Possible Complications And Side Effects
Herpes simplex, while not dangerous on its own, can invite a host of other infections. Herpes sores can increase the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections. Its also possible for a newborn to be exposed during the birthing process. Genital herpes can lead to swelling and infections of the urethra.
If you are pregnant and have herpes, tell your doctor. They may want to give you antiviral medicines to prevent an outbreak when you deliver your baby. If an outbreak occurs at the time of delivery, a cesarean section may be suggested to prevent infecting your baby with herpes.
Can Genital Herpes Be Prevented
Practising safe sex is the best way to help prevent genital herpes infection.
It is safest to:
- always use condoms and dental dams, even when there are no sores or blisters present
- avoid sex when there are sores or blisters present you are most infectious at this time
- avoid sex with someone who has any blisters, sores or other symptoms of genital herpes
- avoid oral sex when there is any sign of a cold sore
Dont Be Afraid To Get Emotionally Intimate
An open and honest conversation about your diagnosis can require emotional intimacy that may be scary to have in a new relationship. Harbushka says to relax and realize that it can be sexy to communicate with your partner about sex and other important intimate topics.
With the right information and adequate protection, you can still enjoy a healthy sexual relationship. Here are some tips to help you and your partner stay safe during sex.
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Why Creating A Cure Is Difficult
Herpes is challenging to cure because of the nature of the virus. The HSV infection can hide away in a persons nerve cells for months or years before reappearing and reactivating the infection.
Experts suggest that even if antiviral drugs destroy the active parts of the infection, it only takes a small amount of the virus to hide in the nerve cells and become dormant for the herpes virus to continue.
To find a treatment, scientists need to understand further the mechanism that enables the infection to hide. By preventing this mechanism, they might be able to tackle the whole infection before parts go dormant.
Some medications may reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and lower the chances of passing the infection on to others. Current antiviral medications to treat herpes include the following medications:
first form of treatment for HSV infections. A doctor may treat a skin or mucous membrane infection with oral acyclovir, provided the person has a competent immune system.
People with high levels of stress or trauma may experience more frequent recurrences of genital herpes. In this case, a doctor may advise psychotherapy and counseling.
Some home remedies, such as petroleum gel or essential oils, may alleviate the discomfort that herpes lesions cause.
How Does Genital Herpes Spread
Herpes can be spread when an infected person has lesions blisters and open sores on their body or when you do not have any symptoms. Taking antiviral medicine can help you reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to your sexual partners. You can also:
- Inform your sexual partner that you have genital herpes.
- Use a condom every time you have sex.
- Refrain from having sex when you have symptoms.
- Abstain from performing oral sex if you have blisters or open sores around your mouth.
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Herpes Symptoms And Signs
In order to diagnose herpes, a health care provider can swab an area of visibly active herpes infection or, if symptoms arent active, a blood test can be given that measures the number of herpes antibodies present in the body. The antibodies dont indicate herpes itself, but rather show the immune systems response to the presence of the virus in the body. Its important to note that sometimes a swab can give false negative results since herpes lesions need to be large enough to yield enough detectable virus and if the outbreak is already healing it also may not be detected in a swab.
The most common herpes symptoms include:
- Developing either a single cold sore or cluster of multiple cold sores that form on the lips, inside the mouth, or on the genitals, buttocks and upper thighs.
- Sores can sometimes be severe, painful and rupture and cause fluid to be secreted out.
- Some herpes canker sores develop a thin, white coating and burn when touched while they healing.
- Around herpes cold sores, its common to feel pain, tenderness and other symptoms of a rash, such as redness or signs of swelling.
- Some people are able to tell before an outbreak if one is going to occur because they feel tingling, itchy sensations near the affected area.
- Some people develop other symptoms during herpes outbreaks that are similar to those caused by a cold or the flu. This may include fatigue, irritability, aches or a slight fever.
How To Get Rid Of Herpes Symptoms Naturally
By Joe Boland
Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases , prompting many to wonder how to get rid of herpes naturally.
The herpes virus can live dormant inside a persons immune system for a lifetime, periodically causing blisters that burst and turn into open cold sores or ulcers before healing. When left alone, herpes cold sores usually last about 1014 days and are uncomfortable for a variety of reasons causing redness, pain, burning and often embarrassment.
