Wednesday, October 5, 2022

How Do You Know You Got Herpes

How Soon Do Symptoms Appear

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Symptoms tend to come on suddenly anywhere from two days to two weeks after youve been exposed to the virus.

The appearance of symptoms is called an outbreak. After your initial outbreak is treated, you may have subsequent outbreaks during the next year and occasionally throughout the rest of your life.

Are There Treatments And Medications For Oral Herpes

Treatment includes medication for fever and taking plenty of fluids.

  • A topical anesthetic such as viscous lidocaine may be prescribed to relieve pain associated with oral blisters and lesions.
  • Oral or IV medication does exist for HSV but is not recommended for people with a normal immune system. It is used only for people with weakened immune systems, infants younger than 6 weeks of age, or people with severe disease.
  • Some people may require hospital admission.
  • Those with severe local infection
  • People whose infection has spread to other organ systems
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Dehydrated individuals who need IV hydration
  • Infants younger than 6 weeks of age

Mild uncomplicated eruptions of herpes simplex require no treatment. Severe infection may require treatment with an antiviral agent. Oral antiviral drugs include

To reduce the chance of acquiring HSV-1, avoid touching saliva, skin, or mucous membranes of people who have HSV-1 lesions. Prevention of genital HSV may be accomplished by latex condoms, but protection is never 100%. Spermicides do not protect against HSV. Some clinicians recommend using dental dams during oral sex, but like condoms, they are not 100% protective.

Also Check: How To Protect Against Herpes

Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes

Yes as long as there isnt an open lesion on your chest or breast. If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.

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How Is Genital Herpes Spread

  • Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
  • Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
  • Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes or
  • Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes.

You also can get genital herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or is unaware of their infection. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a partner with oral herpes.

You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. You also will not get it from touching objects, such as silverware, soap, or towels.

If you have more questions about herpes, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.

Fever Blisters And Cold Sores Are Oral Herpes Too

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Fever blisters and cold sores are just different names for oral herpes, and theyve been around for a very long time. Legend has it that in ancient Rome, the emperor Tiberius banned kissing at public events because of an outbreak of fever blisters. In other words, they even knew back then how contagious fever blisters are.

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact with a person who has a cold sore and refrain from sharing eating utensils, lip balm, and the like. Note that someone with oral herpes can give you genital herpes if they perform oral sex on you. Avoid kissing and oral sex when outbreaks are present.

There is no cure for fever blisters and no vaccine to prevent them, although research into preventing and treating them is ongoing. If you do get oral herpes, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication and topical anesthetics to relieve symptoms. Some people also choose to take antiviral medication to make cold sores go away faster.

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Herpes Diagnosis In A Newborn Baby

Diagnosing herpes in children is complicated. Children aren’t screened for the infection. In other words, only symptoms should alert the parent that all is not okay. It should prompt a diagnosis that could be done with a swab sample. Nevertheless, a complicated herpes infection calls for specific tests like a lumbar puncture.

What Can I Do If I Have Herpes

Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they will always have the virus and can give it to others. But you are not alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the US and worldwide. Exact numbers of people affected are not known. This is because many people dont realize they have it, especially if symptoms are minor and are not bothersome. If you have herpes, you should:

  • Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
  • Talk about your illness with your doctor.

If you have herpes, you can still:

  • Have sex if you use a condom , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should talk to your doctor if this is a right choice for you in your relationship.
  • Have children. Women with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your health care provider.

If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .

Recommended Reading: At Home Remedies Genital Herpes

Before You Judge Me Let Me Explain

Since being diagnosed with herpes about a year ago, Ive been torn between telling potential sexual partners about my status. All the advice out there seems to boil down to the sad, impossible truth: Given how low the risks of transmission are, how unlikely it is that youll have any symptoms if you do get it, and how manageable it is if you do have symptoms, you really shouldnt have to tell potential sexual partners. And yet, you just do. It is just the responsible and respectful thing to do. It seems that the reasons behind this heartbreaking conclusion are 1) you might transmit the virus to your partner, and even if they dont get any symptoms, they could pass it on to someone else, thus perpetuating the vicious life cycle of an STI and 2) even if youre not worried about passing it on, if you end up in a longer-term situation with someone youll have to disclose your herpes diagnosis at some point, right? Because not telling them would be dishonest. And a relationship built on lies is bound to fail, right? You couldnt deal with that level of deceit between you and a long-term romantic partner, could you? No. Best to tell them. It sucks that you have to and we wish we lived in a society where there wasnt this much stigma around genital herpes, but we do and therefore you are obliged to disclose your status.

How is this possible? Okay, are you ready for it? This is gonna flip your lid.

Pick The Right Setting

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In addition to language, the setting can affect the outcome, too. Don’t interrupt what your partner is doing to break the news. That is, don’t call them at work, or barge into a room and say, “Hey, we have to talk.” That’s how you might deliver news of a death in the family or start an argument.

The right setting is a relaxing one, just the two of you, where there won’t be any distractions. A conversation over a quiet dinner or a walk in the park is preferable to a bowling alley or the supermarket.

The worst time to tell, other than after having sex, is during foreplay or when your clothes are already off. That would not only spoil the mood, but it could also annoy your partner.

It is usually best to let the topic come up naturally in conversation. That way, it will seem less like a bombshell and more like any other development in your life. For example, you could say, “Just so you know, my doctor called me yesterday with some test results, and said I have the virus that causes genital herpes.”

If you’ve never slept with the person before, it’s not impolite to ask if they have any sexually transmitted diseases. You could start the conversation by being the first one to ask. It’s possible that they might start giving you the same herpes information you had been preparing to give.

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Be Open With Your Partner Before Sex

If you have a confirmed or suspected HSV-2 infection, its important to make sure your partner is informed before becoming sexually active.

