How Herpes Is Treated
There is no cure for herpes.
- The health care provider may prescribe antiviral medicine to help speed up the healing process. It also shortens the time when the virus can spread from the herpes sores.
- Pain may be treated with medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin or by applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area.
- If sores are in the mouth, avoid foods high in acid, like citrus fruits and juices.
- The infected area should be kept clean and dry.
- Wash hands often and avoid touching the sores to prevent spreading the virus.
- It is important to stay healthy by getting enough rest, having proper nutrition and exercise and managing stress well.
How Do Dermatologists Treat Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. The good news is that sores often clear without treatment. Many people choose to treat herpes simplex because treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten an outbreak.
Most people are treated with an antiviral medicine. An antiviral cream or ointment can relieve the burning, itching, or tingling. An antiviral medicine that is oral or intravenous can shorten an outbreak of herpes.
Prescription antiviral medicines approved for the treatment of both types of herpes simplex include:
Taken daily, these medicines can lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks. They also can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Some people use natural therapies to treat herpes, either on their own or to support standard medical care. The research supporting their use is generally weak, with little evidence that they can reduce either the severity or duration of an outbreak. Even so, many people swear by their effectiveness and consider them a vital part of managing herpes outbreaks.
Complementary and alternative therapies sometimes used to treat herpes include:
- Propolis: This is a sticky substance produced by bees that may help speed the healing of genital herpes. A 2017 study found that people who used propolis ointment experienced better healing by the 10th day of treatment compared to those who used a sham ointment.
- Algae extract: Lab studies suggest that algae extract can inhibit the growth of HSV-2 in test tubes. Whether it can do so in humans has yet to be proven.
- Acupuncture: A 2011 study concluded that acupuncture was mildly effective in reducing pain caused by the herpes zoster virus , the type of herpes virus that causes shingles. While this suggests that acupuncture may be useful in easing genital herpes pain, this has yet to be proven.
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Syphilis: A Greater Health Threat Than Herpes
Syphilis and genital herpes are both STDs that can cause sores in the genital area. Like oral herpes, syphilis can also cause mouth sores, which often clear without treatment. But despite these similarities in symptoms, the two diseases differ in their causes syphilis is caused by a bacteria and herpes by a virus and the health risks they pose.
For most people the exceptions being infants and people who have weakened immune systems or who are chronically ill herpes is more of an annoyance than a dangerous disease. But untreated syphilis can lead to severe complications, including bone, joint, liver, heart, and brain damage.
There are four stages of syphilis, according to the CDC, each with different signs and symptoms. In the primary stage, a painless sore or sores develop where the bacteria first entered the skin or mucous membrane. In the secondary stage, you may develop a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and other flu-like symptoms. In the latent stage of syphilis, there are no signs or symptoms, and in the tertiary stage, the bacterial infection can damage the heart, brain, and other organs of the body.
Can A Blood Test Tell If You Have Herpes
If you experience HSV type 1 or 2 symptoms, your healthcare provider may be able to detect a herpes infection by inspecting your skin and/or swabbing the sores to check for the presence of the herpes virus. It is possible to have an infection even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. A blood test may determine whether you have an infection. Blood testing may be performed when a person has no apparent symptoms but is concerned about having Herpes. Blood tests do not identify viruses instead, they search for antibodies in the blood.
The Bottom Line
A Herpes blood test may detect genital Herpes even if no symptoms exist. This test is used to detect IgG antibodies specific to HSV types 1 and/or 2 infections confirm or rule out possible infection with herpes simplex types 1 and/or 2 virus in prenatal patients in whom HSV 2 infection can cause serious prenatal disease. Per CDC guidelines, specimens with equivocal or low positive results for HSV-2 type-specific IgG will reflex for supplemental testing by another assay.
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What Is Oral Herpes
Many people associate herpes simplex virus or herpes with sexually transmitted diseases. However, not all herpes infections are contracted via sex.
Oral herpes herpes simplex 1 or HSV-1 affects the mouth. It causes cold sores and fever blisters to develop in and around the mouth. Both herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 can infect the mouth and genitals, but simplex 1 is most often linked to oral infections.
Virus type 1 HSV lesions usually last about 7 to 10 days. They begin as fluid-filled blisters that rupture after a day or two.
