Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How Do You Get The Herpes Virus

How Do You Know If You Have Genital Herpes

Herpes Simplex Virus

The only way to know if you have genital herpes is by amedical exam. Your health care provider can examineyou and test for it. Lab samples are taken from a sore,blister, or blood. Your health care provider may ask totest you for other infections at the same time.

Tell current and most recent sex partners of your herpes infection.

Treatment If The Blisters Come Back

Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.

Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.

But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.

Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.

Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.

Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.

If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.

What Do The Results Mean

Your HSV test results will be given as negative, also called normal, or positive, also called abnormal.

Negative/Normal. The herpes virus was not found. You may still have an HSV infection if your results were normal. It may mean the sample didnât have enough of the virus to be detected. If you still have symptoms of herpes, you may need to get tested again.

Positive/Abnormal. HSV was found in your sample. It may mean you have an active infection , or were infected in the past .

If you tested positive for HSV, talk to your health care provider. While there is no cure for herpes, it hardly ever causes serious health problems. Some people may only have one outbreak of sores their whole lives, while others break out more often. If you want to reduce the severity and number of your outbreaks, your provider may prescribe a medicine that can help.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Herpes

The symptoms of herpes generally occur in two wavesan initial outbreak, which occurs after the virus incubates in the body, and subsequent outbreaks.

Initial herpes or cold sore outbreaks typically involve an itching and burning around the genitals , or around the mouth . Within a day or so, blisters can form in the affected area and develop into open, fluid-filled sores.

During an initial herpes outbreak, its common to experience headaches, muscle pains, fatigue and other flu-like symptoms. Many people also experience pain while urinating.

Recurring herpes outbreaks are similar, but are usually less severe than the initial outbreak. In people with HSV-2, outbreaks can occur up to five times a year, requiring two to three weeks to pass. People with HSV-1 typically experience one to two outbreaks per year, but that frequently varies drastically person to person.

Our guide to stopping a cold sore in the early stages goes into more detail about the typical symptoms of a herpes outbreak, as well as the triggers that can cause an outbreak to develop.

How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last

Herpes en la boca

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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How Is Herpes Transmitted

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

What is herpes, and how is herpes transmitted? Those are the questions on the menu today, and as usual, we’re here with answers. Herpes is a contagious virus thats transmitted in a variety of ways, from kissing to direct sexual contact. Its also one of the most common viral infections, affecting up to 67% of people aged 14-49 in the United States and 16% of all adults .

Although herpes infection rates are declining, its still an extremely common virus. Part of this is due to the ease at which herpes can be transmitted from one person to another through normal activity that most of us dont think of as risky.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how HSV-1 and HSV-2 can spread from one person to others, and share simple precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of exposure to herpes from friends, family members and sexual partners.

Eye Herpes Vs Conjunctivitis

You may mistake eye herpes for conjunctivitis, which is known more commonly as pink eye. Both conditions may be caused by a virus, though conjunctivitis can also be caused by:

A doctor can make the correct diagnosis using a culture sample. If you have eye herpes, the culture will test positive for type 1 HSV . Receiving a correct diagnosis can help you to receive proper treatment.

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Can Herpes Simplex Be Prevented

As sun exposure often triggers facial herpes simplex, sun protection using high protection factor sunscreens and other measures are important.

Antiviral drugs will stop HSV multiplying once it reaches the skin or mucous membranes but cannot eradicate the virus from its resting stage within the nerve cells. They can, therefore, shorten and prevent attacks but a single course cannot prevent future attacks. Repeated courses may be prescribed, or the medication may be taken continuously to prevent frequent attacks.

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How To Choose The Right Herpes Test For You

Herpes virus treatment

Every herpes test has its own benefits and drawbacks. Its best to discuss your options with a medical professional to make the right choice for your healthcare needs.

It may be helpful to choose your herpes test based on your symptoms. Early in the disease, before a clear herpes outbreak appears, some test methodologies like a PCR test and an antibody blood test can yield false-negative results. On the other hand, a viral culture may yield false-negative results later in the disease.

