Wednesday, October 5, 2022

How Does Herpes Flare Up

Myth #: A Blood Test Is The Best Way To Know If You Have Herpes

Why Herpes Flare Up

Blood tests are not always accurate and testing for herpes can be tricky. It can take two weeks to six months after being exposed to herpes before it is detected in the blood. To make matters more complicated, if you are low risk for herpes and asymptomatic, it increases your risk of a false positive result. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against routine testing for herpes unless you or your partner have symptoms. The most accurate test is when you are able to take a swab sample from a new herpes lesion, but often times the diagnosis is made by a clinician based on your history and report of symptoms.

Because the blood test can be expensive and inaccurate, it is not typically included in a sexually transmitted disease evaluation unless you ask your provider for it specifically.

In short, if you dont have symptoms, you dont necessarily need a blood test. If you do experience an outbreak, a skin swab not a blood test is your best bet for confirmation.

Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin

The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.

During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.

There Are 2 Herpes Simplex Viruses That Can Cause Infection

  • One causes most genital herpes.
  • The other virus can also cause genital herpes but more often causes blisters of the mouth and lips.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 1 out of 6 people ages 14 to 49have genital herpes.

Women are more easily infected with herpes than men.

Also Check: Can Herpes Cause Cervical Cancer

What Triggers A Herpes Outbreak

As we mentioned, following you first herpes infection, the virus lies dormant in your nerves. Your immune system usually keeps it at bay.

But your immune system can only deal with so much at once. That means if you have dormant herpes and your immune system needs to fend off another virus or bacteria, it may get distracted, allowing herpes to crop up. Thats why cold sores are called cold sores or fever blistersthey typically appear when you catch another bug .

Different types of stress can also trigger outbreaks. Psychological stress, especially the stress caused by extreme emotional upset, can lead to an outbreak . Things that cause physical stress can also contribute. Sunlight is a common trigger of oral herpes outbreaks, while friction from tight clothing or sex, and even hormone changes associated with menstruation, are common triggers of genital herpes outbreaks .

Speak to a healthcare provider about your options and which treatments might be effective for preventing or shortening your outbreaks.

How Is Genital Herpes Spread

Im pretty sure its herpes , But how can I help it heal FASTER ...

If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:

  • Saliva or genital secretions
  • Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.

You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.

You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.

Read Also: What Is The Herpes Zoster Vaccine

Make The Arginine Connection

Foods high in arginine and low in lysine, two of the eight naturally occurring amino acids, may be your worst enemies if you have herpes. The virus needs arginine to grow, reports Michele Picozzi, author of Controlling Herpes Naturally, on the Herpes.org website. The worst arginine-rich foods if you have herpes include peanuts, chocolate and carob, wheat and wheat germ, oats, soy foods, some types of nuts, peanuts, and sesame seeds, according to Dr. Deborah Gordon, an integrative medicine practitioner.

Also Check: Can You Tell How Long You Ve Had Herpes

Tips For Managing Herpes Symptoms

The symptoms of herpes can be painful and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are a few things you can easily do at home to help ease these symptoms, including:

  • Apply an ice pack or warm compress to the affected area.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen.
  • Keep the affected area clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid tight clothing that may irritate genital sores.
  • Dont pop blisters or pick at scabs that form over the sores.
  • Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a painkilling cream.

Taking proper care of your skin and overall health while experiencing an outbreak can help to prevent complications like infection and assist in faster healing for your sores. Keep in mind that you are especially contagious during an outbreak, so its best to avoid intimate contact, such as kissing or sex, until the sores heal.

You May Like: What Are Genital Herpes Pictures

How Many Genital Herpes Recurrences Will I Have

Researchers know the average number of outbreaks but you are not average! Does knowing how many children a woman has on average tell you how many you will have?

However, we know that outbreaks are about 6 times more frequent with a type 2 genital infection than when it is caused by type 1. So a person who is having a lot of genital herpes recurrences is more likely to have herpes simplex type 2.

DonĂ¢t Miss: How To Treat Herpes Skin Rash

How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex

A Vaccine Pathway for Herpes Virus with Gregory Smith, PhD

Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.

To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:

  • Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
  • Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
  • Speaking with a therapist.

Don’t Miss: When Do Herpes Symptoms Appear

Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md

Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at sexualhealthTV.com.

Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.

How Is It Spread

The herpes virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the herpes virus:

  • Most often, from herpes sores or blisters
  • Less often, from normal looking skin where the virusfirst entered the body
  • The herpes virus enters the body through the:
    • Lining of the mouth
    • Regular skin that has small cracks or cuts

People with a weak immune system can get a herpesinfection more easily. A weak immune system is causedby some diseases and by somemedicines used to treat serious diseases.

People who don’t know they have herpes can still spread the virus to others.

