DERMATOLOGY > INFECTIONS
What are viral diseases?
Viral diseases are infectious diseases which spread in the form of virus. Nowadays, a great number of them are known. However, we will only describe three of them, the most common ones. Our team is ready to treat many more, so do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.
The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a virus that manifests in two types of common viral infections. Both of them cause the appearance of painful and watery blisters on the skin. The first type of herpes usually appears on mucous membrane such as the mouth or lips, whereas the second type prefers the genital area. However, any of them may appear on almost any other part of the body. This disease, also known as labial herpes, night fever, or fever blisters, is incurable and contagious, especially during a breakout.
Infections caused by HSV can be very unpleasant, not only because of the pain they cause, but also because of their anti-aesthetic appearance and because they are recurrent. In addition, the viral infection can be very serious for chronic patients and babies although it is almost never deadly.
It is caused by contact. In the first type of herpes, kissing or using the same eating utensils or towels is enough to cause contagion. In the second type of herpes, sexual contact or contact with the affected areas is required.
Oral antiviral medications such as acyclovir, famcyclovir, or valacyclovir are normally used to treat this virus. Although they do not cure the virus, they keep the symptoms, breakouts, and contagion under control.
It is essential to prevent contagion and treat the symptoms as soon as possible since, if this is not done, the consequences may be terrible: herpetic keratitis, sensitivity to light, fever, muscle pain, appearance of ulcers, and many more. In some cases of patients with cancer, AIDS, or who have been transplanted, the virus can even cause death.
Molluscum is a viral infection of the skin common among children which causes papules and nodules with a pearl look. It can appear on any part of the body except on the hands and feet. It is caused by being in direct contact with an injury or with any virus-contaminated object such as towels, clothes, or toys, although it can also be transmitted by sexual contact.
This virus starts with a small and painless papule which can grow until becoming a skin-coloured nodule and, as we have previously mentioned, it has a pearl-like look. It is frequent for these papules to appear in lines as the scratching favours their propagation.
Generally, molluscum disappears on its own with time in healthy people who have a normal immune system. But on those whose immune systems have been compromised by diseases such as cancer or AIDS, molluscum will worsen quickly. In any case, the lesions can be surgically removed, although there is the risk of causing scars. Therefore, other treatments such as freezing, electrosurgery, or creams are preferred.
The human papilloma virus or HPV is a venereal disease as dangerous as AIDS, but less known. In addition, it does not usually present symptoms which makes it really hard to detect. If the symptoms do appear, they usually do as genital warts of soft texture and pink or grey colour in the case of women, and flat and papular in men.
HPV, besides, is an incurable disease which can derive in uterus cancer and which treatment is prevention through the use of condoms and other contraceptive methods. Warts, in any case, can be removed with laser treatments, creams, cryotherapy, or electrosurgery.
Prevention of viral infections
Prevention, especially in STD cases, is vital to avoid problems which, in case of getting infected, could be with us for life. Our life quality and, above all, our sexual life will be completely affected and many people will not be able to enjoy a full sexual life ever again. Let’s remember, for example, that herpes are incurable and that, although treatment can reduce the contagion probability, the risk still exists.
This is why the use of condoms is really important.
However, some of these diseases can be transmitted even while using a condom as the areas affected cannot be covered by a condom. Knowing the medical history of our partner or having a monogamous relationship with someone free of diseases will avoid risks and headaches.
In order to get more information, you can get in touch with us or go to any family planning centre.
Yet, a medical examination to verify if you suffer from these STDs is as easy as going to your physician or to our clinic and ask for the test. You will have the results in a couple of days and you will learn about the treatment you should follow in case the results are positive in any of the tests done.
Diagnosis and treatment of viral infections in Valencia
• Dr. Gabriel Serrano Sanmiguel