The fluid within the sores contains the herpes simplex virus type, which is how it transmits from one person to another. Anyone who comes into contact with the highly contagious fluid from another persons sores is at risk of contracting the virus.
Most people are infected in childhood, often through contact with a parent or another close person in their lives.
Herpes is often transmitted via kissing and other types of touching. Sharing objects such as lip balm or silverware contaminated with the infected fluid can also cause it.
Once infected, a person has herpes for life. However, this doesnt mean the infection is always active. It is common for the virus to lay dormant in the body and not show any symptoms.
Some people will experience only one outbreak in their life, while others have outbreaks more often. The most common causes of outbreaks include stress, sun exposure, or other illnesses.
What Is Angular Stomatitis
Angular stomatitis refers to inflammation, cracking, or irritation at the corners of the mouth. In contrast, herpes infections usually appear on the upper or lower lip margins, not in the corners.
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How Is Herpes Simplex Treated
Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.
Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:
How Is Oral Herpes Diagnosed
Oral herpes presents similarly to other infections and allergic reactions. The only way to know for sure that you have herpes is to undergo a virus culture test, blood test, or biopsy.
You or your doctor might assume you have a herpes infection based on an incidence of exposure and/or location of the sores, but this isnt definitive like a test.
For example, if you know your spouse has herpes simplex 1 and you develop symptoms, youve likely been infected.
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Cold Sore On Lip Or Herpes Simplex Labialis
Cold sores is a common viral infection usually caused by herpes simplex virus . HSV-1 causes both herpes of the mouth and genital herpes. However, HSV type 2 mostly affects the genitals in many people who get diagnosed of genital herpes.
The early signs of a herpes simplex virus infection on the lips are burning and stinging sensation, itching, soreness and tautness.
The second stage is marked by tight and itch. The affected area may become red and look swollen.
The third stage of cold sore on lips is blister stage. A clear picture of cold sore infection on the lips is depicted by small or tiny clusters or multiple fluid-filled blisters presented with blistering on skin.
After about 4 days, the blisters rapture or burst to let out fluid. This leads to the ulcer stage. This is the most painful stage of cold sores on lip. This stage is marked by inflammation with characteristic red rings around the area where blisters had formed.
Moving on, we have the scabbing stage after 1 week or so. The cold sore ulcers will then begin to dry out hence formation of scabs. The affected area tends to shrink and appear with little cracks that would cause pain. Sometimes itching can worsen.
Finally, as the scabs heal they would come off leaving a dry and flaky-looking skin. If the right measures are not taken during these stages, your skin around cold sores may look slightly red or pinkish.
Complications Of Cold Sores
Cold sores are usually mild, but may cause complications in rare cases. People with weak immune systems caused by illness or treatments such as chemotherapy are particularly at risk of complications.
Dehydration sometimes occurs if drinking fluids becomes painful. Young children are particularly at risk of becoming dehydrated.
The herpes simplex virus can also spread to other parts of your body. Examples of when this can occur include:
- skin infections these often occur if the virus comes into contact with broken skin, such as a cut or graze, or a skin condition such as eczema
- herpetic whitlow this causes painful sores and blisters to appear on and around your fingers
- herpetic keratoconjunctivitis this causes swelling and irritation of your eye area and sores to develop on your eyelids
Left untreated, herpetic keratoconjunctivitis can cause the cornea, the transparent layer at the front of your eye, to become infected, which can eventually lead to blindness.
Itâs therefore important not to touch your eyes if you have an unhealed cold sore. If you must touch your eyes for example, to remove contact lenses wash your hands thoroughly first.
In very rare cases, encephalitis, a condition where the brain becomes inflamed and swollen, can be caused by the cold sore virus spreading to the brain. It can be treated with intravenous injections of antiviral medications, such as aciclovir.
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Triggers For Cold Sores
In some people the HSV infection causes cold sores, which erupt following a trigger event such as a cold. This explains the term cold sore. Other triggers that may cause an attack of cold sores include:
- feverish illnesses, like influenza, or chest infections
- hormonal changes, such as the menstrual period
- emotional or physical stress.
It is important to remember that cold sores are a symptom of ongoing infection rather than a new infection. The sores usually recur in the same place.
