Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
You can treat an outbreak of genital herpes using antiviral medication. Antiviral medication will treat the symptoms of an outbreak.
Antiviral medication can help shorten the length of time an outbreak lasts. You may also get recurrent episodes of an outbreak, in which case its important to take medication to keep it under control.
The active ingredient in these medications stops the herpes virus from replicating inside your cells. This keeps the level of virus in your body low which lessens your symptoms.
At ZAVA, you can request one of 3 different antiviral medications to treat herpes:
The most commonly used antiviral medication is aciclovir. You may choose to take another antiviral treatment if you cannot take aciclovir or have found it does not work for you.
The treatment course is usually for 5 days but can be up to 10 days. The dose depends on which tablet youre taking, so make sure you follow the instructions that come with your treatment.
How Can I Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
If you have lots of herpes outbreaks, your doctor may tell you to take medicine every day this is called suppressive therapy. It can help prevent future herpes outbreaks, and lower your chances of giving herpes to your partners.
Whether or not you take medicine to treat herpes, taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress might help keep future outbreaks from popping up.
No one knows for sure what triggers genital herpes outbreaks. Other infections, surgery, sex, your period, skin irritations, and stress may cause outbreaks. Sunburns, injuries to your lips, or other infections can cause oral herpes flare-ups. Try to avoid getting sunburned if you have oral herpes.
Genital herpes outbreaks usually happen less often and become shorter and weaker after a few years whether or not you get treated.
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As you age, the virus loses some of its ability to kind of be a badass, says Kelly-Jones. Youve been fighting it for a long time, and you have less of a chance of asymptomatic shedding. This means youd be less likely to actively have an outbreak without knowing it, making you less likely to pass along the virus.
Its a phenomenon known as prodrome, says Kelly-Jones, and it happens when a patient experiences symptoms before a lesion appears. Some patients recognize them, and what happens is the herpes virus lives in the nerve root in your spinal cord. When it reactivates, it comes down that same nerve root and causes the lesion in one specific area. So patients will report itching, tingling, and burning .
If you notice those symptoms, Kelly-Jones says you can begin treatment right away. It probably wont prevent the lesion from happening, but it can decrease the longevity and severity of the outbreak, she says. And, of course, you should abstain from sex.
When youre not having an outbreak, its okay to have sexso long as you use a condom. Consistent use reduces your risk of passing along the virus by about 30 percent, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
That said, remember that condoms break and not everyone knows how to use one perfectly. And because the virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact, that means that any slip-ups could leave an uninfected partner at risk. Thats why its important to talk to your doctors about medication, too.
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Antibiotics To Prevent Infection
Antibiotics are sometimes given as a precaution to prevent, rather than treat, an infection. This is called antibiotic prophylaxis. Situations where antibiotics are given as a preventive treatment include:
- if youre having an operation
- after a bite or wound that could get infected
- if you have a health problem that means youre at higher risk of infection such as if youve had your spleen removed or youre having chemotherapy treatment
Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Many people who have genital herpes may not be aware they have the infection, because they may not have any symptoms.
The first episode of herpes can cause considerable pain and distress. Symptoms of the first episode may include:
- flu-like symptoms such as feeling unwell, headaches and pains in the back and legs, with or without enlarged glands in the groin
- small blisters around the genitals these break open to form shallow, painful ulcers, which scab over and heal after one to two weeks
- small cracks in the skin with or without an itch or tingling
- redness or a distinct rash
- some people also have considerable pain and swelling in the genital area, and hence may have additional pain and difficulty passing urine.
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Can I Treat A Cold With An Antibiotic
Using an antibiotic for a virus, like a cold or the flu:
- will not cure the virus
- wont help you feel better
- will not prevent others from catching your virus
- will be a waste of your money.
Many bacterial infections do require an antibiotic however, the type of antibiotic will vary based on the type of infection. An antibiotic either prevents bacterial growth or kills bacteria outright .
It is very important not to share your antibiotics with someone else. For example, amoxicillin can be used to treat a bacterial strep throat but will not work for some common pneumonias or bladder infections.
While you may mean well if you share your medicine, the bacteria causing someone elses infection may not be susceptible to your prescribed antibiotic. In turn, those bacteria may not die and that persons infection can worsen. Plus, the person you share your antibiotic with may experience side effects or serious allergic reactions from your drug. Overall, sharing any medicine with someone else is risky business.
How Long Will I Be Infectious After Starting Antibiotics
When a person is “infectious”, it means they’re able to pass their infection on to others.
You’re usually no longer infectious 24 hours after starting a course of antibiotics, but this time period can sometimes vary.
For example, the antibiotics may take longer to work if your body takes longer to absorb them, or if you’re taking other medicine that interacts with the antibiotics.
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Topical Herpes Creams And Ointments
There is a range of effective over the counter products available including Abreva, Betadine, Lemon Balm and Zovirax.
Cold sores and other herpes symptoms are caused by a virus so be on the look out for active ingredients that are specifically antiviral such as Acyclovir, also the herbs Lemon Balm and Tea Tree oil.
