What If I Am Pregnant
It is important to tell your obstetrician that you or a partner have had genital herpes, so that they can monitor you for symptoms and manage your pregnancy safely. There is a risk you can pass the virus on to your baby if you have a vaginal delivery during a first attack of genital herpes. If this happens you may be recommended to have a caesarean delivery.
Is It A Cold Sore
Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that usually appear on the lips or near the mouth. They are a symptom of HSV, which is a virus people carry throughout their lives.
When HSV is active, a person may experience frequent cold sores in response to certain triggers, such as stress or sunlight. HSV can also lie dormant for long periods.
People may confuse cold sores with other conditions, such as canker sores. However, canker sores are mouth ulcers that form inside the mouth and look like white circles with a red halo. By contrast, cold sores appear around the mouth and go through specific stages as they burst and heal:
As cold sores can resemble other conditions, it is a good idea for people to check they have a cold sore before they buy a cream. A doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can help with this.
suggests that common cold sore treatments can reduce the symptoms and speed up healing time by a small amount.
Effective cold sore creams may include:
Cold sore creams work best when a person applies them as soon as they feel the first symptoms.
Please note that all information is research-based. The author has not personally tested any of the products below. The article does not recommend one product over another.
Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
Herpes infection doesnt usually pose a serious health risk. The risk of a health complication due to herpes is higher in infants and if you have HIV/AIDS, cancer or an organ transplant.
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Who Gets Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is common in young people aged 20-24 years, but anyone can get it. Whenever HSV is on the skin, it can be passed to another person. It is passed between people by direct skin-to-skin contact, including sex. You can also catch it if you share sex toys .
However, you are at a higher risk of getting herpes if you:
- have had a sexually transmitted infection in the past
- started having sex young
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What Does A Herpes Outbreak Feel Like
As mentioned above, the onset of a herpes outbreak is often associated with tingling, itching, or burning around the affected area. Blisters and ulcers are unfortunately painful and can cause discomfort. You can get antiviral medication prescribed to reduce the symptoms of an outbreak and begin healing faster.
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Keep The Area Clean And Dry
Its important to keep dry any areas affected by genital herpes sores. Moisture triggers irritation and can make outbreaks even worse. Try drying outbreaks with a hairdryer on low heat settings instead of a towel. It also helps to wear cotton underwear, since cotton is gentle and absorbs moisture much better than synthetic fabrics.
News And Video On Are There Over The Counter Treatments For Genital Herpes
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Where Can I Get Medications For Herpes
The most common antiviral medications used to manage herpes simplex symptoms are available by prescription. If you have symptoms such as a cold sore or genital herpes, call your doctors office. They will first diagnose if you have herpes simplex. Then they will prescribe an appropriate medication to manage your symptoms.
Only docosanol is an antiviral medication available over the counter as a cream to manage oral symptoms such as cold sores or fever blisters.
If you have mild symptoms from a recurring oral herpes infection, you may be able to use nonprescription methods or some home remedies to manage your symptoms.
- pain relievers such ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with pain
- cold compress or ice to soothe burning or itching
- zinc oxide topical cream, which may help soothe itching or burning
Before trying over the counter medications or supplements, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your symptoms.
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Treatment For Genital Herpes
There are three antiviral medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of genital herpes:
- Acyclovir: The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. It has been available since 1982 in a topical form and sold since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in persons who have used it continuously for as long as 10 years.
- Valacyclovir: A newer drug, valacyclovir, actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day.
- Famciclovir: Famciclovir uses penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir.
Antiviral medication is commonly prescribed for patients having a first episode of genital herpes, but they can be used for recurrent episodes as well. There are two kinds of treatment regimens: episodic therapy and suppressive therapy.
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What Is Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.
Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.
The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
Home Remedies And Lifestyle
At-home treatments for herpes are used to relieve pain. They do nothing to alter the course of the infection but can make you more comfortable as the herpes sores begin to heal.
