So you just found out to have herpes and you think this is the end of the world for you? Relax because today we are going to prove that having herpes might be good for you! Herpes have abilities to protect patients bodies from another infection which might be even more dangerous and life threating than herpes itself! The herpes kind of viruses can have a surprising upside--it can protect against the bubonic plague and other bacterial contagions. Which ones? Let’s found out!
Nearly all humans become infected with multiple herpes virus family members during childhood (we wrote about this in another article). This parade of viruses not only include the herpes simplex viruses, which lead to cold sores and possibly genital herpes, but also the diseases responsible for chickenpox as well as several other skin troubles. Since there might be no symptoms, some of the people are permanent hosts for viruses without spreading them to others. After possible symptom the virus retreats into a dormant phase known as ‘latency’ and stays in your body for life.
But there is a bright side too!
Students from Washington University Medical School found that once infected mice entered the latent stage, they were surprisingly resistant to certain types of bacteria. Even though it’s so far confirmed on animals, it high possible to have a similar or same effect on human body. Doctors have seen higher levels of cytokines and long-term activation of the immune system, just like in mice bodies.
There’s a suggestion herpesvirus infection may play a role in protecting against allergies. According to the ‘hygiene thesis, infections during childhood prime the immune system against future threats in adulthood.
How does it work?
The viruses work their magic by putting the immune system on high alert and making body ready to fight off any further threats. The viruses trigger the release of high levels of immune system chemicals called cytokines. These chemicals activate macrophages – a type of white blood cell which invading bacteria, and sentence them to death by digestion. Just like in human bodies. When we are sick, our bodies produce white blood cells to kill the infection. This sequence is similar to the way the immune system normally protects us against multiple bacterial invaders.
It isn’t clear what role herpesviruses play in priming the immune system in human bodies. Recent studies have shown that people who are infected with the Epstein-Barr herpesvirus (called EBV) are less likely to show sensitive antibody reactions to allergens in their environment.
Clearly this subject needs lots of research but it’s good to know that some of them had been made already.
Still, while people might benefit from symbiotic relationships with the herpes family of viruses, they can also have serious consequences, such as deafness, blindness, encephalitis and cancer. That’s why it's highly recommended to take proper medications to fight against herpes.