If you want to receive test results that provide a comprehensive evaluation of your infection, consider using multiple herpes testing methods. If getting a rapid result is your priority, a PCR test is the fastest option.

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Dosage For Genital Herpes

Adult dosage

  • First episode: 1 g, taken twice per day for 10 days. This drug works best if its started within 48 hours of when the first symptom appears.
  • Repeating episodes: 500 mg, taken twice per day for 3 days. Treatment should be started when the first symptom appears.
  • For preventing flare-ups in people with a normal immune system: 500 mg to 1 g, taken once per day.
  • For preventing flare-ups in people with HIV: 500 mg, taken twice per day.
  • For reducing the risk of transmission to a sexual partner: 500 mg, taken once per day.

Child dosage

This drug has not been studied for the treatment of genital herpes in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes

Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. If sores are not present, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies.

Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about herpes testing and other STDs.

Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or when you got the infection.

Also Check: How To Stop Herpes Outbreak On Lips

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • Are there any side effects to my treatment?
  • Is it safe to have unprotected sex if I dont have any sores?
  • Can I give myself genital herpes if I also have oral herpes?
  • Can I give someone else herpes even if Im not having an outbreak?
  • What is the best way to prevent herpes outbreaks?
  • Can I live a normal life with herpes?
  • Am I at risk of developing any other diseases?
  • Are there any support groups in my area?
  • If I give my baby herpes, what is the treatment?

First And Subsequent Episodes

HSV vs âHerpesâ?: Words Matter!

The first genital herpes outbreak will generally be worse than the ones that follow. During a first outbreak, the appearance of lesions will often be accompanied by:

Subsequent attacks tend to be shorter and less severe. They are often preceded by genital pain or shooting pain in the legs, hip, or buttocks several hours or days before the attack.

Over time, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease and become less severe.

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Do Condoms Help Prevent The Spread Of Genital Herpes

Yes. To prevent transmission of herpes, we recommend that condoms be used 100% of the time. Many patients will shed the virus and be contagious when they dont have symptoms. Studies have shown that asymptomatic shedding occurs between 1% and 3% of the time in patients with HSV II genital infections. Many new herpes infections occur from partners who are shedding the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are highly recommended.

Condoms may not be an attractive option for monogamous couples or for couples who desire to become pregnant. Couples may opt to have serological tests to determine if either partner has an asymptomatic infection. In close monogamous relationships, the risks of transmission can be weighed against other relationship issues, such as intimacy and pregnancy.

What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Simplex

Many people with the infection never experience any herpes symptoms. If you do notice symptoms, youll experience them differently depending on whether youre having your first herpes outbreak or a repeat outbreak. Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.

People who do have herpes symptoms may experience:

  • Cold sores around their lips, mouth or tongue. They may look crusty or like fluid-filled blisters.
  • Tingling, itching or burning.
  • Pain while urinating.

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What Bacteria Causes Oral Herpes

This condition is typically caused by Herpes simplex virus type 1 , or slightly less common Herpes simplex virus type 2 . Each of these viruses can affect your mouth or genital area, so oral sex is a safe method of spreading them. It doesnt matter if you see the sores themselves theyre contagious.

Who Is At Risk For Developing Herpes Simplex Infections

How Contagious is Herpes?

Anyone can contract HSV, regardless of age. If youre exposed to HSV, youre likely to contract the virus.

Remember, HSV is very common. But because its often asymptomatic, plenty of people living with the virus never have an episode or realize theyve contracted HSV.

You may have a higher chance of contracting the virus if you:

  • have a sexual partner who lives with HSV
  • were assigned female at birth . suggests more AFAB folks than people assigned male at birth develop HSV, but this could also mean AFAB folks are more likely to experience symptoms.
  • are immunocompromised

Some older research suggests HSV-1 antibodies may offer AFAB folks some protection against contracting HSV-2. Still, many people living with one type of the virus do contract the other type later on. You wont contract the same type of the virus again, though, since it remains dormant in your body once you acquire it.

You may have a slightly higher chance of contracting genital HSV if you have sex without using condoms or other barrier methods. Keep in mind, though, that condoms and other barrier methods wont always cover the infection site, since sores can appear on the buttocks or inner thighs.

