Herpes Causes And Risk Factors
Causes of herpes include acquiring the virus through sexual contact, coupled with immune system suppression and sometimes nutritional deficiencies.
HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact. On the other hand, HSV-2 is considered a sexually transmitted disease and usually passed during oral or vaginal sex.
A scary finding is that more cases of genital herpes than ever before are now being caused by HSV-1 , and about 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont even know it. Studies show that about 50 percent of the new genital herpes infections in young adults are due to HSV-1 and about 40 percent in older adults. The fact that most people dont ever find out theyre infected is one of the reasons that transmission rates are steadily climbing.
Risk factors for acquiring herpes include:
- Kissing someone who has symptoms of an active herpes virus
- Engaging in any form of unprotected sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Spreading the virus through contact with cold sores on the eyes, secretions on the fingers, or ulcers/sores on buttocks and upper thighs
- Having certain other illnesses that lower immune function, such as HIV/AIDS, an autoimmune disorder or hepatitis
- Eating a poor diet that causes nutrient deficiencies and lowered immunity
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking high amounts of alcohol or abusing drugs
I Had Lesions When I Was Evaluated But My Culture Was Negative Does This Mean That I Dont Have Herpes
Not necessarily. Although lesions can be caused by something other than herpes, false negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken appropriately, if there is a long transport time between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions. Lesions that occur early in the course of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust over.
How Will My Doctor Know If I Have Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at your symptoms. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. In certain situations, a blood test may be used to look for herpes antibodies. Have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for herpes or other STDs.
Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or how long you have been infected.
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How To Tell If You Have Herpes
Heres the truth about 8 common myths about genital and oral herpes, which can help you determine if youve been infected with either herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2.
Nearly two-thirds of the global population is infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 , according to a recent report released by the World Health Organization. Researchers affilated with the organization estimated that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 are infected with HSV-1, the type of herpes most people associate with cold sores on the mouth.
For more on herpes, check out our Herpes Simplex Condition Center
Another 417 million people worldwide aged 15-49 have HSV-2, the type most often thought of as a sexually transmitted infection , causing sores to appear on the genitals. But heres the truth: 140 million adults have genital infections caused by HSV-1, meaning half a billion people could sexually transmit either virus.
While this news may be shocking, dont panic. Herpes has been seriously stigmatized for years, but its also incredibly common, as these statistics show. The fact is, if you dont have one type of herpes already, youre very likely to be exposed to it eventually. Below, we take apart eight big myths about this common infection, so you can get a better sense of whether any sore or lesion youve noticed on either your mouth or genitals might actually be caused by herpes.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most women with genital herpes do not know they have it. But, if you get symptoms with the first outbreak of genital herpes, they can be severe. Genital herpes also can be severe and long-lasting in people whose immune systems do not work properly, such as women with HIV.
The first signs of genital herpes usually show up two to 12 days after having sexual contact with someone who has herpes. Symptoms can last from two to four weeks. There are other early symptoms of genital herpes:
- Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever
If you have any symptoms of genital herpes, see a doctor or nurse.
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How Long Before The First Outbreak
If someone has contracted HSV but not yet experienced a herpes outbreak, truthfully theres no 100% accurate way to determine when one will occur. An outbreak can occur within a week of exposure, or years later.
First, consider that everyones body is different, as is their immune system. If a person has a strong immune system, then it can be possible for an outbreak to occur years after contracting the virus.
Whats more, some strains of HSV are more forceful and aggravating than others.
There is what is considered typical, and that is that people often have their first outbreak two weeks after contracting it. But this just isnt reliable, because its equally accepted that people can often have outbreaks after two years.
Thats why so many people will have trouble pinpointing when they got herpes at all. There are varied statistics and possibilities:
Stress is a common trigger for an outbreak.
Recurrent Herpes Simplex Labialis
Recurrent herpes simplex labialis, also known as oral herpes, is a condition of the mouth area caused by the herpes simplex virus. Its a common and contagious condition that spreads easily.
According to the World Health Organization , an estimated two out of three adults in the world under age 50 carry this virus.
The condition causes blisters and sores on the lips, mouth, tongue, or gums. After an initial outbreak, the virus stays dormant inside the nerve cells of the face.
Later on in life, the virus can reactivate and result in more sores. These are commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters.
Recurrent herpes simplex labialis usually isnt serious, but relapses are common. Many people choose to treat the recurrent episodes with over-the-counter creams.
