Herpes Outbreak Treatment Options
Even without treatment, most herpes outbreaks go away on their own. There are treatments available, however, which have been proven to shorten and even prevent future outbreaks. These antiviral medications work by preventing the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through your cells to cause an outbreak. If you suffer from oral herpes, a healthcare provider may recommend a topical cream or ointment that you should apply at the first sign of an outbreak. If you experience recurrent genital herpes outbreaks, you may be offered oral herpes treatments which are pills you take by mouth. Examples of antiviral drugs include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir . These are all standard options proven to help decrease the severity and length of outbreaks from herpes .
Prescription antiviral treatments are usually very effective at prevent future outbreaks, reducing the chance of experiencing an outbreak by 7080%. Many people on antiviral therapy report experiencing no herpes symptoms at all . Using medication within the first 24 hours of symptoms can shorten outbreaks by several hours or days, ultimately reducing any discomfort in the long run .
When To Call The Doctor
Even though HSV sores can hurt and be unsightly, most cases of herpes do not cause serious illness. The sores go away in a few days. Contact the health provider if:
- Sores are present and you think it might be a first herpes infection. The diagnosis is usually made by examining the sores. If the sores have not healed, sometimes a laboratory test is done.
- Sores do not heal by themselves or show signs of infection such as pus, spreading redness or fever.
- Sores are near the eyes.
- You have another health condition with a weakened immune system.
Whats Involved In Herpes Testing
If there are blisters or sores, a healthcare provider may gently swab the area to take a fluid sample and test it. If there are no sores, but you are concerned you may have been exposed, a blood test may done. Herpes tests are not normally recommended unless you have symptoms.
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
If you havent been diagnosed with genital herpes, call your doctor if you have:
- Painful blisters or sores in the genital or pelvic area.
- Burning or pain while urinating, or you cant urinate.
- Reason to think youve been exposed to genital herpes.
If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes, call your doctor if you are having frequent outbreaks or if you cant pass urine or are constipated.
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, or if you think you have genital herpes, tell your doctor.
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How To Deal With First Herpes Outbreak
Your doctor can prescribe you an antiviral like acyclovir or valocyclovir . Your health care provider can prescribe medications that quicken healing, make symptoms less painful, and lower the risk of getting outbreaks. These medications dont kill the virus and dont prevent you from getting outbreaks in the future. Your doctor can even discuss the possibility of taking the antiviral every day to prevent future recurrences. For future reference, drugs like Valtrex work best when you catch the outbreak early.
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Can Herpes Symptoms Last For A Month
If a female who has blisters on her inner labia and around her vaginal area has had those blisters for a month with no change but with itching. What could this mean?
Can someone have herpes blisters for a month that havent ruptured or turned into ulcers?
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Thanks for your help!
Finding The Right Treatment
The first year, my outbreaks were wild. had them all the time. I didnt know how to control them. And I was depressed all the time. I remember crying on my best friends shoulder.
Later I took the antiviral prescription drugs Famvir and Zovirax every day to suppress the virus and prevent outbreaks. Valtrex, another antiviral drug, works the best for me. I also did everything I could to avoid outbreakstrying to work out, getting more sleep, not being stressed out all the time. I dont take the antiviral medication every day anymore. I will take it when I feel like Im going to have an outbreak.
I generally know when an outbreak is coming. The tingling is definitely real. That area is extra-sensitive. It may not hurt, per se, but it feels like an extra set of nerves and the sensitivity starts to grow over the course of a few days. It generally happens when Im coming close to my period. I dont have sex during that time.
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Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin
The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.
During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.
Factors That Influence Healing Time
A compromised immune system may take longer to heal a herpes outbreak. If you have influenza or another infectious disease, you could experience a more painful outbreak for a longer period of time. Conditions such as HIV and AIDS, diabetes and leukemia can also result in prolonged and more intense outbreaks.
What you eat can play a role in healing time. Excessive alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates may contribute to herpes outbreaks, and a poor diet in general could keep you from healing as quickly as possible. A healthy diet supports good immune function, which is important in the healing of herpes sores.
