Living With Herpes: What You Need To Know About Dating And Treatment
Being diagnosed with herpes can bring up a lot of strong emotions. Itâs normal to feel anxious or embarrassed at first, but these feelings often fade over time as people learn more about the virus and discover that they arenât alone. Most people with herpes live completely normal lives and can maintain healthy relationships.
Herpes infections are very common. An estimated 50 to 80 percent of adults in the U.S. have oral herpes, and roughly 1 in 6 people ages 14 to 49 have genital herpes. Herpes simplex virus is not deadly and rarely causes serious health problems. While it isnât curable, many people never experience symptoms and there are multiple treatment options available to help manage outbreaks.
Read on to learn what to expect after an HSV diagnosis and discover helpful tips for living and dating with herpes.
Feline Herpesvirus: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
What are the symptoms of feline herpesvirus? Fluctuations in the temperature and upper respiratory symptoms, as well as eye and fever symptoms, are common symptoms of feline herpesvirus infection. A cough and a loss of appetite are also possible symptoms. How is feline herpesvirus diagnosed? A feline herpesvirus infection can usually be diagnosed based on a blood test performed on the cat for the presence of the virus. A biopsy of the cats eye or respiratory tract, as well as a test to see if the virus is present in the cats saliva, are also tests that can be used to confirm a diagnosis. How can you cure a cat of herpesvirus? The cause of feline herpesvirus infection is unknown, but treatment is intended to reduce frequency and severity of recurrent infections. Antibiotics and antiviral medications may be used to combat the virus while also preventing its symptoms from worsening. Are there any human cases of feline herpesvirus? A person is not at risk of becoming infected with feline herpesvirus. It is the only type of feline herpesvirus that can affect cats, but most mammals have it as well. Because feline herpesvirus does not infect any other species, it is not contagious to humans.
Why Isnt A Blood Test Recommended For Herpes
Whilst you cant get rid of the virus, herpes is treatable.
Most herpes episodes last three to seven days. Antiviral medication is available on prescription from a doctor to help prevent or shorten these episodes. These tablets should be taken within the first three days of the symptoms appearing for best effect.
Local treatments may also help.
- salt baths, this may help if your genital area is painful
- aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol to help relieve pain
- acyclovir creams, like Zovirax, which can be used on cold sores as soon as they appear
- topical anaesthetics such as lignocaine
- passing urine in a warm bath, if urinating is painful
- applying ice to the infected area to help relieve pain
In addition, you can:
- wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to increase comfort and help healing
- drink plenty of water so the urine is diluted and doesnt sting when it contacts the genital sores
- rest to help recovery
Suppressive treatment is when you take a tablet every day to prevent episodes and this is usually used by people who have multiple episodes a year.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most people infected with genital herpes have no symptoms, but some people can experience:
- stinging or tingling in the genital area
- small blisters on the genital area that develop into small painful red sores
- sores that look like a rash or cracked skin on the genitals
- difficulty passing urine
The first episode of infection can also have flu-like symptoms such as:
After the first episode, the virus remains dormant in your body for the rest of your life, which means you can experience recurrent episodes of sores and blisters.
Recurrent episodes are usually milder, shorter and less frequent over time. They are more likely to occur when your immune system is weak, due to illness, tiredness or stress.
How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last
If youre infected with HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes, you may notice tingling or burning around your mouth in the days before a cold sore appears. These blisters break open and ooze fluid before forming a crust. Usually, sores last for seven to 10 days.
If youre infected with HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, your first outbreak may last between two to four weeks. Recurrent outbreaks usually last between three to seven days.
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Know What Symptoms To Expect
Symptoms can vary depending on which areas of your body are affected and the type of virus you have. If you experience symptoms at all, they will likely be more severe after the initial infection than they are during recurring outbreaks. The most common symptoms to expect include:
- Sores around the genitals, rectum, or mouth
- Blisters or cold sores around the mouth
- Fever and other flu-like symptoms
- Small bumps that resemble an ingrown hair or pimple
There are two strains of the herpes virus to be aware of: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 is most commonly associated with oral herpes and HSV-2 with genital herpes, either strain can cause either version of the virus.
There’s Not One Right Way To Tell Partners About Your Status And It Might Not Go As Planned
My herpes status is public, so a formal disclosure isn’t always necessary with new partners. But it wasn’t always that way.
Right after I was diagnosed, I remember feeling the urgent need to tell my then-partner that I had not only tested positive for herpes, but that I suspected that it originated from him.