The symptoms will usually go away without treatment in a few weeks. A doctor may prescribe medications if relapses occur often.
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Can Drinking Or Lack Of Sleep Make You Get A Cold Sore
If you drink a lot of alcohol, it can actually suppress your immune system, which we just learned is one of the things that can trigger a herpes outbreak. So it is possible for you to experience an outbreak after drinking heavily. One drink probably wonât do it though, so if you notice that you start to feel an outbreak coming on after just a drink or two, thereâs probably something else going on. However, an alcohol allergy probably isnât the culprit. If youâre allergic to alcohol, the symptoms can include a flushed face, hives, a runny or stuffy nose, nausea or throwing up, low blood pressure, or diarrhea.
Lack of sleep can also trigger a herpes outbreak. Fatigue is one of the main culprits for herpes blisters, and often goes hand in hand with stress. You can start feeling the onset of an outbreak just hours after a bad night of sleep, because sleep supports your immune system. If you donât get enough of it, your body is more likely to be felled by a virus , and fatigue can also make it harder for your body to recover quickly. So take care of yourself!
Myth #: Herpes Is Only A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Fact: Not all cases of herpes spread through sex. HSV-1 often spreads through contact with the skin or saliva of a person who has the infection.
For instance, people can spread it by kissing, sharing utensils, touching an infected surface, or having skin-to-skin contact.
According to the CDC, who have HSV-1, which can cause cold sores, got it during childhood from nonsexual contact, such as receiving a kiss from a family member.
According to the WHO, however, HSV-2 is .
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How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally
Not every person with a herpes infection actually experiences breakouts of cold sores throughout his or her lifetime or even after initially becoming infected. How often someone has a herpes cold sore outbreak, how severe the outbreaks are, how contagious someone is after infection and how long the sores take to heal all depend on someones individual immune response.
1. Boost Nutrient Intake
If youre going to keep the herpes virus from frequently causing outbreaks, the first step in how to get rid of herpes is to improve immune function by boosting nutrient intake. Include these healing foods in your diet to keep the virus dormant as much as possible:
2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Certain foods can raise inflammation, weaken immune defenses and make skin irritation even worse. Avoid the following foods as much as possible to limit outbreak severity and duration.
3. Consider Supplements
- Antiviral herbs: These include elderberry, calendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root.
- L-lysine : Can help treat and prevent outbreaks.
- Lemon balm extract: Apply as a topical cream for healing.
- Vitamin C : Vitamin C boosts immune function improving herpes.
- Zinc : Zinc benefits include supporting immune function, keeping viruses dormant and rebuilding skin tissue to speed up healing.
- B-complex : B vitamins help your body deal with stress and can prevent outbreaks.
4. Try Essential Oils
5. Ease Cold Sore Pain Naturally
Related: How to Use Witch Hazel to Clear Up Your Skin Fast
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
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How Do You Clean Herpes Sores
To speed healing Wash the sores with mild soap and water. And wash your hands after you touch a sore . Dry the affected area completely by patting a towel over it. Dont rub. Dont bandage sores . Avoid ointments unless they are prescribed. Dont pick at the sores . Dont touch your eyes when you have a sore .
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Presentation Of Case : Herpes Varicella Zoster Infection With Subsequent Positive Diagnosis Of Sars
A 25-year-old woman, suffering from a fever of 38 °C and the appearance of very itchy vesicular lesions on her right-hand side lumbar area, came to the emergency room of her Primary Care Centre, during the month of February 2021, which coincided with the third wave of COVID-19 in Andalusia . She presented vesicular injuries that later spread to her arms and legs . She was initially diagnosed with varicella zoster infection. The patient was discharged with a treatment based on paracetamol and topical calamine powders for the itchy vesicles. After a week of evolution, she presented a worsening of her general condition, with a fever of up to 40 °C with chills, an unproductive dry cough, dyspnoea, fatigue and leg pain. She was treated again, this time as an in-patient in the hospital, and an RT-PCR was performed against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, through which she was diagnosed as being positive.
Fig. 3. Case 3. Close-up of herpes varicella zoster lesion initiation of vesicles in the right lumbar dorsum and posterior extension of the vesicles to the right leg. Positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2.
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How To Check If You Have Asymptomatic Herpes
If you have no herpes symptoms but believe you might have been exposed to the virus, you can take a herpes test to verify whether or not youre infected.
