the affected areas. Then, some tiny blisters or sores appear on that affected skin area. These blisters may break open and can be healed within 7- 15 days. You also have a mild fever, body aches and headaches in the initial outbreak.
  • Both of them affect people of all ages but most of them are unaware that they’re infected.

Related: Discover the Warning Signs of an Outbreak of Herpes

What Are the Differences Between HSV1 and HSV2?

Though both HSV1 and HSV2 are the herpes simplex virus, they still have some differences. Let’s take a look at some differences between the two types of viruses.

  • The HSV1 and HSV2 are different from the place where they start latency in the body. The HSV1 typically stays dormant in the nerve cells near the base of your neck. From there, recurrences tend to occur on the face or mouth. The HSV2, however, usually lives latent in the nerve cells near the rest of the spine. As a result, it recurs in the genitals.
  • Unfortunately, they can be present in both locations. The HSV1 and HSV2 can exist in either part of your body when being infected oral or genital areas. About 30% of new genital herpes infections are caused by HSV1.

Related: The Difference between Genital Herpes and Oral Herpes

The HSV1 and HSV2 are different from the place where they start latency in the body

The HSV1 and HSV2 are different from the place where they start latency in the body

The HSV1 or HSV2 Infection- Which Is More Severe?

It’s assumed that oral herpes caused by HSV1 is a mild infection. Though it’s bothersome, it’s never dangerous. Of course, that assumption is true. When the virus only infects the lips and face, it’s commonly mild and more of an irritation than other else.

However, if the HSV1 occurs in the eyes, leading to eye herpes, it’s more serious than other infections. It may result in blindness. In rare cases, this virus can spread to the brain, causing herpes encephalitis. The dangerous herpes encephalitis may be life-threatening. Thus, you shouldn’t ignore the severity of the HSV1. It can be riskier than the HSV2.

But the HSV2 still has some risks, too. This type of HSV is the most common cause of neonatal herpes. The infection is rare but very dangerous in newborns. Unlike the HSV1, HSV2 rarely induces other complications or spreads to different parts of the body outside of its original area. In most cases, it’s not the main health threat.

Related: How Do You Know if Your Child Has Herpes?

It's riskier if the HSV1 infects the eyes

It’s riskier if the HSV1 infects the eyes

Treating Both HSV1 and HSV2

Though there’re some similarity and difference between HSV1 and HSV2, both of them can’t be completely treated. Fortunately, certain treatments are available for relieving the symptoms of herpes infections. Plus, treatments can help prevent the viruses from coming back. The most commonly used treatment for both oral and genital herpes is antiviral medications. Acyclovir and Valacyclovir are the often prescribed medications for herpes infections. These medicines can help prevent them from coming back, control herpes outbreaks and speed the healing process.

In additions, some topical creams are very helpful to deal with herpes infections. Prosurx is one of the best topical creams for both oral and genital herpes. This cream contains natural ingredients approved by the FDA. Not only does Prosurx eliminate the viruses on the skin’s surface, but it also kills off them in lower skin layers. Thanks to that, the viruses are removed quickly. Also, it’s hard for the virus from coming back.

Besides, you can try some home remedies for herpes infections. But it’s better to use home remedies for cold sores than for genital herpes. It’s because the genitals are more sensitive that can be irritated and worsen the infection. For sure, you should ask your healthcare provider before using.

Have you always wondered if there are a similarity and difference between cold sores and genital herpes? If yes, the article gives you some similarity and difference between HSV1 and HSV2 that can help you understand both types of viruses.


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