I sent the cliché, We need to talk in person,” text. He talked around it and said he was busy, and my urgency quickly became palpable. He initially suspected that I was pregnant, but was surprisingly empathetic when he learned the reality of the situation.
As much as we try to plan disclosure, it might unfold in ways you arent prepared for or didnt predict. While in-person disclosures may work for some, these situations might present safety issues for others. Texting is also a viable option. My only caution in sharing an STI status via text message or dating app, like anything we share or post online, is that these conversations can be captured in a screenshot, shared, and misrepresented.
Still, disclosing digitally can ease anxiety for some, and resources can be linked within the text for partners to do their own research on having sex with a herpes-positive person.
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Try Taking The Supplement Lysine
In terms of taking supplements to prevent breakouts, I especially recommend L-lysine. This is the primary supplement for herpes, Gade says. L-lysine is an amino acid, a building block of protein. When you have an outbreak, it can be taken orally to shorten the outbreak in conjunction with an antiviral medication.
Lysine appears to be useful in reducing the number and the severity of outbreaks. The usual daily dose is between 1 and 3 milligrams.
Some studies suggest that taking lysine regularly may help prevent outbreaks of both cold sores and herpes sores. In Gades experience, patients have had no side effects using lysine. In some people, though, there have been reports of the supplement causing abdominal pain and diarrhea.
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No One Should Feel Shame For Having A Viral Infection
Having herpes really just means you have a viral infection. Thanks to stigma some people experience a sense of shame with their diagnosis. Although its easy to say just get over it, whats important to remember is that people with herpes can and should live their lives in the way that want, have relationships, have sex and experience intimacy.
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One Word And Six Letters Left Me Questioning My Chance At Love Acceptance And A Meaningful Life
From the moment the word herpes left my doctors lips until about six months later, I questioned everything about myself. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. Disclosing that I had herpes to potential sexual partners felt like an impossibly embarrassing burden. Dating didnt feel like an option. Informational pamphlets felt insincere and outdated. Health-care staff felt like they were being intentionally cold and demeaning.
Slowly, I began to unravel another six-letter word that changed my life: stigma. Once I understood how much stigma surrounds herpes, I was able to see the condition for what it really is: a common STI that impacts my life, but not at all in the terrifying way I had thought it would.
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It took a lot of time, research, self-reflection, and education, but I no longer identify with the stigma surrounding herpes. If someone told me a few years ago that my herpes diagnosis would positively influence my work and drive my purpose in this world, I would have scoffed at them in disbelief, just like I did at those outdated herpes education pamphlets my doctor handed me. My herpes diagnosis was one of the defining moments of my life, but it is no longer my self-definition.
Here’s what I wish I would have known when I was diagnosed five years ago.
Having Support Made A Big Difference
I talked openly with friends about how I felt. That was good because I found people who were in my same boat. The people leading the support group I went to were also somewhat helpful. They say you need to be confident when starting a new relationship and tell someone your status from the beginning. They basically said that how you deliver it determines how the person is going to take it. If you tell them you want to protect them, you’re building trust and helping them to have a better reaction.
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What Else Should I Know
Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are ways to manage it. If your teen has genital herpes, you can help them learn to live with the infection. Talk to your teen about:
- taking medicines to stop outbreaks or make them less frequent and less severe
- learning how to reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes by taking medicines, always using a condom during sex, and avoiding sex during outbreaks
- talking to partners before starting a sexual relationship
What Is Genital Herpes
As many as 1 in 8 sexually active Australian adults have genital herpes.
If you think you have genital herpes, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment.
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Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic
You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.
Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.
Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.
They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.
What To Do If You’re Diagnosed With Genital Herpes
It’s OK to have a lot of feelings and questions when you’re diagnosed with herpes. But no matter how you’re feeling, try to remember that you’re not alone, and your diagnosis doesn’t define you. It’s also important to remember that you can still live a perfectly normal and happy life with herpes. According to Planned Parenthood, the best thing you can do after your diagnosis is to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment. That said, Planned Parenthood notes that if you’re struggling with your diagnosis, you can talk to a trusted family member, friend, or therapist to help you cope.
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How Bad Is Herpes
Heres the good news: herpes is not deadly athough outbreaks may be painful and unpleasant. Patients can also feel embarrassed about their symptoms, especially if theyre dating.
The first time you experience a herpes breakout, your symptoms could be worse and last longer than with subsequent breakouts, which are normally less severe.