There are several things you can do if have an outbreak of oral or genital herpes:
- Use a cold compress. Place a cloth-covered ice pack on the sores for 15 minutes several times daily to reduce pain. Keep the ice pack moving to prevent frostbite.
- Do not touch or scratch. Avoid touching and rubbing the sores. Doing so can spread the infection to other areas of the skin.
- Keep the sores clean. Herpes sores can become infected with bacteria if touched with soiled hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the bathroom or before applying medications.
- Reduce stress. Stress can increase your sensitivity to pain during a herpes outbreak. You can reduce stress by performing gentle exercises or practicing mind-body therapies like meditation, yoga, and guided imagery.
To reduce the risk of spreading herpes, avoid kissing and sharing objects that come into contact with saliva, like drinking straws and eating utensils.
It’s important to note that oral herpes can be spread to the genitals, and that genital herpes can be spread to the mouth. To reduce the risk of infection, use condoms and dental dams during oral sex. Better yet, avoid sex altogether if you are having an active herpes outbreak .
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Rule #: Use Medication
At the very first onset of signs of an outbreak, you can use antiviral medications like acyclovir. Before the blisters even become visible, you might notice a tingling or burning sensation on your skin. Your healthcare provider can prescribe topical medications to apply to the lesion area . If you have had herpes before, a prescription should be readily available .
Its important to note that acyclovir ointment can be used to treat genital herpes but doesnt typically reduce the length or severity of outbreaks. You should not apply acyclovir cream to the genitals because it may irritate these parts of your body.
If you suffer from frequent or severe outbreaks, your healthcare provider may recommend trying prescription drugs to take by mouth. There are multiple options, including acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir . Studies have shown that oral antiviral drugs for herpes can shorten the duration of lesion episodes and pain by approximately one day . Your healthcare provider will choose the option thats best for you.
What Are The Treatments For Cold Sores
You cant cure HSV or a cold sore, but you can alleviate the pain it causes by avoiding spicy or acidic foods, applying ice, and using over-the-counter remedies. Look for medicines that contain numbing agents such as phenol and menthol to reduce cracking and soften scabs. Abreva is an over-the-counter topical remedy used to help speed healing and minimize pain from a cold sore. It must be used many times a day to speed the healing.
If your cold sore is especially painful or irritating, your doctor may prescribe an anesthetic gel to alleviate pain or an antiviral oral medication to speed healing or prevent recurrence. The antiviral medicines available for treatment include acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir . These oral medications are more effective when started within the first 48 hours of the outbreak. Valacyclovir is more expensive, but is better absorbed in the digestive tract and therefore more reliable. Acyclovir and another antiviral medication called penciclovir also come in a topical form.
Cold sores can become complicated by a bacterial infection, so it is also important to keep them clean by washing gently with soap and water as needed.
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What Are The Top Treatments For Genital Herpes
The most common prescriptions for herpes are: Acyclovir , Famciclovir , Valacyclovir . In addition to prescription medication, at-home treatments and over-the-counter medications can be used to help with genital herpes symptoms. These include: Painkillers , icing the area that are affected , getting sufficient rest, air circulation , rinsing with warm saltwater.
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Targets Herpes Virus On The Skins Surface And Lower Layers
ProsurX is the ONLY topical that can target HSV1 & HSV2 both on the surface and lower layers of your skin. It is the first topical remedy for outbreaks that utilizes the power of nanomedicine.All other topical products are limited to killing only the virus on your skins surface. Our anti-viral agents solve that problem and eliminate any chance of recurrent outbreaks.By using only FDA-approved ingredients, we deeply care about becoming your best and only need for outbreak treatment. Your satisfaction is guaranteed we will promptly refund the entire purchase price if you are not completely satisfied.
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Different Types Of Herpes Hsv
People with herpes can experience viral symptoms in widely different ways: across this population, there is a large range in both the frequency and severity of peoples herpes outbreaks.
Ultimately, all herpes infections are caused by one of two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2.
Herpes simplex virus-1 is the strain that is primarily responsible for oral herpes outbreaks, which are also known as cold sores.
