Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How Long Do Outbreaks Last Genital Herpes

Can I Get Tested For Genital Herpes

Understanding Genital Herpes

Yes, if you think you have symptoms of genital herpes or have been at risk of infection, you should speak to a healthcare worker.

There are different tests available. If you have symptoms, the most common test is to take a swab from a blister. The fluid can be tested for the herpes simplex virus.Some places may also offer blood tests to check for antibodies to the virus, but these are often not routinely available, so ask a healthcare worker if youre unsure.

If you have genital herpes you should be tested for other STIs.

Its also advised that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have genital herpes do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on.

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What Is The Usual Treatment For Genital Herpes

The doctor may prescribe antiviral tablets to speed up healing and reduce the severity of a first episode. Aciclovir is the most commonly used antiviral drug for treating genital herpes. You dont need the tablets if the first episode is mild, or if you have almost recovered before you see the doctor.If you get more episodes later on, you will be less likely to be offered with antiviral tablets as outbreaks clear up without treatment.To prevent a recurrent outbreak with antiviral tablets, you need to start taking them within 24 hours of noticing the beginning of the outbreak. When you start after 24 hours, it is unlikely that the tablets will have much effect. This is why you should have a prescription or tablets ready, so that you can start to take them as soon as possible see dosing information below. Members can ask for our antiviral drug fact sheet see subscription form. And we offer self-help suggestions too.

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.

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How Long Does A Herpes Outbreak Last

Herpes outbreaks usually last for about one to two weeks, though the first outbreak after infection may last longer. The symptoms typically go away on their own without treatment. However, there are at-home remedies and prescription treatments which may help to ease symptoms and shorten the length of outbreaks. Herpes outbreaks may continue to occur, but many people find that they become shorter and less severe over time.

Do Natural Remedies Help

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There are several options that can be tried to ease the pain. A73612 and Donnor52059 suggest dabbing cornstarch directly on the sores. I cant find any scientific studies that have researched this, but I cant see that it would do any harm.

A73612 also recommends squirting water from a bottle over the sores when you pee. This is a time-honoured method that will help to ease the pain.

Yolandayw mentioned taking a simple painkiller such as paracetamol during an outbreak. Feelbroken advised putting Vaseline on the sores. Lidocaine 5%, a local anaesthetic gel that numbs the area, is another option. Some people find it helpful to put on five minutes before passing urine. You need to get it on prescription and it doesnt suit everyone. Some people develop sensitivity to it which makes the symptoms worse.

Yolandayw also advised using ice as a home remedy. Simply wrap the ice in a tea towel and apply for 5-10 minutes. Never put ice directly on the skin as this can cause ice burn. Drinking plenty of water can also be helpful as it reduces the concentration of urine, making it less painful when you have to pee.

D91907 mentioned putting aloe vera gel on the sores. There is some scientific evidence that aloe vera is useful for both genital and oral herpes.

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When To Call The Doctor

Even though HSV sores can hurt and be unsightly, most cases of herpes do not cause serious illness. The sores go away in a few days. Contact the health provider if:

  • Sores are present and you think it might be a first herpes infection. The diagnosis is usually made by examining the sores. If the sores have not healed, sometimes a laboratory test is done.
  • Sores do not heal by themselves or show signs of infection such as pus, spreading redness or fever.
  • Sores are near the eyes.
  • You have another health condition with a weakened immune system.

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How Does Genital Herpes Spread

The herpes virus that causes genital herpes spreads through saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. Its possible to get genital herpes from someone who doesnt have visible symptoms. You can have the infection, not know it and infect someone else.

Research has found it is possible for genital herpes to spread through:

  • Oral sex with someone whos infected.
  • Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
  • Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
  • Childbirth by a mother who has an active infection.

You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.

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What Are The Complications Of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes may cause painful genital ulcers that can be severe and persistent in persons with suppressed immune systems, such as HIV-infected persons. 5 Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also cause rare but serious complications such as aseptic meningitis . 5 Development of extragenital lesions may occur during the course of infection. 5

There are also potential complications for a pregnant woman and her newborn child. See How does herpes infection affect a pregnant woman and her baby? below for information about this.

