I Tested Positive For Herpes What Should I Do Now
- avoid kissing others when the virus is active
- use condoms when having sex
- avoid skin-to-skin contact during an active outbreak
- avoid sharing towels, toothbrushes, and lipstick when they have sores around the mouth
- wash their hands well after touching a sore
Having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of
transmitting STIs such as herpes. People can decrease this risk by openly discussing STI status and prevention with any partners and practicing safe sex.
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Supplements And Vitamins For Herpes Outbreaks
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Herpes, whether oral or genital, can be an annoying, frustrating virus. Whether you get frequent outbreaks or have asymptomatic herpes but worry about transmitting the virus to others, herpes can cause a variety of difficult physical and psychological symptoms. These days, the most common drugs used to treat herpes are oral antiviral medications, such as valacyclovir. Weve covered these medications beforein general, they should be your first line of treatment in the event of a herpes outbreak. However, are there alternatives? Weve all heard the stories about people using supplements and vitamins for herpes outbreaks, but is any of it true?
In this guide, well look at some of the most widely used vitamins and supplements marketed as herpes treatments. Well look at the scientific data behind each supplement and the benefits of each product to help you make informed, effective buying decisions.
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Treatment For Oral Herpes
The antiviral medications available in pill form have been specifically developed for the treatment of genital herpes. However, it is not uncommon for healthcare providers to prescribe the antiviral drugs to those who have frequent or severe outbreaks of oral herpes.
A recent study found valacyclovir to be effective for treating oral herpes in a one-day treatment of 2 grams taken at the first sign of a cold sore, and then again about 12 hours later.
There are two topical antiviral medications prescribed for the treatment of oral HSV symptoms: acyclovir ointment and penciclovir cream. Both work to speed up the healing process and reduce the viral activity. These topical drugs are put directly on the lesions themselves, but can also be used at the onset of prodrome.
Other topical treatments for oral herpes are available over-the-counter , but are not antiviral compounds like acyclovir and penciclovir. Some also contain ingredients that numb the area and induce temporary relief from the discomfort of an outbreak. Unfortunately, some OTC treatments may actually delay the healing time of symptoms because they can further irritate the area with repeated applications. There is only one OTC FDA-approved cream, called Abreva®, which has been clinically proven to help speed the healing process.
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Dos And Donts For Herpes Outbreaks
Before going into the treatment options for herpes, its important to note a few important dos and donts to keep in mind when an outbreak occurs.
Things you should or should not do when you have an oral herpes outbreak include:
- Do wash your hands after any time you touch a sore.
- Do get rid of your toothbrush and start using a new one.
- Do protect your lips with lip balm.
- Do take steps to reduce stress, which can worsen outbreaks.
- Dont share cups, utensils, towels, or lip balms.
- Dont kiss while a sore is present.
- Dont try to pop or drain cold sores.
Things you should or should not do when you have a genital herpes outbreak include:
- Do wash your hands after any time you touch a sore.
- Do take steps to reduce stress, which can worsen outbreaks.
- Do wear cotton underwear and loose clothing.
- Do keep your genital area clean and dry except when showering.
- Dont take baths or use hot tubs.
- Dont have sex since the virus has a higher risk of transmission.
- Dont try to pop or drain genital sores.
Cold Sore Home Remedies
If you prefer to try a natural cold sore remedy, many common items are purported to prevent and/or lessen the irritation of outbreaks. Some of these remedies are listed below, although definitive research is still limited as to their effectiveness.
If youre not successful in staving off the sore, applications of ointments and petroleum jelly will help keep the scabs from cracking open, helping to reduce the pain and shorten the time of recovery. Its generally true that wounds heal more quickly when kept moist, according to Clark Otley, MD, the chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Mayo Clinic.
RECOMMENDATION: Talk to your doctor about any supplements or medicines to see if your situation may warrant avoiding certain products.
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How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore
Doctors use oral and topical cold sore treatments to ease your pain, slow the growth and spread of the virus, and speed up healing.
There are three ways to use antivirals to fight cold sores, Dr. Brodell explains. One is to treat the virus at the first sign of recurrence using a course of oral or topical medication.
The second is suppressive therapy, meaning you take oral antiviral medicine every day to prevent outbreaks. Lets say youre having outbreaks once a month, every time you get a menstrual cycle or every time you feel stress, Dr. Brodell says. You can give that person a vacation from having their outbreaks with suppressive therapy. This daily oral antiviral therapy is the most effective treatment to prevent outbreaks, Dr. Barankin adds.
