Herpes is a common viral infection. It causes Oral Herpes- Cold Sores or Fever Blisters, and Genital herpes - Genital Sores or sores usually below the waist.
These viruses look quite similar under the high magnification of an electron microscope, and generally have an affinity for specific tissues. There are two major types of this virus: Type 1 Herpes or HSV-1 has an affinity for the tissue around the lips, under the nose and eyes, but can infect other tissues as well. In most cases the tissue likes tissue on or around the facial lips. Type 2 or HSV-2 has an affinity for the tissue around the genitals.
Feverblisters or Cold sores are transmitted by contact with a person who has an active Feverblister. Since the type of Herpes we are discussing here is Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) which attacks primarily the area around the mouth and lips, a logical method of transmitting the disease is by kissing. When your favorite grandmother wants to give you a big kiss, but you see that she has a cold sore, give her a hug instead! Likewise, parents should be particularly careful about kissing their children when they have an active cold sore.
After an initial exposure to a feverblister or a cold sore, the virus lays dormant unless the conditions are right for it to replicate (to grow and to divide and thus become active). After initial exposure to an active virus the conditions may manifest themselves in as few as 3-4 days. The factors affecting outbreaks are stress, exposure to extreme heat or sun, exposure to cold, compromised immunity caused by another disease and fever.
The HSV-1 is primarily a disease of the area around the soft tissue surrounding the lips however it CAN be spread to the genitals through oral sex. Therefore a condom should be used if a person is engaging in oral sex with another person infected with HSV-1.