Is It Possible To Prevent Genital Herpes

It Might Be Good to Have Herpes | Trained Immunity
  • Herpes can be spread both during an outbreak and by infected people even when there is no outbreak of the condition, so prevention can be difficult.
  • While condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes to sexual partners during sexual activity, the infection also can be spread from skin contact in areas not covered by a condom, or during oral to genital contact.
  • If you are having an outbreak, thorough hand washing and not sharing clothing that has touched the herpes sores can also help prevent transmitting the virus to others.

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What Kind Of Doctors Treat Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is treated by primary care providers including internal medicine and family medicine specialists, as well as pediatricians for adolescents. For women, gynecologists are often the treating physicians. In certain circumstances, other specialists may be consulted, including urologists and infectious disease specialists.

Onset Of First Outbreak

The first outbreak of oral herpes usually develops within about one to three weeks after infection. This initial outbreak may last for up to three weeks.

With genital herpes, the first outbreak usually occurs within about two to 20 days. Similar to oral herpes, the initial outbreak may last as long as three weeks.

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Can You Get Herpes On Your Tongue

While you may associate herpes type 1 with cold sores on your lips, it is possible to suffer from the symptoms of herpes on your tongue. This is referred to as oral herpes and usually affects more of your mouth than just your tongue. More than half of all adults in the United States are thought to have oral herpes.

Can Cold Sores Be Prevented

Im almost positive I have HSV

The virus that causes cold sores is very contagious. To help prevent it from spreading to others:

  • Keep your drinking glasses and eating utensils, as well as washcloths and towels, separate from those used by other family members and wash these items well after use.
  • Dont kiss others until the sores heal.
  • Wash your hands well and often, especially after touching a cold sore.

Be especially careful not to touch your eyes. If HSV-1 gets into the eyes, it can cause a lot of damage.

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How Does Herpes Simplex Spread

Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.

People may get HSV-1 through

  • Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
  • Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
  • If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.

People may get HSV-2 through

  • Oral sex with someone whos infected.
  • Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
  • Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
  • Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.

You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.

Risk For Genital Herpes

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 6 Americans ages 14 to 49 years have genital herpes. While HSV-2 remains the main cause of genital herpes, HSV-1 has significantly increased as a cause, most likely because of oral-genital sex. Except for people in monogamous relationships with uninfected partners, everyone who is sexually active is at risk for genital herpes.

Risk factors for genital herpes include:

  • History of an STD
  • First sexual intercourse at an early age
  • High number of sexual partners
  • Low socioeconomic status

Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection because herpes is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men. About 1 in 5 women, compared to 1 in 9 men, have genital herpes. African-American women are at particularly high risk.

People with compromised immune systems, such as those who have HIV, are at very high risk for genital herpes. These people are also at risk for more severe complications from herpes. Drugs that suppress the immune system, and organ transplantation, can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk for contracting genital herpes.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Herpes

Some risk factors for herpes may include:

-Having unprotected sex

-Having sex with multiple partners

-Kissing someone with a herpes virus that is active

-Abuse of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs

-Spreading the virus by touching a cold sore and then touching something else

-Having an autoimmune disorder or illness, such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS

-Poor eating habits that cause nutritional deficiencies

Can You Have Herpes And Not Know It

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Yes, it is possible to have herpes and not know it.

Some people may have an asymptomatic infection, which means they do not experience any symptoms. Others have symptoms that are mild, go unnoticed, or mistaken for another skin issue. Because of this, theyĆ¢re less likely to seek out a diagnosis to confirm herpes.

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Complications Of Genital Herpes

Likewise, theres no current cure for genital herpes. These infections can also be mild and harmless. Even so, theres the risk of complications.

Minor complications with genital herpes include inflammation around the bladder and rectum area. This can lead to swelling and pain. If swelling prevents emptying the bladder, you may need a catheter.

