Herpes has been known to humans for at least two millennia. In AD 14, Emperor Tiberius banned kissing in Rome since many people were getting cold sores around the mouth. By the 18th century, it became known as a vocational disease of prostitutes. However, it was only in 1940 that it was identified as a virus.
So, Herpes is a viral infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus or HSV. The thing about viral infections is that they need a host cell to replicate. Once the replication is done, they take over the cell and start spreading within the body. This causes a range of symptoms based on the kind of virus, area of infection, and the speed of spreading.
Herpes manifests as blisters around the mouth or genitals, depending on the type of virus that has infected the patient. These blisters can be itchy, painful, and have burning sensations. It is important to remember that herpes is a contagious disease that can spread by touching the infected area.
Herpes does not have a cure. This means that people suffering from the disease need to be prepared for the symptoms to reappear at any time. While there are several medicines to manage the symptoms, the lack of a cure makes it a challenging disease to manage. Also, in people with weak immunity, herpes can cause serious complications. In such cases, the patient might have to be hospitalized immediately for intravenous antiviral medications and other treatments. To manage the costs of hospitalization and treatments, it is important to have a medical insurance plan.
Tata AIG offers comprehensive health insurance plans to help you get the best coverage for medical emergencies. You can buy health insurtextance online in a hassle-free manner and even get your claim processed in no time. With highly affordable plans, a wide range of add-on covers, and customer-centric processes, you can get the benefits of health insurance for your loved ones. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and importance of a health insurance plan for Herpes disease.
What is Herpes?
As mentioned above, Herpes is a disease caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. It is a communicable disease that can spread if you come in contact with the infected skin or bodily fluids of an infected person. Once a person is infected, the virus remains inside the body forever. It might become dormant for a while and reactivate suddenly due to some trigger. On reactivation, the virus can cause blisters and other symptoms.
Types of Herpes
There are over 100 types of herpes virus in nature. However, of these, only eight affect human beings. Here are the details:
Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1)
This causes the most common type of herpes virus in humans. In most cases, it does not show any symptoms. However, it can cause oral herpes infection where cold sores are formed on, around, and inside the mouth. These sores tend to go away on their own within a couple of weeks. This virus can also spread to the genital area via oral sex.
Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2)
This is not as common as the HSV-1 virus. It spreads through genital-to-genital contact. Many people don’t get any symptoms for many years. However, when the virus is triggered, it causes an outbreak in the form of itchy sores near the genitals and the areas surrounding them. These sores also heal within a week or two.
Human Herpes Virus 3 (HHV-3): Varicella-zoster virus (VZV)
Herpes zoster infection is commonly known as chickenpox. It is a highly contagious virus that causes itchy rashes and other blisters that go away within a week or two.
Human Herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4): Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
Medical researchers believe that around 90% of the world’s population gets EBV at some point of time in their lives. However, most people are unaware of its presence because the symptoms are common with various other ailments. This is a self-limiting disease that stops the symptoms within a few days.
Human Herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5): Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
This is another herpes infection that seldom shows symptoms in the infected person. Hence, most people go through their lives without knowing that they have CMV.
Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Human Herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7)
Researchers still have a lot to learn about these two types of viruses. While HHV-6 is known to cause a range of symptoms in babies, in adults, the symptoms might be completely absent.HHV-7 has similar symptoms but is rarer than HHV-6.
Human Herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8): Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus
This virus spreads through bodily fluids and can cause cancerous tumors called sarcomas.