A third option is intermittent suppressive therapy for people who can predict their outbreaks. You might get a lip full of blisters every time you go on vacation to sunny Florida, for example. You know youre headed for trouble next time you visit, but you dont want it to ruin your getaway. The solution: Have your doctor prescribe an antiviral medicine that you can take for the week that youre away. Few doctors educate their patients about using suppressive therapy intermittently, says Dr. Brodell, despite the fact that it absolutely works, he insists.
Your doctor might also prescribe Xerese, the first medicine to combine acyclovir and hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication.
What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Women
Like men, women who have HSV-1 or HSV-2 may have no symptoms or signs of the infection. Some women may only have an initial outbreak and no other recurring symptoms. Others may have chronic recurring outbreaks of the herpes virus, and some women may not have an outbreak for months or even years after they have first been infected.
In the first herpes outbreak, symptoms usually start within 2 weeks of contracting the virus. The initial symptoms may include:
-Around the buttocks or thighs
-Inside the cervix or urinary tract
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How To Heal Herpes Sores Faster
An outbreak of genital herpes can be upsetting and painful – so it comes as no surprise that if you are experiencing an outbreak, you want to know how to heal herpes sores faster than traditional methods of management.
The herpes simplex virus is a sexually transmitted disease categorized into two main variations, HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 is primarily associated with cold sores that surface during times of stress or lack of sleep, genital sores attributed to HSV-2 frequently cause discomfort and pain.
This pain, coupled with the embarrassment and anxiety of a flare-up, often leaves infected individuals seeking medical aid to reduce their symptoms, and heal sores faster.
This article will explore the various methods utilised to successfully lessen the intensity of a genital herpes outbreak.
What Happens During An Outbreak
Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. You catch it by having intimate contact with someone who has the virus.
In between episodes, most people don’t know they have been infected by it. The virus remains in your nervous system and can be reactivated from time to time to give you symptoms. Outbreaks can occur in the genital area if the first infection was in the genitals. They cause crops of small painful blisters in the genital area and back passage . Herpes can also cause recurrent cold sores if the primary infection was around the mouth.
No one knows why outbreaks occur, although sunlight, physical illness, excess alcohol, and stress are all thought to be trigger factors. They often do become less frequent over time.
Recurrent episodes of genital herpes generally don’t last as long as the first outbreak. They are sometimes preceded by itching or tingling in the genital area. Recurrent outbreaks usually last about 7-10 days, shorter than the primary infection which can last up to two weeks. They are also often milder than a primary infection but as R35506 found, the shallow ulcers left when the blisters break can still be quite painful.
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How To Get Rid Of Cold Sores In 24 Hours
Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are a common viral infection. They look like small blisters that are filled with fluid and on and around your lips. Many times, these blisters form in patches. Once they break, a crust develops over the sore. Fortunately, cold sores usually go away within two to four weeks and dont leave a scar. The most painful cold sores are the ones that show up on the cracks of the cheeks and where the teeth hit the inside of ones lips. They can sometimes be so painful that it brings tears to the eyes.
Many people have reached out to us asking the fastest ways to get rid of a cold sore or if there are any at home remedies that can fix the pain in 24 hours or less.
If two to four weeks seems like a long time or you have an upcoming important event and would like to get rid of your core sore as soon as possible, you may be able to. There are a number of natural home remedies that may get the job done. We recommend you try the following:
Tea Tree Oil
Dab a bit of tea tree oil on a cotton swab and apply it to the sore directly. Be sure to repeat this several times during the day and before you go to bed. Tea tree oil is a great option because it contains anti-viral properties that kill infection that spread bacteria and expedite the healing process.
Apple Cider Vinegar
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How Long After Herpes Outbreak Is It Still Contagious
For oral herpes, cold sores are usually contagious for up to 15 days and are generally no longer contagious once all symptoms have cleared, which includes the blister itself and any scabbing.
Someone carrying genital herpes should wait until 7 days after the sore heals to begin engaging in sexual activity, as the herpes virus can spread from sores not covered by a condom.
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Best For Skin Barrier: Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly
- Price: $3.2917.70
- Pros: available in a range of sizes, suitable for sensitive skin
- Cons: reports of product hygiene issues from online sellers
A person can purchase Vaseline online through Amazon.
Vaseline states it is hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive, dry skin.
It also claims that its product helps seal in moisture, which may help the skin heal naturally. Additionally, petroleum jelly creates a barrier between the skin and outside elements.
This Vaseline product may be best suited to people with cold sores.