Condoms can help keep the virus from spreading, but they dont prevent all types of transmission. In fact, the transmission of HSV-2 via oral sex is possible even if there are no sores present on the genitals or mouth.

Though its impossible to completely eliminate the chances of transmission, prevention techniques are very effective. For example, one large study reported that only 1.9% of susceptible partners became infected with clinically symptomatic HSV-2 when given the antiviral valacyclovir as a precautionary treatment.

Its essential to be open and honest with your partner. By improving communication, educating yourselves, and managing expectations, you can better reduce the risk of spreading a genital herpes infection to your partner.

How To Tell If You Have Herpes

Heres the truth about 8 common myths about genital and oral herpes, which can help you determine if youve been infected with either herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2.

Nearly two-thirds of the global population is infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 , according to a recent report released by the World Health Organization. Researchers affilated with the organization estimated that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 are infected with HSV-1, the type of herpes most people associate with cold sores on the mouth.

For more on herpes, check out our Herpes Simplex Condition Center

Another 417 million people worldwide aged 15-49 have HSV-2, the type most often thought of as a sexually transmitted infection , causing sores to appear on the genitals. But heres the truth: 140 million adults have genital infections caused by HSV-1, meaning half a billion people could sexually transmit either virus.

While this news may be shocking, dont panic. Herpes has been seriously stigmatized for years, but its also incredibly common, as these statistics show. The fact is, if you dont have one type of herpes already, youre very likely to be exposed to it eventually. Below, we take apart eight big myths about this common infection, so you can get a better sense of whether any sore or lesion youve noticed on either your mouth or genitals might actually be caused by herpes.

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What Happens If Herpes Is Not Treated

Herpes can be painful, but it generally does not cause serious health problems like other STDs can.

Without treatment, you might continue to have regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while. Herpes typically does not get worse over time.

The information on this page is adapted from the CDC and Planned Parenthood.

How Herpes Is Diagnosed

Herpes Simplex

Your first step is to make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have a lesion on your genitals or believe you were exposed to herpes. “Google really can’t tell you if you have genital herpes or not,” said Dr. Shim. A diagnosis of herpes can be made with an exam, but your healthcare provider will also order a culture swab from the sore to confirm the virus.

Your healthcare provider can give you advice on easing symptoms, shortening their duration, and preventing outbreaks in the future. Taking a daily dose of the antiviral drug Valtrex can decrease transmission to a non-infected partner, said Dr. Shirazian. It can also prevent recurrent outbreaks for the person with the infection. Maintaining general healthful habitseating nutritious foods, staying active, and getting enough sleepgo a long way to keeping your immune system able to minimize outbreaks.

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Herpes Myths To Stop Freaking Out About

A surprising number of people you know probably have herpes.

Shocked? You shouldnt be, since the virus is very common. According to the World Health Organization, 3.7 billion people under age 50 have herpes simplex virus type 1 thats 67 percent of the global population in that age bracket. Another 417 million people between ages 15 and 49 worldwide have herpes simplex virus type 2 .

Many people consider HSV-1 more benign, but it turns out theres not much difference between the two types of virus. While its true that HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause genital sores or blisters, type 1 can do the same thing.

One big misconception is that cold sores are caused by HSV-1 and genital herpes are always type 2, but thats not always the case, says Sarah Vensel, a physician assistant in San Francisco. Cold sores are so common theyve been normalized at this point. But genital herpes is sometimes the exact same virus just in a different location.

Not only is herpes incredibly common its also totally manageable. Allow us to set your mind at ease and debunk three widespread herpes myths:

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What About Chlamydia The Most Common Std

Chlamydia is caused by bacteria, whereas herpes is caused by a virus. This is why chlamydia is easily treated and cured with antibiotics. However, many people have chlamydia and dont know it because they donât have any symptoms. Thatâs why people who are at higher risk of chlamydia, including sexually active young women and men who have sex with other men, are advised to get a test for chlamydia every year.

If you donât treat chlamydia, it can increase the chances of both men and women getting or giving HIV and AIDS, according to Medline Plus. Untreated chlamydia can also cause serious pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to infertility, and in men it can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm, causing inflammation.

Screening for chlamydia is usually done by taking a urine sample or a swab from your genitals. Results of these tests are usually found quickly. Different testing methods are used for infections of the rectum and throat, and these take more time.

While the only way to completely avoid getting chlamydia or herpes is to not have sex, you can reduce your chances of getting both by being in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STD and by using latex condoms every time you have sex.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Genital Herpes Forever

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What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2

Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:

  • Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
  • Talk about your illness with your doctor.

If you have herpes, you can still:

  • Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
  • Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.

If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .

Pimples Test Negative For All These Tests

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What do I do now?

Once you successfully identify the nature of your sores, which should be an easy task now that you know what herpes looks like, the management is not that complex either. Since pimples are a hygiene issue, it only means a more thorough cleaning with effective products such as acne ointments, antibacterial soap and creams, oil ointments for inflammation, and patting with a warm, wet cloth a few times a day.

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On the contrary, if you have even a little doubt that your sores may be herpes, you should visit your primary care physician and get an anti-viral prescription. Herpes may be incurable but anti-viral is more than enough to stop it from affecting your quality of life at all. Early identification is the key to a better life.

I am Jeannette, the medical writing specialist here at Family Medicine Austin. I have over five years of experience working with a range of medical and healthcare across the U.S.

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What Else Should I Know

Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are ways to manage it. If you have genital herpes:

  • Take medicines to stop outbreaks or make them less frequent and less severe.
  • Help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to others by taking medicines, always using a condom during sex, and avoiding sex during outbreaks.

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