Many people wonder if there is a natural cure for herpes or are looking for ways on how to get rid of herpes for good. While technically the virus that causes herpes is not curable, there are many natural herpes remedies that can put herpes into remission. In fact, many people with herpes dont experience any symptoms at all, especially long term, once they learn to manage triggers of outbreaks. So while theres no guide for how to get rid of herpes naturally, there is a method for how to get rid of herpes symptoms the natural way and keep breakouts at bay.
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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.
What Are The Types Of Herpes Viruses
Herpes is a group of contagious viruses. All of these viruses cause blisters and sores. Some of the more common herpes viruses include:
- Type 1: HSV-1, or oral herpes, causes cold sores to form on lips, gums, tongue and inside the mouth. It can cause genital herpes in some cases This type usually spreads through saliva when you kiss someone with open herpes sores. You can also get HSV-1 by sharing items like toothbrushes, lipsticks or eating utensils.
- Type 2: HSV-2 causes genital herpes.
- Herpes zoster: This virus causes chickenpox and shingles.
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How Is Genital Herpes Diagnosed
Your doctor can diagnose genital herpes by visual inspection if the outbreak is typical and by examining a sample from the sore. But HSV infections can be difficult to diagnose between outbreaks. Your doctor may check for ulcers internally on the cervix in women and the urethra in men. Blood tests that detect HSV-1 or HSV-2 antibodies may be helpful, although the results are not always easy to interpret.
Herpes Pregnancy And Newborn Infants
Herpes can pose serious risks for a pregnant woman and her baby. The risk is greatest for mothers with a first-time infection because the virus can be transmitted to the infant during childbirth. Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using specific diagnostic tests for women in labor to determine the risk of transmission. Babies born to mothers infected with genital herpes are often treated with the antiviral drug acyclovir, which can help suppress the virus.
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What Are The Different Types Of Herpes
There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV I and HSV II. HSV I commonly causes oral herpes, or cold sores. This virus can show up as an upper respiratory tract infection during early childhood. HSV II is the cause of most cases of genital herpes. However, it is possible for HSV I to cause genital herpes and HSV II to cause oral herpes.
Clinicians cannot tell the difference between the two types by physical examination alone, but there are differences between the two viruses. For example, genital herpes caused by HSV II is much more likely to recur. This diagnosis can be helpful in establishing a health care plan.
Support Fred Hutch Research
The Jerome Labâs herpes research thus far involves only HSV-1, but the scientists are now working on ways to extend their success to HSV-2. The first step will be to repeat their experiments using HSV-2 in guinea pigs, which, unlike mice, experience natural reactivations of herpes virus infections, just as humans do.
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Treatments For Herpes Simplex
Theres no cure for herpes. Sores often clear up on their own, but keeping the affected area clean and using antiviral creams can alleviate pain and irritation during flare-ups. These drugs and creams are most effective when applied as soon as irritation begins, before sores appear. Prompt treatment can shorten the length of the outbreak.
Certain antiviral drugs can shorten the lengths of outbreaks, while others that are taken daily can reduce the frequency of outbreaks and reduce the chance of spreading. Some prescription antiviral medicines are:
Certain measures can be taken to prevent outbreaks, such as wearing sunscreen on the affected area when spending time outside. There are also a few tricks to soothe outbreaks when they initially begin:
- Take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to reduce swelling and relieve pain
- Place a cool cloth on the sores
- Keep the area dry and clean
- Wash your hands and dont touch the area
- For genital herpes, take lukewarm baths and wear soft, loose clothing to avoid irritation
How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.
To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:
- Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
- Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
- Speaking with a therapist.
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Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1
Herpes simplex virus type 1 is the
vast majority of HSV-1 cases affect the mouth and its surrounding area. However, it is possible for HSV-1 to affect other areas of the body, such as the genitals.
HSV-1 often develops during childhood and is a lifelong condition. It can spread through non-sexual contact with saliva, such as kissing.
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Who Gets Herpes Simplex
Primary attacks of Type 1 HSV infections occur mainly in infants and young children. In crowded, underdeveloped areas of the world, nearly all children have been infected by the age of 5. In less crowded places, the incidence is lower for example, less than half of university entrants in Britain have been infected. Type 2 HSV infections occur mainly after puberty and are often transmitted sexually.