Some creams and ointments have antiseptic properties like Abreva and the herb Lemon Balm . Although these do not usually act directly on the virus itself, they can help by warding off the infection that is caused by the virus and soothing the redness and inflammation.
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Getting The Most From Your Amoxicillin Treatment
- If you have been prescribed the oral liquid amoxicillin medicine, you may find that it causes some staining of the teeth. Brushing the teeth regularly helps to prevent this. Any staining usually disappears soon after the course of antibiotics is finished.
- Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished . This is to prevent the infection from coming back.
- Antibiotics are prescribed in short courses of treatment. Your doctor will tell you how long your course of treatment will last – this is not usually for longer than 14 days. If you still feel unwell after finishing the course, go back to see your doctor.
- If you are taking birth control like the contraceptive ‘pill’ at the same time as this antibiotic, the effectiveness of the ‘pill’ can be reduced if you have a bout of being sick or diarrhoea which lasts for more than 24 hours. If this should happen, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice about what additional contraceptive precautions to use over the following few days. There is no need to use additional precautions for any bouts of sickness or diarrhoea which last for less than 24 hours.
- Amoxicillin can stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working so if you are due to have any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this antibiotic.
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Counselling For Genital Herpes
If you have just found out that you have genital herpes, it is likely you will have a lot of questions. A diagnosis of genital herpes often comes as a shock.
For many people who have genital herpes, the physical symptoms are outweighed by the emotional stress relating to the diagnosis. There are many misconceptions about genital herpes, including the belief that it is associated with promiscuity.
Seeing a counsellor may be a good idea to discuss any concerns you may have. Counselling offers a way of dealing with your concerns.For more information see the New Zealand Herpes Foundation or talk with one of their trained counsellors on 0508 11 12 13 free call 0508 11 12 13 or 09 433 6526 .
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Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner and let him or her know that you do and the risk involved. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your overall health, sex life, and relationships. It is best for you to talk to a health care provider about those concerns, but it also is important to recognize that while herpes is not curable, it can be managed with medication. Daily suppressive therapy for herpes can also lower your risk of spreading genital herpes to your sex partner. Be sure to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Since a genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships, it is important to understand how to talk to sexual partners about STDsexternal icon.
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How To Use Famciclovir
This medication works best when started at the first sign of an outbreak, as directed by your doctor. It may not work as well if you delay treatment.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished. Do not change your dose, skip any doses, or stop this medication early without your doctors approval.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Important Information About All Medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most people with herpes will not get any symptoms. The virus can stay dormant in your body and be triggered months after youve contracted the infection.
The first episode of genital herpes is usually the longest with the most severe symptoms.
The most obvious symptom of herpes are the blisters that form in the genital area. Other symptoms of herpes can include:
- flu-like symptoms like a fever and muscle aches
- vaginal discharge
- difficulty or pain when peeing
You may notice a recurrent herpes outbreak starting with the following signs:
- painful blisters around the genitals
- a tingling or burning feeling
- pain in or around your genitals
If you are pregnant and think you might have herpes, speak to your midwife or doctor immediately. They can arrange for herpes testing and treatment. Its important for you to get treated as soon as possible as the infection can be passed to your baby and cause complications during birth.
When To Talk With A Doctor
Herpes isnt curable, but it can be treated with antiviral medications. These medications can reduce the severity of an outbreak.
If you suspect you have herpes, make an appointment with a doctor. Its also a good idea to talk with your doctor about a herpes screening if:
- your current or previous sexual partner has herpes
- youre planning to have sex with a new partner
- you had a risky sexual encounter
If youve already been diagnosed with herpes and youre currently experiencing an outbreak, the outbreak might go away without causing complications and without treatment.
However, its wise to make an appointment with your doctor if:
- the outbreak is particularly painful or unbearable
- youre experiencing symptoms of other STIs
- youre experiencing frequent, severe outbreaks
If youre sexually active, its a good idea to have regular STI screenings. You can book appointments for STI screenings with your doctors office. You could also try a local clinic, certain pharmacies, or Planned Parenthood.
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Exclusive Analysis Of Biopharma Health Policy And The Life Sciences
Molina noted that antibiotic resistance to doxycycline has not been seen in chlamydia or syphilis, despite the fact that the drug has been used to treat these infections for decades. Still, he said the possibility it could arise cannot be discounted.
A published with the study argued that reducing infection rates in men who have sex with men and who are highly sexually active might lower STI infection rates more generally in a community.
Laxminarayan did not dismiss the notion of this type of use out of hand, however. I certainly think that for a small subset of the population, if this helps prevent syphilis, then it certainly is worth exploring further, he said.
But he said additional studies should be conducted first to try to get a better picture of the potential consequences of using doxycycline this way, including the risk of resistance developing, the potential that it might further erode condom use, and any other unintended consequences.
How Is Genital Herpes Spread
If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:
- Saliva or genital secretions
- Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.
You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
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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:
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What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
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