Research has shown that persistent stress can also lead to recurrence of genital herpes outbreaks. If you experience ongoing anxiety, depression or psychological stress, trying new stress management techniques or seeking help from a professional could provide relief both mentally and physically.
To encourage an HSV-2 outbreak to heal as quickly as possible, follow proper hygiene and other best practices:
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How Physicians Can Bust Myths About Herpes
There are common misconceptions patients have about the disease that physicians can address
Of all the sexually transmitted infections , Herpes simplex virus-2 may be one of the most misunderstood, according to Beth Oller, MD, a family physician who specializes in womens health and obstetrical care in Stockton, *KS.
She feels its important that physicians understand some of the common misperceptions that patients have about herpes in order to help them get the best care.
One of the biggest about herpes is that patients had to have gotten it from their current partner. Actually, herpes can activate years after you initially came into contact with it, Oller says.
This can lead to confusion and frustration between partners that may be unnecessary, Oller says. I have a patient with a severe primary herpes outbreak who has been married for seven years. I dont think her husband is cheating on her. She could have brought it into the relationship from a prior boyfriend.
Herpes can lay dormant for decades, Oller says, though that is less common. Stress and lowered immunity can cause the virus to activate suddenly. More commonly, people get their primary outbreak within two to twelve days after exposure. That first exposure can last quite some time, she warns, from two to four weeks. Later outbreaks tend to be less severe.
As with all STIs, the best defense against them is to always use a condom.
Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
People with HSV-2 infection have an increased risk of getting human immunodeficiency virus if they have sex with an HIV-infected partner. Taking suppressive therapy does not decrease this risk.
If a woman is pregnant and infected with HSV, it can be passed to the fetus during birth while passing through the womans infected birth canal. This is most likely to occur if a woman first becomes infected with HSV during pregnancy and in a woman who has her first outbreak late in pregnancy. But it also can occur during a recurrent outbreak in a woman who was infected before pregnancy, although the risk is much lower.
If you have sores or warning signs of an outbreak at the time of delivery, you may need to have a cesarean delivery to reduce chance of infection. The decision depends on many factors, including where the sores are on your body and whether the fetus would come into contact with them during delivery.
Yes, in most cases. The herpes virus cannot be passed to a baby through breast milk. However, the baby could get infected by touching a sore on your body. Make sure any sores that the baby could come into contact with are covered when you hold your baby or while breastfeeding. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after feeding your baby. If you have sores on your breast, you should not breastfeed your baby from that breast.
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What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Children
The herpes virus can be spread to babies and children if they are kissed by someone that is infected and has active cold sores. Although rare, it is also possible to spread herpes to a child or infant by touch if a person touches their cold sore and then touches the baby or child.
Precautions can be taken to protect infants and other children from getting the virus. Avoid kissing children if you have a cold sore and ask other people not to as well. Wash your hands frequently if you have a cold sore and you are around children.
Start A Herpes Treatment You Can Trust
Thereare many treatment options on the market. These include over-the-counter creamsor home remedies such as honey. Choose one that helps to reduce the severity ofyour symptoms, and speed up healing time. Then, follow the instructionsexactly. The sooner you begin your treatment, the better you prevent youroutbreaks. ProsurX isone of the best creams for herpes infections. It can help rapidly clear activeoutbreaks . Besides, the cream can inactivate herpes virus andstop an outbreak before it starts.
Youroutbreaks are getting worse is one of the biggest issues with herpes. Toalleviate the symptoms, choose the right treatment. And take the abovepreventative steps for a better chance of reducing your outbreaks.
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If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs
No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.
How Long Does An Episode Of Herpes Last For
A genital herpes outbreak will usually last somewhere between 5-14 days. Cold sore outbreaks often resolve themselves quicker than this.
It is not unheard of for a genital herpes outbreak to last for several weeks, but this is not the norm. Outbreaks tend to be persistent like this only during the first primary outbreak or if a persons immune system is abnormally poor/weak.
