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.
More Questions From Patients:
Many people with genital herpes have no symptoms, or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed.
The first time genital herpes symptoms appear is called the first episode or initial herpes. Initial herpes symptoms are usually more noticeable than later outbreaks.
Symptoms of genital herpes in men may include
burning when you pee if you have sores
trouble peeing if you have sores covering your urethra
itching or pain around your genitals
During initial herpes, symptoms may also include
swollen, tender glands in the pelvic area, throat, or under the arms
How Should This Medicine Be Used
Acyclovir comes as a tablet, a capsule, and a suspension to take by mouth. It also comes as a delayed-release buccal tablet to apply to the upper gum of the mouth. The tablets, capsules, and suspension are usually taken with or without food two to five times a day for 5 to 10 days, starting as soon as possible after your symptoms begin. When acyclovir is used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, it is usually taken two to five times a day for up to 12 months. The delayed-release buccal tablet is usually applied with a dry finger as a one-time dose within 1 hour after itching, redness, burning or tingling cold sore symptoms begin but before the cold sore appears. Take or use acyclovir at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take or use acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take or use more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not chew, crush, suck, or swallow the delayed-release buccal tablets. Drink plenty of liquids, if you have a dry mouth while using the delayed-release buccal tablets.
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Side Effects Of Herpes Supplements
The natural ingredients used in herpes supplements are not typically associated with any side effects. Healthy adults should not have any adverse reaction if they find the explicit instructions provided.
Individuals who currently take any medications could potentially experience side effects from the herpes virus if they do not speak with the doctor beforehand. The doctor can educate them on the correct combination of treatments to ensure that they do not have a bad reaction.
While supplements are undoubtedly safe for consumers, the same cannot be said of herpes medications. The majority of people that take these medications end up with some kind of side effect, including dizziness, vomiting, stomach pain, nausea, depression, headaches, joint pain, and more. Those are just the side effects for individuals that choose Valtrex as their solution. Individuals that use Zovirax can even experience mood changes and bruising during the use of this product. With supplements, these types of side effects are not possible.
Preventing The Spread Of Herpes
Even when you do not have sores, you can pass the virus to someone during sexual or other close contact. To protect others:
- Let any sexual partner know that you have herpes before having sex. Allow them to decide what to do.
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms, and avoid sex during symptomatic outbreaks.
- Do not kiss or have oral sex when you have a sore on the lips or inside the mouth.
- Do not share your towels, toothbrush, or lipstick. Make sure dishes and utensils you use are washed well with detergent before others use them.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching a sore.
- Consider using daily antiviral medicine to limit viral shedding and reduce the risk of passing the virus to your partner.
- You may also want to consider getting your partner tested even if they have never had an outbreak. If you both have the herpes virus, there is no risk for transmission.
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What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Herpes
Its normal to have lots of different feelings after you find out that you have herpes. You might feel mad, embarrassed, ashamed, or upset at first. But youll probably feel a lot better as time goes by, and you see that having herpes doesnt have to be a big deal. People with herpes have relationships and live totally normal lives. There are treatments for herpes, and theres a lot you can do to make sure you dont give herpes to anyone you have sex with.
Millions and millions of people have herpes youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having herpes or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person it means youre a normal human who got a really common infection. The reality is that herpes can happen to anybody who has ever been kissed on the lips or had sex thats a LOT of people.
Herpes isnt deadly and it usually doesnt cause any serious health problems. While herpes outbreaks can be annoying and painful, the first flare-up is usually the worst. For many people, outbreaks happen less over time and may eventually stop completely. Even though the virus hangs around in your body for life, it doesnt mean youll be getting sores all the time.
And tell anyone you have sex with that you have herpes. Its not the easiest conversation, but its an important one. Here are some tips:
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How Is Genital Herpes Treated
Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus . The virus causes an outbreak of blisters which are common herpes symptoms. Treatment is with antiviral medication to help prevent and control outbreaks.
If youre unsure if you have herpes, you can take a genital herpes test at home.
There are 3 main types of treatment for genital herpes:
Aciclovir tablets are used for outbreaks of genital herpes or cold sores to treat the symptoms. They can also be used to prevent outbreaks from happening if you get them often. How much you take and how long you take them for can vary depending on what youre using it for whether youre using it to treat an outbreak or to prevent future outbreaks.