In some cases, HSV-1 infections can also cause genital herpes outbreaks, for example if the virus is spread through oral sex.
Herpes simplex virus-2 , meanwhile, is the herpes simplex strain that causes most outbreaks of genital herpes.
Typically, most herpes outbreaks will resolve on their own in 1-2 weeks.
At this point, the herpes virus will move from your skin cells and into your nervous system, where it will lay dormant until it is reactivated, if for example, your immune system is under stress.
However, certain medications can make the resolution of a herpes outbreak quicker, and more tolerable.
In some cases, they can even prevent outbreaks from occurring with frequency .
Protecting Your Partner And Preventing Herpes Transmission
Research shows that the single greatest fear is the fear of transmission to partners, says Dr. Handsfield.
The main ways to avoid transmitting herpes are:
- Learn to recognize how you feel when an outbreak is on the way, and stop having sex immediately.
- Dont have sex during active outbreaks.
- Always use condoms but dont rely on them during outbreaks. They dont completely cover infectious areas.
- Only after all sores have scabbed over and healed should you have sex again.
- Avoid touching your herpes sores, because you can spread them to other places on your body that way. Whenever you touch a sore, wash your hands immediately.
- Dont kiss people or have sex if you have a cold sore.
- Tell potential partners about having herpes before having sex with them, even though it may be hard.
- Ask your doctor about taking antiviral drugs regularly.
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How Effective Is Herpes Medication
Antiviral herpes medication will not cure oral or genital herpes infections. However, suppressive therapy significantly ameliorates its symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that this treatment can reduce genital herpes outbreaks by 70%-80% in patients that frequently experience them.
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Antiviral Agents Prevent Viral Replication Through Their Competitive Inhibition Of Viral Dna Polymerase In Contrast Docosanol Appears To Inhibit Replication By Blocking Viral Entry Into Cells
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Herpes labialis affects 1 in 5 Americans each year and accounts for the largest reservoir of herpes simplex virus infections. The frequency of recurrence of herpes labialis has been estimated to be approximately 33%. In the United States, penciclovir is the only FDA-approved topical treatment option. Topical acyclovir is also used, but is not FDA approved. Abreva is an over-the-counter alternative to these agents. It is currently the only FDA approved nonprescription medication available for the treatment of cold sores.
Mechanism of action
Antiviral agents such as acyclovir and penciclovir prevent viral replication through their competitive inhibition of viral DNA polymerase. In contrast, docosanol appears to inhibit replication by blocking viral entry into cells. Incorporation of docosanol into the plasma membrane is believed to alter the normal membrane to inhibit the fusion of virons to the host cell. Unlike the nucleoside analogue agents, acyclovir and penciclovir, docosanol does not block replication shared by the virus and the infected target cell. This may possibly prevent the induction of drug-resistant viral mutant strains that can possible occur with the use of nucleoside analogues
|Cost of Topical HSV Drugs|
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Can You Buy Acyclovir Over The Counter
When youve got a herpes breakout, you want to heal as quickly as possible. And whilst some treatments are available over-the-counter, others require a prescription.
In the U.S., you cannot buy acyclovir cream or ointments over-the-counter. The only topical treatment approved for over-the-counter sales is Abreva which contains docosanal as its active ingredient.
The following medications require a prescription form a doctor or an online consultation:
- Acyclovir cream/ointments
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Prevention Of Genital Herpes
The best protection against STIs is to always use barrier protection such as condoms, female condoms and dams . Because herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact, condoms will reduce the risk of transmission, but it will not protect sexual partners completely as condoms do not cover the entire genitals.
Using lubricant with a condom during sex will also reduce the risk of trauma to the genital skin. This has been shown to reduce HSV transmission, especially in the first six months of a sexual relationship. Silicone-based lubricants are recommended.
Remember that herpes transmission can occur when symptoms are present , but may also occur even if there are no genital symptoms through asymptomatic viral shedding.
For people who have frequent episodes of genital herpes, antiviral medication, taken daily, helps to reduce transmission of herpes to a sexual partner.
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