Here are the symptoms of oral and genital herpes, two of the most common types of herpes infection:
|Oral Herpes (HSV-1)"||1. Tingling or burning sensation around the mouth 2. Small, red, painful blisters or sores on or around the lips, gums, tongue, throat, or inside the cheeks 3. Cold sores or fever blisters on the lips or around the mouth 4. Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck"|
|Genital Herpes (HSV-2)"||1. Small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores on or around the genitals, anus, or upper thighs 2. Itching or tingling in the genital or anal area 3. Pain or discomfort during urination"|
Here are the causes of the different types of herpes virus:
|HSV-1||Direct contact with an infected person, such as kissing or sharing personal items.|
|HSV-2||Sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection or oral-genital contact with an infected person.|
|HHV-3||In close contact with someone with chickenpox or shingles.|
|HHV-4||Exposure to an infected person’s saliva, such as through kissing or sharing personal items.|
|HHV-5||Exposure to bodily fluids such as blood, urine, and breast milk from an infected person.|
|HHV-6||Exposure to an infected person’s saliva, such as through kissing or sharing personal items.|
|HHV-7||Exposure to an infected person’s saliva, such as through kissing or sharing personal items.|
|HHV-8||Sexual contact or exposure to an infected person’s bodily fluids, such as blood or semen.|
Herpes Risk Factors
Most people already have the herpes virus but are unaware since there are no symptoms. However, some factors increase the risk of more severe and long-lasting herpes infection. These factors are:
Weak immune system
People with a weak immune system are at a greater risk of having a herpes infection that lasts longer and has severe symptoms.
People with HIV have a decreased immunity to viruses. Hence, herpes infection tends to be more severe
Having multiple sexual partners and having unprotected sex exposes you to a higher risk of exposure to the herpes virus
Mouth-to-mouth kissing increases the risk of herpes infection since the virus transmits through bodily fluids
Diagnosis of Herpes
A medical professional would physically examine the blisters to determine herpes infection. To confirm the observations, the following tests can be conducted:
|Viral Culture||The doctor collects a sample of the sore to test for the presence of the herpes virus|
|Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test||The doctor collects a sample of the sore to test for the presence of the DNA of the herpes virus|
|Blood Test||When a patient has herpes, the body releases antibodies to fight the infection. The doctor can take the blood of the patient to test for these antibodies.|
|Western Blot Test||If the initial blood test offers a positive response, then the doctor can opt for this test to confirm the result and distinguish between HSV-1 and 2|
|Immunofluorescence Assay (IFA)||The doctor collects a sample of the sore using a fluorescent dye. This dye binds to the virus and offers a clear image under the microscope|
The important thing to remember is that there is no herpes cure. Hence, the doctor will only be able to help manage the symptoms. Here are some treatment and herpes management options:
The doctor might prescribe a general antiviral medicine to reduce the speed with which the virus multiplies. He might also prescribe some creams and ointments to manage the itching and pain in the affected area.
Home remedies for symptom relief
Please remember that these tips are not to treat herpes but to manage the symptoms efficiently.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes
Take pain medication if the doctor has prescribed it
Bathe in warm water with a tiny amount of salt or soak in a warm sitz bath
Use aloe vera gel on sores
Refrain from any sexual activity even with protection until you have the symptoms
How to Prevent Herpes?
Here are some tips to help you reduce the risk of getting herpes:
Practice safe sex since genital-to-genital contact and mouth-to-genital contact are the primary reasons behind getting a herpes infection
If you or your partner has a cold sore around the mouth, then you should avoid kissing and oral sex
Maintain personal hygiene
Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to keep your immunity high
Why Buy a Medical Insurance Plan?
While there is no treatment for herpes, if the symptoms get severe, the patient might need to get hospitalized immediately. This can be expensive and strain your finances. When you opt for a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG, you get a range of benefits including:
Extensive coverage: Tata AIG offers extensive coverage that protects you against a range of medical expenses like hospitalization, consultation charges, diagnostic tests, etc.
Cashless claim settlement: Tata AIG has a wide network of hospitals (7200+) that allows you to get a cashless treatment done in a hassle-free manner
Reducing premiums: With Tata AIG, you can be assured of highly competitive premium rates and policies that are packed with a range of features to offer the best coverage. However, if the premium is not within your budget, then you can opt for a co-payment or voluntary deductible to reduce the premium without compromising the coverage
**Health Insurance Tax Benefits
The Income Tax Act, 1961 offers a range of tax benefits to individuals and HUFs. Under Section 80D of the Act, policyholders can get tax deduction benefits for the premium paid on policies for themselves and their families, subject to the prevailing tax norms.
How to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance?