When Should You See A Doctor
If this is your first time experiencing cold sores, you may be alarmed. However, these painful blisters are usually best treated at home with the above-mentioned remedies. If you experience repeated breakouts, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider about possible antiviral medications such as acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir . These medicines help reduce the chances of recurring outbreaks, though there is no 100% guarantee they will stop forever.
If youd like to know more about cold sore treatment options, contact Valleywise Health today. Our primary care physicians are friendly, knowledgeable and ready to assist you.
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How Can I Get Rid Of Cold Sores Quickly
They’re painful. They’re unsightly. They’re annoying. Cold sores are just plain unwelcome. When one pops up on your lip or mouth, you probably immediately think: What’s the fastest way to get rid of this thing?
“Herpes simplex virus the virus that causes cold sores is incredibly contagious, and infection with the virus is really common,” says Dr. Donald Brown, primary care practitioner at Houston Methodist. “In fact, more than 50% of adults in the U.S. are infected with the type of herpes virus that most commonly causes cold sores. Interestingly, however, most people who contract the virus never actually develop symptoms.”
If the virus does cause cold sores, it can spread from person-to-person through close contact, like kissing. But, while you may not know it, the virus can also spread by sharing:
- Utensils and drinking glasses
“The virus is most contagious when a cold sore is present, particularly when the blister begins to ooze,” Dr. Brown adds. “However, it’s important to know that you can still spread the virus long after a cold sore heals as well as when a blister isn’t even present.”
For those who are no stranger to those painful, fluid-filled blisters, when you get a cold sore, you probably want it gone fast.
Stages Of Oral Herpes
There are three main stages of oral herpes:
- Primary infection: This stage consists of the initial contraction of the virus.
- Latency: When the infection enters the latency phase, it is dormant and symptoms are absent.
- Recurrence: Following the primary infection and periods of latency, outbreaks can recur.
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How To Get Rid Of Herpes Symptoms Naturally
By Joe Boland
Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases , prompting many to wonder how to get rid of herpes naturally.
The herpes virus can live dormant inside a persons immune system for a lifetime, periodically causing blisters that burst and turn into open cold sores or ulcers before healing. When left alone, herpes cold sores usually last about 1014 days and are uncomfortable for a variety of reasons causing redness, pain, burning and often embarrassment.
Many people wonder if there is a natural cure for herpes or are looking for ways on how to get rid of herpes for good. While technically the virus that causes herpes is not curable, there are many natural herpes remedies that can put herpes into remission. In fact, many people with herpes dont experience any symptoms at all, especially long term, once they learn to manage triggers of outbreaks. So while theres no guide for how to get rid of herpes naturally, there is a method for how to get rid of herpes symptoms the natural way and keep breakouts at bay.
Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
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Facts And Statistics About Herpes
- According to the World Health Organization, an estimated two-thirds of the global population under 50 years old are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 .
- Estimates for HSV-1 prevalence in the U.S. among people aged 049 years are 178 million women and 142 million men .
- In total, about 75 percent or more of the American adult population has the HSV-1 virus that usually causes oral herpes , and about 20 percent to 30 percent have HSV-2 that usually causes genital herpes.
- Men and women are affected by HSV-1 about equally. Roughly 6 million women in the U.S. become infected with HSV-1 each year, along with 5 million men.
- Slightly more women than men are affected by genital herpes, whether from HSV-1 or HSV-2. Middle-aged women are most likely to acquire genital herpes.
- Transmission of HSV most often occurs without symptoms, so its estimated that 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont know it. Many dont have any symptoms at all after the initial infection, and only about 15 percent ever receive a HSV-2 infection diagnosis in their lifetimes.
- Most primary oral/facial HSV infections are caused by HSV-1 however, facial infection by HSV-2 is increasingly becoming common.
- Less children are becoming infected with HSV-1 than in the past in high-income countries, mostly due to better hygiene and living conditions.
- After someone comes into contact with an active herpes outbreak on another person, the incubation period takes about one week.
How Is It Diagnosed
Diagnosis usually involves observation of your oral condition or laboratory tests. Your doctor may look around the mouth or inside to look for typical signs. If he or she is not satisfied, you may be asked to get to the lab for tests which may include viral culture, DNA test or Tzanck test.
Patients who suspect have the cold sore on their lips should see a doctor.
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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.
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