HSV is transmitted by direct or indirect contact with someone with active herpes simplex, which is infectious for 712 days. Asymptomatic shedding of the virus in saliva or genital secretions can also lead to transmission of HSV, but this is infrequent, as the amount shed from inactive lesions is 100 to 1000 times less than when it is active. The incubation period is 212 days.
Minor injury helps inoculate HSV into the skin. For example:
- A thumb sucker may transmit the virus from their mouth to their thumb.
- A health-care worker may develop herpetic whitlow
- A rugby player may get a cluster of blisters on one cheek .
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How Is Genital Herpes Treated
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, it is possible to reduce the symptoms using anti-viral medicine. This is most effective when started within 72 hours of the first symptoms.
Medicines can help control outbreaks if they are frequent or severe. Anti-viral medicine can reduce the risk from passing the virus on to a sexual partner.
The symptoms can also be helped by:
- gently bathing the area with a warm salt solution
- pain medicine, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- local anaesthetic ointment or cream
- urinating while sitting in a warm bath, if urination is painful
What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Herpes type 1 infections are best managed by an interprofessional team that includes the primary provider, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, infectious disease specialist and the internist. The key to treatment is starting the antiviral within 24 hours of symptoms. It is important to understand that most infections spontaneously subside on their own and delayed treatment has no impact on duration or severity of symptoms. During the infection, the patient should be educated on washing hands and avoiding close contact with others.
If It Doesnt Cure You What Does Herpes Medication Do
If herpes medication doesnt cure you, what does it do? antivirals are important in helping you to manage your herpes outbreaks. Although they dont cure herpes, they can reduce the time that an outbreak lasts for, and make it less severe. Antivirals work to stop the virus from multiplying by blocking the enzyme that it uses to copy itself and spread to other cells.
What does herpes medication involve? antivirals can be used to treat an acute herpes infection and also as a suppression treatment to prevent future outbreaks. They are taken as tablets swallowed with water.
Can medication stop you from developing symptoms? yes. If you suffer six or more outbreaks a year, then you may wish to consider suppression therapy to prevent future herpes outbreaks. There are also some possible triggers, which you can avoid to help control your herpes.
What medications are used for symptom-suppression treatment? The most common antivirals used are called aciclovir, valaciclovir, and famciclovir.
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How Are Genital Herpes Diagnosed
Other STIs, like syphilis, cause similar symptoms. In addition to a physical exam, your healthcare provider will take a fluid sample from the blisters to test for the herpes virus. If your blisters are healed or you dont have blisters, a blood test can check for HSV-2 antibody, a marker that shows you have been exposed to the virus.
What Are The Causes Of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the HSV virus, usually during genital or oral sex. It can also be spread through kissing, foreplay or non-penetrative sex.
- HSV1 commonly causes cold sores on the lips or face.
- HSV2 causes most genital herpes.
The HSV virus is most easily spread when there are blisters or sores, but it can still be passed even if a person has no current blisters or sores or other symptoms.
You cannot get genital herpes from things like hugging, swimming pools or toilet seats.
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Symptoms Of Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is most often caused by HSV-1, but can also be caused by HSV-2. It usually affects the lips and, in some primary attacks, the mucous membranes in the mouth. A herpes infection may occur on the cheeks or in the nose, but facial herpes is very uncommon.
Primary Oral Herpes Infection
If the primary oral infection causes symptoms, they can be very painful, particularly in children. Symptoms include:
- Tingling, burning, or itching around the mouth are the first signs.
- Red, fluid-filled blisters that may form on the lips, gums, mouth, and throat.
- Blisters that break open and leak. As they heal, they turn yellow and crusty, eventually turning into pink skin. The sores last 10 to 14 days and can be very uncomfortable.
- Blisters that may be preceded or accompanied by sore throat, fever, swollen glands, and painful swallowing.
Recurrent Oral Herpes Infection
A recurrent oral herpes infection is much milder than the primary outbreak. It usually manifests as a single sore, commonly called a cold sore or fever blister . The sore usually shows up on the outer edge of the lips and rarely affects the gums or throat.