Valaciclovir tablets are known as a pro-drug, which means your body converts it into aciclovir after you take them. Like aciclovir tablets, they can be used to treat symptoms or to prevent outbreaks.
A doctor may prescribe famciclovir tablets if you find that aciclovir or valaciclovir havent worked for you.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Antiviral Medications
There are two brands of antiviral medications available to treat herpes. Either can be used to take daily as a suppressive therapy or episodically when there is an outbreak. Discuss with your doctor how often you are experiencing outbreaks and your symptoms. Together you can decide which, if any, medication is best for you.
Treating A First Outbreak Of Herpes
A first outbreak of genital herpes can cause a long illness with severe genital sores and can also affect the nervous system. Even if your first episode of herpes is mild, you may have severe or prolonged symptoms later. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone who has a first episode of genital herpes take antiviral drugs.
Almost everyone who has one episode of genital herpes caused by HSV-2 also has later breakouts of sores. Later episodes are less common if your case of genital herpes is due to an HSV-1 infection.
The frequency of genital herpes outbreaks slows down over time in many people.
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When Is Preventive Treatment Considered
Some people have outbreaks of genital herpes very often or experience especially severe symptoms. Then it may be a good idea to take antiviral medication for a longer time including during symptom-free phases. The goal is to prevent further outbreaks and to keep the symptoms from becoming so severe. Also, the antiviral medication reduces the likelihood of infecting others. As preventive treatment, the WHO recommends the following:
- aciclovir: 400 mg two times per day,
- famciclovir: 250 mg two times per day or
- valaciclovir: 500 mg once per day.
Research shows that preventive treatment can considerably lower the risk of further outbreaks. The people participating had four or more herpes outbreaks per year before the start of the studies, and then took an antiviral medication or a fake treatment for up to one year. A comprehensive analysis of the study results shows that
- 96 out of 100 people who took a placebo had at least one further outbreak of genital herpes.
- 46 out of 100 people who were given antiviral medication had at least one further outbreak of genital herpes.
In other words, the medication prevented further outbreaks in 50 out of 100 people within one year.
People with very frequent herpes outbreaks also benefited from preventive treatment: In one study involving people with very frequent outbreaks, the medication lowered the number of episodes in one year from 11 to 2.
Serious Side Effects Of Valtrex
Although its rare, Valtrex can cause more serious side effects that may require medical attention, including:
- Low blood cell counts
- Painful periods for women
If youre taking Valtrex and have any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor for medical advice as soon as possible.
If you have any signs of an allergic reaction like difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of the face, mouth, or throat, you should seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
Other serious side effects that could potentially occur when taking Valtrex include:
- Inflammation of the liver
- A serious blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome
Some patients are more susceptible to these serious side effects than others. Consult your healthcare provider to find out if youre at risk.
These side effects are very rare. Antiviral medicines are effective at treating viral infections, but after long-term use, they can eventually weaken the immune system by affecting immune cells. This is typically only an issue for seniors and people with weakened immune systems. Even though its not typically taken for long periods of time, if your doctor does want you to take it long term, then thats okay. Some studies have even shown that the long-term use of Valtrex is well-tolerated for healthy individuals.
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Which Herpes Medication Is Best
In the war between valacyclovir vs. acyclovir vs. famciclovir, the truth is, there is no best herpes medication. All three of the drugs are safe and proven to be effective as treatments for HSV-1, HSV-2, shingles and other forms of the herpes virus.
If you think you might have herpes, the best approach is to speak to your doctor about treatment options. Your doctor will be able to provide advice on the most effective drug for treating herpes based on your symptoms, immune system, lifestyle and overall health.
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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Is There A Way To Prevent Getting Herpes
You can protect yourself and your partner by taking steps to prevent an outbreak of herpes. Some things that you can do include:
-If you already have herpes, donât have sex until the outbreak is completely gone, even with a condom.
-Try to learn the signs of an impending outbreak, such as itching, tingling and burning, and stop having sex as soon as you notice.