The most accurate herpes testing method for asymptomatic people is an IgG test, which checks for the presence of IgG antibodies in your blood. These antibodies can signal a herpes infection using certain testing methods, they can also be used to differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2.
IgG antibodies can take several months to form after a herpes infection, meaning youll typically need to wait for 12 to 16 weeks before taking an IgG test to make sure you receive an accurate result.
If youre concerned that you might have asymptomatic herpes, the best approach is to speak to your doctor about testing options. Your doctor will be able to schedule a test based on the date of your potential exposure to the virus and provide you with an accurate diagnosis. If you discover you do have HSV-1 or HSV-2, the most important thing is to not panic. These viruses are extremely common, and there are a variety of anti-viral medications out there to help minimize the severity and requency of outbreaks. Most notably, vacyclovir.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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How Is Herpes Transmitted
Herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Oral HSV-1 is spread through contact with the virus in sores, saliva, and areas surrounding the mouth. Genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 are transmitted through genital contact with skin, sores, and fluids of those infected. HSV-2 is more common in women than men because sexual transmission of the virus is more efficient from men to women than women to men based on genitalia and mucosal membranes.
While condoms and dental dams offer some protection, there are still areas of the skin left uncovered and susceptible to potential infection. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are most likely to be transmitted when symptoms are present however, this is not always the case.
Most people with herpes dont have symptoms, which makes it difficult if not impossible to know if the virus is active underneath ones skin. This further reinforces how important communicating about our sexual health is with current and potential partners and advocating for ourselves.
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How To Prevent Transmission
Firstly, its important to remember that most adults already have oral HSV-1 and have been exposed to the virus as a child through kissing relatives or friends. But many do not have symptoms. According to the CDC, close to 50% of adults in the United States have HSV-1 infectionsand it stays with you for life . Nothing is 100% effective against the transmission of herpes.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are highly contagiouseven the slightest touch during an outbreak can cause the virus to spread. Skin-to-skin contact, genital contact, and oral contact can all cause viral transmission. Practicing safe sex and using dental dams or condoms may help protect you and your sexual partner.
You can also talk to your healthcare provider about taking prescription antiviral medication, like valacyclovir, to treat both oral and genital herpes and decrease the chance of sharing the virus with your partner. Take special care to avoid interacting with newborns or people with weak immune systems if you have a known herpes virus outbreak, as herpes viruses can cause serious illness in these populations.
Having HSV-1 or HSV-2 infections may feel alienating, but youre not aloneand there are ways to manage both oral and genital herpes. Having cold sores definitely doesnt have to put a stop to your active and healthy sex life.
Standard Treatment For Herpes
Anti-viral drugs are commonly used to treat herpes simplex and herpes zoster. Due to varying intensities of pain and other symptoms associated with herpes zoster, analgesics and various other medications are prescribed. The most popular drug of choice has been Zovirax. Retail cost: Zovirax can cost $ 112 for a month’s supply . A stronger dosage, 400 mg, five times a day would be $206 for a month’s supply. And there is yet a stronger dose, which naturally costs even more. . More modern versions of acyclovir, such as desciclovir, famciclovir, valaciclovir and penciclovir, cost even more.
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You Can Get Rid Of Herpes
Susan has been finding it hard to find a great guy. Now that she finally met one that seems like a man she could get involved with she has to tell him she has Herpes. She already knows that if she doesnt tell him right away and he finds out later he might just disappear leaving her alone and looking again.
Justin has no problem attracting beautiful women, but when he has a Herpes outbreak he knows it will be the deal breaker. Women just wont likely stay with a man who has it and he finally is looking to get married and start a family.Janet and her husband want to start their family. Her friend at work just gave birth and her baby was born blind in one eye do to a vaginal Herpes outbreak during birth. This scared her, thinking, what if this happens to their baby?
All these scenarios are taking place every day. Herpes is probably infecting one out of three or four people, though government figures are about one in six, as most people are not tested or embarrassed to report it. It is apparently, today, socially and psychologically one of the most embarrassing and emotionally stressing infections anyone can have.
Getting infected is very easy!
A full-blown lesion is easy to see and avoid, these little pink or brown bumps, their just plain tricky.
What exactly is Herpes?
Contrary to commercials on TV, we dont believe you can transmit the infection without an outbreak. Little bumps are just not noticed.
It can be eliminated!