What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? above for information about this.
Do Natural Remedies Help
There are several options that can be tried to ease the pain. A73612 and Donnor52059 suggest dabbing cornstarch directly on the sores. I can’t find any scientific studies that have researched this, but I can’t 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 doesn’t 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.
What About Topical Herpes Treatments
Topical creams and ointments like Zovirax and Denavir are available and have been studied for oral herpes . Turns out they dont work so well, are really expensive and usually require frequent daily applications.
Now, there is a new topical medication for oral herpes that was just approved which may hold more promise, at a cost Im sure. Sitavig is different and comes in a tablet you place on the gum which delivers a high concentration of acyclovir directly to the lip, the site of the cold sore infection. Sitavig used just once lessened healing time compared to doing nothing. The reason this is exciting is that previous studies show that antiviral creams and ointments are of moderate benefit at best. This is true for topical acyclovir, Denavir, and the over the counter medication Abreva.
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Mouth Ulcers Vs Herpes
Mouth ulcers are little wounds that develop in your mouth. These lesions usually appear on the soft tissue and inner parts of the mouth, teeth, or the roof of the mouth.
They often appear because of a nutritional deficiency or a weakness in the immune system. These wounds are not contagious, and they commonly go away on their own.
Cold sores, which are sometimes known as oral herpes or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes virus. These are little sores that are observed on or around the lips.
Two strains of herpes can cause a cold sore: HSV1 that usually happens in the mouth. However, HSV2, which is commonly found on the genitals, can also cause cold sores. So, different from ulcers, herpes is very contagious.
Cold Sores: Common And Contagious
Cold sores are common and mostly harmless. Theyre caused by the herpes simplex virus, which spreads easily from person to person.
In some lucky people, the virus might cause a cold sore onceor twice and never rear its head again. But for other people, they come backagain and again, sometimes several times a year. And that gets old real fast.
They tend to go away on their own in 10 to 14 days, says Dr.Beers. But that doesnt make them any less annoying.
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What Is Oral Herpes
Oral herpes, commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters, is caused by the herpes virus. Unfortunately, once youre infected, there is no cure for herpes. For most people, sores may unexpectedly reappear throughout their lives, although the rate at which oral herpes recurs is unpredictable and varies from person to person. Some people will have multiple outbreaks in one year, while others may only have one episode in their entire lives.
A typical outbreak consists of a number of blister-like, reddish sores that are grouped together and that can ooze a clear fluid. These sores generally develop around the mouth near or on the lips, or sometimes on the chin, on the cheeks or inside the nose. Warning signs of an outbreak include a tingling or burning feeling, after which the blisters start to appear. After several days, the blisters dry and form scabs or crusts, which then disappear after a few more days, with or without treatment. Once the sores have disappeared, the virus becomes dormant until it is reactivated.
Antiviral Creams And Tablets
Antiviral creams such as aciclovir or penciclovir may speed up the healing time of a recurrent cold sore infection if used correctly.
Cold sore creams are widely available over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription.
They’re only effective if you apply them as soon as the first signs of a cold sore appear, when the herpes simplex virus is spreading and replicating. Using an antiviral cream after this initial period is unlikely to have much effect.
If you have frequently recurring bouts of cold sores, use antiviral medication as soon as you feel the tingling sensation that indicates a cold sore is about to develop. You’ll need to apply the cream up to five times a day for four to five days.
Antiviral creams can only help to heal a current outbreak of cold sores. They don’t get rid of the herpes simplex virus or prevent future outbreaks of cold sores occurring.
Antiviral tablets are generally more effective than creams at treating cold sores, but are usually only prescribed for more severe cases.
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How To Get Rid Of Herpes The Conventional Way
For most people with herpes, the virus typically represents nothing more than an inconvenience however, the real risk is for immuno-compromised patients who cant easily manage infections. In these patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex infection is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
As of 2017, there is not currently a herpes vaccine available to prevent HSV-1 or HSV-2.
Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help keep the herpes virus suppressed or to speed up healing of cold sores by reducing bacteria that can cause infections. Some medications that are now used to control herpes include:
- Nucleoside analogues and antiviral medications
- Creams/ointment to help lower pain and inflammation near the site of sores
- Over-the-counter painkillers to reduce aches, tenderness or fever
However, its important to understand that even with early detection and prescription medications, either form of the herpes virus cannot be totally cured so transmission is always still possible. Medications for viruses dont always work long term and are not a cure-all.