-If you wear contact lenses, donât wet your lenses with your saliva. This could spread your herpes infection to your eyes.
-Donât have sex with your partner until your herpes sores are completely healed.
-Always tell your partner if you are infected with the herpes virus before you have sex. Even though it can be embarrassing and difficult, herpes is very common, and telling your partner will help keep the infection from spreading.
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Talk To Your Doctor Before Using Herbal Methods Or Supplements
There are a few herbal methods and supplements that have shown some success in treating herpes outbreaks. For example, some studies have shown the amino acid lysine is helpful for some people with herpes, according to ASHA, but other studies have not been able to produce the same results. Also, some herbal treatments and supplements can have side effects or interfere with other medications. Talk with your doctor about whether these methods might work for you.
Myth: People With Herpes Must Be Promiscuous
The reality of any STI is you dont need to sleep around to get infected. This is especially true for herpes, considering theres such a large population of asymptomatic carriers, says Dr. Dardik. While having more partners obviously increases your risk of any kind of any kind of sexually transmitted infection, the reverse doesnt always hold, she points out. In other words, all it takes is one partner.
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Do Antiviral Medications Work For Herpes
Herpes is a powerful virus that causes everything from annoying cold sores in the mouth to painful genital warts. And while herpes isnt curable, antiviral medications can not only reduce the number of outbreaks, but they can also shorten the length of these outbreaks and reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Here, commonly the answers to commonly asked questions that will tell all you need to know to treat herpes effectively.
Q: Whats the difference between the herpes that causes cold sores and the herpes that causes genital warts?
A: There are actually two types of herpes simplex virus . With Herpes Simplex Virus 1 , symptoms can present as cold sores on the lip although it also can cause genital warts, explains Elizabeth Poynor, MD, a gynecologist in private practice whos associated with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Herpes Simplex Virus 2 causes genital symptoms, which could be anything from sores and blisters to cuts, bumps, aches and pains.
Q: How common is genital herpes and how can I get it?
A: Its very common in the United Statesabout 1 in 5 adults have it, and its spread from skin-to-skin contact. In other words, you dont necessarily have to have sex with someone to get it. Since some of the cases are asymptomatic, you may have herpes without knowing it.
Q: Will taking antibiotics help?
A: Its a virus, so it wont respond to traditional antibiotics. But there are medications that can help.
Subclinical Hsv Genital Shedding
The overall percentage of days with subclinical HSV shedding was 13.7% . The time since the first genital herpes episode was significantly associated with reduced subclinical shedding. Subclinical HSV shedding occurred on 26.2% of days among participants < 1 year from first herpes episode, 13.1% of days among those 19 years , and 9.3% of days among those 10 years from first herpes episode . These differences remained significant among those 19 years and those 10 years from first episode after adjusting for age and race .
Percentage of days with positive HSV PCR sample by time from first genital herpes episode. A, Subclinical positive days B, Genital lesion days Overall percentage of days indicated above box plot for each group.
Nonwhite race was also associated with less subclinical shedding compared with white race near statistical significance in univariate analysis and after adjusting for time since first episode and age . No other variables, including HSV-1 serostatus, were found to be significant predictors of shedding in multivariate analysis.
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How To Prevent Spreading A Cold Sore
Stress and illness are two main triggers of cold sores. When your immune system is compromised, its less likely to fight off viruses. You can help avoid cold sore outbreaks by living a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating right and exercising regularly. If youre experiencing a lot of stress, try stress-relief techniques such as yoga, meditation, or journaling.
A cold sore is contagious as soon as symptoms begin, even if blisters havent appeared. They can also be spread to others even when there are no symptoms. To avoid spreading the cold sore virus:
- Avoid intimate contact including kissing and other skin-to-skin contact until the lesion is healed.
- Dont share personal care items such as utensils, towels, or toothbrushes.
- Dont share cosmetics such as lipstick, lip gloss, or foundation.
- Replace your toothbrush when you get a cold sore to prevent reinfection, and replace it again after the sore has healed.
- Dont pick at a cold sore, and wash your hands each time you apply ointment or touch the sore.
- If sunlight triggers cold sores, apply sunscreen daily to the area where cold sores develop.