How Will A Partner React
Some may overreact. Some wont bat an eye. Since many people have genital herpes or have heard about it, many people wont be shocked or surprised. From the stories that weve heard at the Herpes Resource Center, most people will react well, and will appreciate your honesty and respect for the relationship and their wellbeing. While a negative reaction is possible, this doesnt necessarily mean a bad ending. If that person values you as an individual and is interested in a relationship, something as minor as herpes shouldnt stand in the way. If it does, then that person obviously wasnt a good fit in the first place.
Whatever happens, try to be flexible. Give your partner time to respond, think about what youve said and absorb the information. Remember when you first found out? It took you time to adjust, too.
You dont have to be overly concerned about protecting a partners feelings. And, you may want to reconsider a relationship where you have to do all the emotional work. A safer sex discussion might help you find out if this partner is a good candidate for your love and attention.
A few people are going to react negatively. It wont matter what you say or how you say it. Remember, these people are the exception not the rule. If a partner decides not to pursue a relationship with you because you have herpes, it is best to know this now. There are many people who will be attracted to you for who you arewith or without herpes.
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How To Tell Your Partner You Have Genital Herpes
Its important to be open with a sexual partner about your genital herpes. There is now less of a stigma attached to the condition so dont freak out. Pick a good time and a relaxing setting to tell a prospective partner.
Genital herpes is completely manageable, so keep that in mind when disclosing your condition. If you dont turn it into a huge issue, your partner will likely not perceive it as such. Let them know about the solutions and how you can have sex together without spreading HSV.
Its advisable to learn as much as you can about HSV so that you are able to answer any of your partners questions.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hsv
Most commonly, HSV-1 causes sores around the mouth and lipsoften called cold sores or fever blisters. HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Typically, someone with HSV-2 will have sores around the genitals or rectum.
Symptoms are usually the most intense during the first outbreak and become less intense over time. Symptoms can last 2-4 weeks before resolving on their own without medicine, and even longer during the initial infection.
Some of the symptoms associated with HSV include itching, tingling or burning sensation, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms, but many with HSV may have no symptoms at all.
While there are some tell-tale signs of HSV, not everyone may show visible signs or symptoms, resulting in them unknowingly transmitting it to a partner via contact, Dr. Gelow said. Unfortunately, there are no studies that show how often this happens, but we do know that the virus sheds 10-20% of the time in those who are asymptomatic.
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Does Herpes Affect Pregnancy
If you contracted genital herpes long before getting pregnant, itâs unlikely that youâll pass it on to your baby during childbirth. However, itâs still important to tell your doctor that you have genital herpes if youâre pregnant to ensure that the baby remains healthy.
Herpes infections that start late in pregnancy carry more risks. Studies suggest that having genital herpes while pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage and early birth, making prenatal care essential. While the risk is low, you can also pass herpes to the baby if you have sores during vaginal childbirth, which can lead to eye problems and even brain damage in newborns.
If you contract herpes during pregnancy, your doctor will closely monitor your progress and may recommend taking herpes medication to help reduce the risk of passing it to your baby during birth. They might also recommend delivering via C-section if you have sores in your genital area when you go into labor.
Symptoms Of Feline Herpes
Feline herpes, also known as feline viral rhinopneumonitis , is a highly contagious viral infection of cats. The virus is spread through close contact with an infected cat, often through sharing food or water bowls, or through sneezing and coughing. Infected cats may show no signs of the disease, or they may have a runny nose, watery eyes, and a fever. In severe cases, cats may develop pneumonia, which can be fatal. There is no cure for feline herpes, but the virus can be controlled with medication.
Cat herpes, an extremely contagious disease, causes fever, swollen eyes, and sneezing. Cats upper respiratory infections, like many other upper respiratory infections, can spread easily between shelter, boarding house, and cattery facilities. A cat will almost certainly become a carrier for feline herpes in the long run. In most cases, feline herpesvirus is diagnosed based on the evidence. To alleviate symptoms and limit flare-ups, treatments are designed to alleviate symptoms. The RCP for your cat contains the R, which stands for rhinocerostracheitis, also known as feline herpes. Even if your cat still gets herpes despite being fully protected, she will have a much milder case than an unvaccinated cat. The vaccination does not provide full protection against this disease, but it will provide her with much milder symptoms. It is recommended that a kitten be given two to three RCP vaccines at the age of eight weeks.
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