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Recognizing The Signs: The Prodrome
Early in the phase of reactivation , many people experience an itching, tingling, or painful feeling in the area where their recurrent lesions will develop. This sort of warning symptomcalled a prodromeoften comes a day or two before lesions appear. To be on the safe side, its best to assume virus is active during these times.
What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most individuals infected with HSV are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition. 9 When symptoms do occur, herpes lesions typically appear as one or more vesicles, or small blisters, on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The average incubation period for an initial herpes infection is 4 days after exposure. 10 The vesicles break and leave painful ulcers that may take two to four weeks to heal after the initial herpes infection. 5,10 Experiencing these symptoms is referred to as having a first herpes outbreak or episode.
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Black And Hispanic Communities And Genital Herpes
Black Americans and Hispanic Americans have higher rates of STDs generally when compared with white Americans. This isnt because of ethnicity or race instead, social conditions such as poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and fear of discrimination from doctors and other healthcare providers all play part in the disparity.
What About Pregnancy
A pregnant woman who has genital herpes can passthe virus to her baby. A baby born with herpes might:
- Have brain, skin, or eye problems
If you are pregnant, you should tell your health careprovider if you have herpes. If you show any signs ofherpes during pregnancy, tell your provider. Pregnancycan be managed safely if your health care providerknows about your herpes. Medicines can help babiesborn with herpes if they are treated right away.
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Can It Lie Dormant
The herpes virus can lie dormant in the body for years before people experience any symptoms.
After people have the first outbreak of herpes, the virus then lies dormant in the nervous system. Any further outbreaks are due to the virus reactivating, which causes symptoms to appear.
Symptoms are usually less severe during repeat outbreaks. Sores also clear up more quickly, often within 37 days. This is due to the antibodies the body produces to fight the first outbreak of herpes. The body can then use these antibodies to respond more quickly to future outbreaks.
There is currently no cure for herpes. Even if a person stops experiencing symptoms, the virus will remain inside their body.
It is also important to point out that herpes is transmissible even when no sores or other symptoms are present. For this reason, early prevention is advisable.
To help reduce the chance of this happening, people can use condoms or dental dams during sex.
Condoms and dental dams do not offer complete protection against the herpes virus, as herpes can live on areas around the genitals. However, these methods do reduce the likelihood of contracting the infection or passing it on.
A person who has herpes can also take other steps to reduce the chance of passing it on to a sexual partner. Such steps include telling their sexual partner that they have herpes before having sex.
Both people can then take additional steps to reduce the likelihood of transmission. These steps may include:
Can Herpes Prodrome Last A Month
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Can I Get Genital Herpes More Than Once
There isnt a cure for HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. Infections can come back . Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.
After infection, the virus moves from skin cells to nerve cells. In the nerve cells, it becomes inactive . Certain things may reactivate the virus, such as:
- Illness or fever.
How Long Does An Oral Herpes Outbreak Last
HSV-1, also known as oral herpes is very common and affects 2 out of 3 people globally. In many cases, the virus remains dormant and you may never even know you have it.
But when an outbreak does occur it is best to know the signs and symptoms right away so you can get tested, and get treatment.
Oral herpes outbreaks come in the form of cold sores.
There are several stages of HSV-1:
Stage 1: Prodrome âHSV-1 comes in contact with your skin and lips, causing reddening and a tingling sensation. After 1-2 days, the affected area may feel irritated, itchy and painful.
Stage 2: Swelling and Inflammation â The affected area becomes swollen, and inflamed
Stage 3: Formation of Blisters â Red, white, or clear, fluid filled blisters and/or cold sores begin to form. They last about 2 days and appear in a cluster as a single sore that is painful or sensitive to the touch.
Stage 4: Ulceration After a day or two, the sores may burst, releasing fluid and becoming more painful. This generally subsides after about a day.
Stage 5: Scabbing or Crusting â As the sores begin to heal there may be crust that develops over the burst blister and forms a scab. After 2-3 days, new skin begins to form.
Stage 6: Healing â The scab that formed over the blister will start to heal. Do not peel the scab off until the wound is completely healed to avoid getting a scar.
While the stages of an oral herpes outbreak vary in time the process can take several weeks.
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