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Is Herpes Simplex Related To Herpes Zoster

Herpes simplex and the varicella-zoster virus are related, but they arent the same. VZV causes chickenpox and shingles.

Like HSV-1 and HSV-2, shingles can cause a painful, blistering rash. The shingles rash usually shows up on the back, side, abdomen , neck and face. It is often only on half of your body, following the pattern of your nerves. See your healthcare provider if you have a new rash and suspect you may have shingles.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Herpes simplex is a virus. Once you have herpes, its a lifelong condition. A herpes infection can lead to outbreaks , but youll also have times when you have no symptoms. The main sign of herpes is sores that appear on the infected skin. Some people choose not to treat herpes, especially if symptoms are mild. Others take antiviral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/17/2022.

References

What Happens During An Hsv Test

HSV testing is usually done as a swab test, blood test, or lumbar puncture. The type of test you get will depend on your symptoms and health history.

  • For a swab test, a health care provider will use a swab to collect fluid and cells from a herpes sore.
  • For a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
  • A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is only done if your provider thinks you may have an infection of the brain or spinal cord. During a spinal tap:
  • You will lie on your side or sit on an exam table.
  • A health care provider will clean your back and inject an anesthetic into your skin, so you won’t feel pain during the procedure. Your provider may put a numbing cream on your back before this injection.
  • Once the area on your back is completely numb, your provider will insert a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae in your lower spine. Vertebrae are the small backbones that make up your spine.
  • Your provider will withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing. This will take about five minutes.
  • Your provider may ask you to lie on your back for an hour or two after the procedure. This may prevent you from getting a headache afterward.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Ii

Typically, the first signs of herpes II is a cluster of blister-like lesions in the genital area which spread and merge, break and crust over within four to 15 days. The fluid from these itching, painful sores is highly infectious. Other frequent symptoms are painful urination, urethral or vaginal discharge and swollen lymph nodes. The first exposure or primary episode consists of headache, fever, chills and muscular weakness. Recurrent episodes are less severe and are limited to the affected area.

How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally

Various Facts About Genital Herpes

Not every person with a herpes infection actually experiences breakouts of cold sores throughout his or her lifetime or even after initially becoming infected. How often someone has a herpes cold sore outbreak, how severe the outbreaks are, how contagious someone is after infection and how long the sores take to heal all depend on someones individual immune response.

1. Boost Nutrient Intake

If youre going to keep the herpes virus from frequently causing outbreaks, the first step in how to get rid of herpes is to improve immune function by boosting nutrient intake. Include these healing foods in your diet to keep the virus dormant as much as possible:

2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Certain foods can raise inflammation, weaken immune defenses and make skin irritation even worse. Avoid the following foods as much as possible to limit outbreak severity and duration.

3. Consider Supplements

  • Antiviral herbs: These include elderberry, calendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root.
  • L-lysine : Can help treat and prevent outbreaks.
  • Lemon balm extract: Apply as a topical cream for healing.
  • Vitamin C : Vitamin C boosts immune function improving herpes.
  • Zinc : Zinc benefits include supporting immune function, keeping viruses dormant and rebuilding skin tissue to speed up healing.
  • B-complex : B vitamins help your body deal with stress and can prevent outbreaks.

4. Try Essential Oils

5. Ease Cold Sore Pain Naturally

Related: How to Use Witch Hazel to Clear Up Your Skin Fast

Recommended Reading: How Does The Herpes Virus Work

Dosage For Oral Herpes

Adult dosage

  • Typical dosage: 2 g, twice per day for 1 day, taken 12 hours apart.
  • Note: Treatment should be started at the first sign of cold sore symptoms.

Child dosage

  • Typical dosage: 2 g, twice per day for 1 day, taken 12 hours apart.
  • Note: This drug should be started at the first sign of cold sore symptoms.

Child dosage

  • This drug has not been studied or approved for treatment of oral herpes in children younger than 12 years.

Senior dosage

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different treatment schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

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