Meningitis is another possible, though unlikely, complication. It occurs when the viral infection spreads and causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Viral meningitis is typically a mild infection. It may clear on its own.

Like oral herpes, encephalitis is also a possible complication of genital herpes, but its even more rare.

Keep in mind that having genital herpes increases the risk of other STIs. Blisters can cause breaks in the skin, making it easier for certain microbes to enter the body.

Even though genital herpes doesnt have serious complications for most people, the HSV-2 virus that causes it is dangerous to babies born to a mother who has it.

Neonatal herpes is a complication of genital herpes. An infection that passes to a child during pregnancy or childbirth can cause brain damage, blindness, or even death to a newborn baby.

Treatment typically consists of antivirals to suppress the virus.

HSV-1 and HSV-2 are common types of herpes. However, other types of the virus can also have potentially serious complications.

How Is Genital Herpes Treated

Herpes has no cure. But antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the time you take the medicine. Also, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can lower your chance of spreading the infection to your partner.

Your doctor will either give you antiviral medicine to take right after getting outbreak symptoms or to take regularly to try to stop outbreaks from happening. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.

During outbreaks, you can take the following steps to speed healing and prevent spreading herpes to other parts of your body or to other people:

  • Keep sores clean and dry.
  • Try not to touch the sores.
  • Wash your hands after any contact with the sores.
  • Avoid all sexual contact from the time you first notice symptoms until the sores have healed.

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What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Children

The herpes virus can be spread to babies and children if they are kissed by someone that is infected and has active cold sores. Although rare, it is also possible to spread herpes to a child or infant by touch if a person touches their cold sore and then touches the baby or child.

Precautions can be taken to protect infants and other children from getting the virus. Avoid kissing children if you have a cold sore and ask other people not to as well. Wash your hands frequently if you have a cold sore and you are around children.

Treatment Of An Initial Outbreak

How long does a herpes outbreak last without treatment

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.

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Herpes Outbreak Treatment Options

Even without treatment, most herpes outbreaks go away on their own. There are treatments available, however, which have been proven to shorten and even prevent future outbreaks. These antiviral medications work by preventing the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through your cells to cause an outbreak. If you suffer from oral herpes, a healthcare provider may recommend a topical cream or ointment that you should apply at the first sign of an outbreak. If you experience recurrent genital herpes outbreaks, you may be offered oral herpes treatments which are pills you take by mouth. Examples of antiviral drugs include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir . These are all standard options proven to help decrease the severity and length of outbreaks from herpes .

Prescription antiviral treatments are usually very effective at prevent future outbreaks, reducing the chance of experiencing an outbreak by 7080%. Many people on antiviral therapy report experiencing no herpes symptoms at all . Using medication within the first 24 hours of symptoms can shorten outbreaks by several hours or days, ultimately reducing any discomfort in the long run .

What Are The Different Types Of Herpes

There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV I and HSV II. HSV I commonly causes oral herpes, or cold sores. This virus can show up as an upper respiratory tract infection during early childhood. HSV II is the cause of most cases of genital herpes. However, it is possible for HSV I to cause genital herpes and HSV II to cause oral herpes.

Clinicians cannot tell the difference between the two types by physical examination alone, but there are differences between the two viruses. For example, genital herpes caused by HSV II is much more likely to recur. This diagnosis can be helpful in establishing a health care plan.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

Usually, shingles develops only on one side of the body or face and in a small area rather than all over. The most common place for shingles is a band that goes around one side of your waistline.

Most people have some of the following shingles symptoms:

  • Burning, tingling, or numbness of the skin
  • Feeling sickchills, fever, upset stomach, or headache
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Skin that is sensitive to touch
  • Mild itching to strong pain

Depending on where shingles develops, it could also cause symptoms like hiccups or even loss of vision.

For some people, the symptoms of shingles are mild. They might just have some itching. For others, shingles can cause intense pain that can be felt from the gentlest touch or breeze.

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