Don’t Miss: How Long After Outbreak Is Herpes Contagious

What Can I Do To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Cold Sores

While cold sores are uncomfortable, you can find relief at home. Suggestions to help manage cold sores:

  • Use over-the-counter creams and ointments: These remedies can help shorten the healing time and ease your symptoms. They are most effective when you use them as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on.
  • Take pain relievers: If you are in a lot of pain, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter topical pain reliever such as lidocaine that you can apply directly to the cold sore. You can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen by mouth to ease your discomfort.
  • Wear sunscreen and SPF lip balm: It is important to make sure a cold sore doesnt get sunburned while it is healing. Also, wearing a lip balm with SPF 30 every day could prevent future cold sores.
  • Avoid acidic foods: Orange juice, tomatoes and other acidic foods can aggravate a cold sore.
  • Apply a cool compress: You can use a cool, damp washcloth to soothe a cold sore. Apply it for a few minutes off and on throughout the day. Be sure to wash the towel after youve used it to avoid spreading the cold sore to others.

Read Also: How To Keep Your Partner Safe From Herpes

More Questions From Patients:

HERPES FLARE UPS / OUTBREAKS

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

Read Also: Best Otc Genital Herpes Treatment

How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy

Genital herpes doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women diagnosed with herpes genitalis should start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent outbreaks during delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.

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.

Don’t Miss: How To Read Herpes Blood Test Results

How To Keep A Flare

Antiviral medication is the best way to manage a flare-up. Another key step is to know your triggers. Many people find certain things cause reactivation, including food, stress, clothes, sunlight, and certain medications.

Other strategies for managing flare-ups include:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Eating a well-balanced, whole-foods diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Using warm water to ease discomfort
  • Using a separate towel for genitals and washing after each use
  • Wearing loose, cotton undergarments
  • Avoiding touching blisters or sores

Also, avoid putting ointments and creams on the sores. These prevent air from reaching the sores and slow healing.

Can I Treat Herpes Simplex At Home

Why Do So Many People Have Herpes?

Avoiding known triggers, such as illness or stress, can help reduce how often you have herpes outbreaks.

How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-1 ?

  • Over-the-counter creams such as L-lysine, benzocaine or docosanol .
  • Applying ice to blisters or sores.

How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-2 ?

  • Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
  • Keep your genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
  • Soak in a warm bath.

Recommended Reading: How Can You Tell If You Have Genital Herpes

Read Also: How To Know Of You Have Herpes

When To See A Doctor

People should see their doctor if they think they might have herpes, or if they have any symptoms of herpes. Getting tested for herpes is also important to rule out other sexually transmitted infections.

People can visit their doctor or a sexual health clinic for a test. If people have any sores or blisters present, a healthcare provider will use a swab to take a sample from the sores. The sample will indicate whether or not the sores are due to a herpes infection.

Some people may be concerned that they have the herpes virus but no symptoms. In such cases, a doctor might be able to order a blood test to check for the virus in a persons blood. However, the

Recurrent Genital Herpes Infection

After the initial infection, obvious or inapparent, there may be no further clinical manifestations throughout life. Recurrences are more frequent with type 2 genital herpes than with type 1.

Recurrences can be triggered by:

  • Emotional stress.

In most cases, however, no reason for the recurrence is evident.

Recurrent infections differ from first infections in that the blisters are usually smaller in size and more closely grouped. They also tend to be of shorter duration than the initial infection, usually 510 days. Generally, the affected person feels quite well.

You May Like: How Long Does An Untreated Herpes Outbreak Last

Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Herpes

There is no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications can, however, prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.11 In addition, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.11

There is currently no commercially available vaccine that is protective against genital herpes infection. Candidate vaccines are in clinical trials.

Recommended Reading: How To Heal Herpes Outbreak Quickly

Treatment Of An Initial Outbreak

herpes flare up

The first outbreak of genital herpes is usually much worse than recurrent outbreaks. Symptoms tend to be more severe and to last longer. Your provider will prescribe one of the three antiviral medications, which you will take for 7 to 10 days. If your symptoms persist, treatment may be extended. An acyclovir ointment may also be prescribed for topical treatment of initial genital herpes.

Dont Miss: What Medication Treats Genital Herpes

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of The Herpes Virus For Good

Can I Get Genital Herpes More Than Once

There isnt a cure for HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. Infections can come back . 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.

After infection, the virus moves from skin cells to nerve cells. In the nerve cells, it becomes inactive . Certain things may reactivate the virus, such as:

  • Illness or fever.

You May Like: How Long To Wait To Test For Herpes

How To Avoid Herpes Infection

Condoms cut the risk of getting or passing on herpes if they cover the affected area.

Other types of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections .

Wash your hands after touching blisters, especially before handling contact lenses because herpes can cause an eye infection.

Avoid things that trigger herpes outbreaks such as a lack of sleep, sunbathing or stress.

Having herpes could make it easier for someone to get or pass on HIV. But if HIV drugs have made your viral load undetectable then you cannot pass on HIV.

Also Check: How To Get Herpes Medication Without Insurance

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
  • How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
  • Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
  • How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/23/2020.

References

Differences Between Oral And Genital Herpes Outbreaks

Cold Sores | Oral Herpes | Causes, Signs & Symptoms, Treatment

The location of the sores is the main difference between the two types of herpes. Oral herpes sores generally develop on the mouth and lips, usually at the border of the lip where it meets the skin of the face.

Genital herpes sores can occur in a wider variety of locations depending on where the virus entered the body. These locations may include:

  • For women and men:

You May Like: Do I Have Herpes Test

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 .

You May Like: How To Treat Mouth Herpes At Home

Popular Articles
Related news