How Can I Stop Cold Sores From Forming
So you nipped your last cold sore flare-up in the bud , and it lasted less than a week but here you are, just a few months later, and the cold sores are back. There’s good news, and then there’s bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.
“Once a person is infected with herpes simplex virus, he or she is infected for life,” says Dr. Brown. “After a cold sore heals, the virus isn’t actually cleared from your body. Instead, the virus travels back into your nerves, where it can lie dormant for long periods of time. When the virus reemerges, it typically does so in the same spot as before.”
So what triggers the virus to reactivate and cause a flare-up?
Dr. Brown says that a cold sore outbreak can be triggered by:
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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. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.
Several clinical trials have tested vaccines against genital herpes infection, but there is currently no commercially available vaccine that is protective against genital herpes infection. One vaccine trial showed efficacy among women whose partners were HSV-2 infected, but only among women who were not infected with HSV-1. No efficacy was observed among men whose partners were HSV-2 infected. A subsequent trial testing the same vaccine showed some protection from genital HSV-1 infection, but no protection from HSV-2 infection.
How Long Does A Fever Blister Take To Heal
Symptoms will lessen after a few days, but it will take additional time for the skin to completely heal. A normal fever blister episode heals within two weeks. During this time, there are steps you can take.
Once you have an outbreak, its possible for fever blisters to return. Usually the first outbreak is the most severe. First time outbreaks can be accompanied by fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and body aches. Future outbreaks tend to be less severe.
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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Herpes Simplex
During an outbreak, a dermatologist often can diagnose herpes simplex by looking at the sores. To confirm that a patient has herpes simplex, a dermatologist may take a swab from a sore and send this swab to a laboratory.
When sores are not present, other medical tests, such as blood tests, can find the herpes simplex virus.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms
The first symptoms of cold sores may include a spot that tingles, burns, or itches around your mouth and on your lips. You may also have a fever, a sore throat, or swollen glands in your neck or other parts of the body. Small children sometimes drool before cold sores appear. After the blisters appear, the cold sores usually break open, leak a clear fluid, and then crust over and disappear after several days to 2 weeks. For some people, cold sores can be very painful.
Some people have the virus but don’t get cold sores. They have no symptoms.
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.
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Treatment For Cold Sores
You can treat cold sores on lips at home or get medicines over the counter or prescription medicines from a qualified physician. Keep in mind that most treatments help relieve symptoms.
Non-prescription treatments include Anbesol and Zilactin ointments. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen may be prescribed in case you experience fever.
Vaccines are given important so as to prevent or reduce future recurrence.
IMPORTANT: For underage children always consult your healthcare provider before using any medicines or products.
Read on for remedies for cold cores.
There Is More Than One Type Of Herpes Infection
There are two types of herpes simplex infection: herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 . Cold sores around the mouth are generally caused by HSV-1. Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Cold sores on the mouth can cause genital infection during oral sex for people who do not already carry the cold sore virus. There are many other viruses that are also in the herpes virus family, however the infection and symptoms are different. One example is varicella zoster virus which causes chickenpox and shingles.
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Potential Complications Of Oral Herpes
For most people, herpes is more of an inconvenience than it is a serious medical condition. Mild scarring might be a concern following a particularly severe outbreak.
There are two instances in which herpes poses a more severe risk, but neither of these instances involves oral herpes. For example:
- Neonatal herpes is a risk for infants born to mothers with genital herpes. It can lead to neurological disability and is potentially fatal.
- Herpes simplex encephalitis occurs when herpes infects a persons central nervous system . Its treatable, but can be fatal if not treated properly.
Many people have herpes but are asymptomatic, meaning they dont even know they have it.
Can Oral Herpes Come Back?
Oral herpes sores can come back. The virus remains in your body forever once youve contracted it.
However, it can remain dormant for a certain period and then reactivate. When this occurs, a person is likely to develop mild symptoms, including sores.
Some people refer to this as herpes coming back, even though its better described as a flare-uporrecurrence.
How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally
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
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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 To Cope After Diagnosis
Many posters were occupied with the issue of passing on the infection. Yolandayw points out that you can minimise the risk of transmission by postponing sex until all the sores have healed. She also mentioned that condoms should be used. They won’t completely prevent transmission but they will help.
Ending on a positive note, many posters emphasised that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Learning of the diagnosis may feel stressful at first, but it’s a manageable condition and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Lucy03934 has had genital herpes for 25 years. She’s been married for 18 years and has two sons – living proof that there is life after herpes.
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