Vaseline costs between $3.2917.70, depending on the tub size.
Pros: suitable for smaller budgets, high volume per bottle, third-party testedCons: limited research into the effectiveness of L-lysine for herpes
These caplets are suitable for vegetarians and free of allergens such as yeast, wheat, gluten, milk, and lactose. They are also free of sugar.
CVS Pharmacy claims these caplets may help support healthy skin, collagen production, and tissue maintenance.
CVS states it requires third-party testing for all supplements.
The company recommends taking one caplet a day on an empty stomach. Each pill contains 1,000 mg of L-lysine.
CVS Pharmacy L-Lysin Caplets cost $11.29.
How Can I Get Rid Of Cold Sores Quickly
Theyre painful. Theyre unsightly. Theyre annoying. Cold sores are just plain unwelcome. When one pops up on your lip or mouth, you probably immediately think: Whats 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, its important to know that you can still spread the virus long after a cold sore heals as well as when a blister isnt 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.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Antiviral Medications
There are two brands of antiviral medications available to treat herpes. Either can be used to take daily as a suppressive therapy or episodically when there is an outbreak. Discuss with your doctor how often you are experiencing outbreaks and your symptoms. Together you can decide which, if any, medication is best for you.
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When Treatments For Genital Herpes Are Given
- Initial treatment. If you have symptoms such as sores when you’re first diagnosed with genital herpes, your doctor will usually give you a brief course of antiviral therapy to relieve them or prevent them from getting worse. Your doctor may keep you on the drugs longer if the sores don’t heal in that time.
After the first treatment, work with your doctor to come up with the best way to take antiviral therapies. There are two options:
- Intermittent treatment. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug for you to keep on hand in case you have another flare-up this is called intermittent therapy. You can take the pills for two to five days as soon as you notice sores or when you feel an outbreak coming on. Sores will heal and disappear on their own, but taking the drugs can make the symptoms less severe and make them go away faster.
- Suppressive treatment. If you have outbreaks often, you may want to consider taking an antiviral drug every day. Doctors call this suppressive therapy. For someone who has more than six outbreaks a year, suppressive therapy can reduce the number of outbreaks by 70% to 80%. Many people who take the antiviral drugs daily have no outbreaks at all.
There is no set number of outbreaks per year that doctors use to decide when someone should start suppressive therapy. Rather, more important factors are how often the outbreaks happen and if they are severe enough to interfere with your life.
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Is There A Cure For Herpes
There is no cure for herpes, but outbreaks can be controlled with antiviral therapy, as well as avoiding common herpes triggers.
Herpes is most contagious during outbreaks, reminds Winchester Hospital, so you should abstain from sex when symptoms are present. Keep in mind that the virus can also be transmitted when symptoms are not present. Some people contract herpes from partners whose symptoms are mild or completely absent, so they do not know that they are infected. Others become infected from people who do not tell them of their condition.
While not curable, herpes is treatable, and some patients report periods of remission that last for months and even years. Talk to your doctor about the best way to control herpes outbreaks.
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Worried About Herpes Act Quickly For Faster Relief
From cold sores to genital herpes, acting quickly helps you treat and control a herpes outbreak in the shortest amount of time. For this reason, most doctors recommend using valacyclovir in the first 24-72 hours after noticing a cold sore or other herpes blister developing.
If youve noticed a cold sore or any of the other symptoms of a herpes outbreak, its best to talk to your doctor about treatment and relief options as soon as possible.
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Herpes Causes And Risk Factors
Causes of herpes include acquiring the virus through sexual contact, coupled with immune system suppression and sometimes nutritional deficiencies.
HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact. On the other hand, HSV-2 is considered a sexually transmitted disease and usually passed during oral or vaginal sex.
A scary finding is that more cases of genital herpes than ever before are now being caused by HSV-1 , and about 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont even know it. Studies show that about 50 percent of the new genital herpes infections in young adults are due to HSV-1 and about 40 percent in older adults. The fact that most people dont ever find out theyre infected is one of the reasons that transmission rates are steadily climbing.
Risk factors for acquiring herpes include:
- Kissing someone who has symptoms of an active herpes virus
- Engaging in any form of unprotected sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Spreading the virus through contact with cold sores on the eyes, secretions on the fingers, or ulcers/sores on buttocks and upper thighs
- Having certain other illnesses that lower immune function, such as HIV/AIDS, an autoimmune disorder or hepatitis
- Eating a poor diet that causes nutrient deficiencies and lowered immunity
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking high amounts of alcohol or abusing drugs