Here is a quick look at the process to buy Tata AIG health insurance:
Navigate to the health insurance page by scrolling to the top menu on the home page and clicking on All Products >> Health Insurance. You can also visit the page by clicking here
You can opt for an individual health insurance plan or include your spouse, children, and parents. Choose the members that you want to include
Provide some personal details and click on “See Plans”
Go through the list of plans displayed and choose the best one according to your needs
Select the right sum insured. This will impact the total amount you can claim. However, a higher sum insured would mean a higher premium too. Hence, choose carefully.
Click on ‘Buy Now’
We will call you to complete the buying process
Visit the nearest Tata AIG office
Share your requirements with our representative and go through the plans offered
Select the best plan for your needs
Choose the perfect sum insured
Fill out the required forms and attach the necessary documents
Pay the fees
Documents Needed to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan
Tata AIG will ask you to submit several documents to establish your address, identity, and age to calculate your eligibility and coverage amount. While the final list of documents might vary, here is a quick look at some basic documents that you need to start the application process**
Age Proof Aadhar Card, passport, etc.
Address Proof Utility bill, bank statement, etc.
Identity Proof PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.
Medical History Doctor’s reports and test results of any pre-existing disease
Other documents IT returns, proof of income, etc.
What to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?
If the herpes infection starts causing complications, then the patient needs to be immediately hospitalised. If you don’t have a medical insurance policy, then you have to bear all the costs. Hence, it is important to buy a health insurance policy that offers optimum coverage for your needs. Here are some things to look for in a health insurance plan**
Optimum sum insured The sum insured is the maximum coverage you can get from a health insurance policy. Medical costs are different in different cities and can also vary at different locations within a city. Hence, make sure that you have an idea of healthcare costs in your region before choosing the sum insured by the health insurance policy you plan to buy
Copayment and deductibles If you have chosen the coverage you want, but the premium is outside your budget, then you don’t need to compromise on the coverage to reduce the premium. Instead, you can opt for a copayment or deductible that keeps the coverage the same while reducing the premium.
Hospital Network Look for an insurance company with a wide network of hospitals, as it allows you to get a cashless treatment done and provides access to specialized healthcare providers in a hassle-free manner.
Things to Remember when Filing a Claim for Herpes
If you want to file a claim under your existing health insurance policy, then here are two options to consider:
1: Cashless claims
If your insurance provider provides cashless claims, then you can take a look at the network hospitals where the service is offered and get your treatment done at one of these hospitals. In cashless claim settlement, the insurance company pays the hospital directly without you having to pay and then claim reimbursement. Here are some things to remember for cashless claims:
Planned treatment: If you have planned your treatment, then inform the insurer about the hospital and treatment at least five days in advance
Emergency treatment: For emergencies, you must ensure that the insurance provider is informed at least within 24 hours of being admitted to the hospital
2: Reimbursement claims
If your insurer does not offer cashless hospitalization, then you will have to pay the hospital first and claim reimbursement later. This will also hold for policyholders who choose to get treated at a non-network hospital. Here are some things to remember for reimbursement claims:
Talk to your insurer and get the list of documents that you will need to file your claim and get it processed
Make sure that you have all documents from the doctor, testing labs, and hospitals, as requested by the insurer
Collect all the documents requested by the insurer and submit them as requested
As soon as you are discharged from the hospital, you can file the claim
Here are some additional tips for herpes claims:
Make sure that your policy has not expired before you begin your treatment
Go through the policy documents carefully and pay attention to the inclusions, exclusions, and terms of the policy
Follow the claims process meticulously
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Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
Frequently Asked Question
Q1. Can herpes be cured completely?
No, there is no cure for herpes to remove the virus from the body. However, doctors can prescribe medicines to reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms.
Q2. Can herpes affect other parts of the body besides the mouth and genitals?
There are different forms of herpes that can affect other parts of the body like the brain, eyes, fingers, etc. While they are not very common, if left untreated, they can cause complications.
Q3. Will my herpes insurance cover the cost of antiviral medication?
Most health insurance plans will cover the cost of antiviral medication.
Q4. What is the waiting period for herpes insurance coverage?
If you have been diagnosed with herpes, then the insurer will implement a waiting period before covering the infection. The exact period will depend on the terms of the insurer.