Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
Acyclovir was the first antiviral agent to be used in the treatment of genital herpes, and as such, is the most extensively studied of the antiviral agents currently available. This drug is available in topical, oral, and intravenous forms . In the distant past, topical acyclovir was used to treat recurrent genital herpes, but its ineffectiveness has been known for quite some time. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study found that after application of topical acyclovir 6 times daily for 5 days, only the duration of virus shedding from lesions was reduced compared to placebo. Differences between time to lesion crusting, lesion healing, new lesion formation, and cessation of pain were non-significant .
Intravenous acyclovir remains the most effective form of treatment for a primary genital herpes infection, leading to significant reduction in time to cessation of viral shedding and pain. Time to lesion healing is also 6 days faster than with placebo alone . However, as IV administration of acyclovir requires hospitalization, this route is reserved for patients with life-threatening disease or systemic complications .
Are Fever Blisters Contagious
Fever blisters are highly contagious and can be spread easily. The HSV-1 virus is most contagious when you are showing symptoms of a cold sore from first experiencing the tingling, itching or burning sensation that suggests a fever blister is coming right through the period when the blister is visible and hasnt completely healed.iii
To avoid passing the virus to others, you should stick to a strict hygiene regime and avoid kissing and sharing objects such as eating utensils and cosmeticsiv. And, if you do feel the tingle, make sure you have a tube of Abreva® Cream with you, so you can slow the virus and possibly prevent a full fever blister or cold sore from developing.
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Caring For Shingles Rash
As the pustules scab over its important to try to leave the scabs intact as this can cause: bacterial infection to occur, the herpes simplex virus to spread and can also cause the area affected to scar more. This can be difficult to maintain but try to avoid knocking or scratching the scabs as they heal. The rash can take up to four weeks to heal .
Most people will not be left with scarring from the shingles infection, but if you are left with some scars then the marks are usually an angry red or purple colour at first, but this will gradually fade over a number of weeks and months . Usually these marks have faded completely a year after the initial infection and there are some steps you can take to help the process along.
Tips to reduce likelihood of scarring
- Ensure good hygiene and no disruption to the skin surface as it heals
- Protect the area from sunlight, which can darken the pigmentation, by applying high SPF sun creams when exposed to sunlight
- Keep the skin well moisturised by using emollients, oils and creams containing ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and other natural products .
Unfortunately, however diligent you are in following these steps, some scars may still be left. If the scars are very unsightly you may wish to talk to your GP about whether further treatment could help and what options are available.
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Can You Get Rid Of Herpes For Good
It is not possible to be permanently cured of herpes. Once infected, an individual carries the sexually-transmitted infection for the duration of their life. While various treatments and remedies can effectively treat and slow the progression of HSV-1 and HSV-2, no cure has been discovered for the disease.
What Is Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is a virus that causes skin infections. The infection lasts your lifetime, and it causes painful or itchy sores and blisters that come and go. Herpes simplex virus typically doesnt cause severe problems. But it can be dangerous in infants and people with weakened immune systems. There are two types of herpes simplex:
- Herpes simplex 1 tends to affect your mouth or face. It causes cold sores. HSV-1 spreads through contact with saliva .
- Herpes simplex 2 is a sexually transmitted disease . It causes sores on skin that comes in contact with the genitals of an infected person.
Sometimes a herpes infection can affect other parts of your body, such as your eyes or other parts of your skin.
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Is There A Link Between Genital Herpes And Hiv
The HIV virus that causes AIDS is not the same as the genital herpes virus. However, having the ulcers and sores of herpes makes it more likely to contract HIV if exposed, or to transmit HIV if you have been infected. The ulcers of genital herpes cause breaks in the skin that make spreading the HIV virus to a sex partner more likely during sexual contact.
How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have herpes.
- Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that a condom can cover. Also, the skin can release the virus from areas that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.
If your sex partner has/have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting it if:
- Your partner takes an anti-herpes medicine every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her healthcare provider.
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If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs
No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.
What Are Mouth Ulcers
A mouth ulcer is the loss or erosion of part of the delicate tissue that lines the inside of the mouth .
There are many things that cause mouth ulcers. The most common cause is injury . Other causes include aphthous ulceration, certain medications, skin rashes in the mouth, viral, bacterial and fungal infections, chemicals and some medical conditions.
An ulcer that wont heal may be a sign of mouth cancer.
In most cases, mouth ulcers are harmless and resolve by themselves within 10 to 14 days without the need for treatment.
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Why And How Cold Sores Develop
Before we get into some strategies to reducing your risk of cold sore breakouts, lets discuss why and how cold sores develop.
Cold sores are an indication of the herpes simplex infection , which are common throughout society. The World Wellbeing Association stats that about two thirds
Oral herpes spreads essentially through direct contact, for instance through kissing or coming into direct contact with someone who is shedding the virus. It can be transferred to a new host through sharing lip salve, lipstick, cups, and utensils.
While HSV-1 is incredibly normal and exceptionally infectious, numerous individuals never experience any cold sores. By and large, about 20% to 40% of individuals that have HSV-1 will get cold sores.
As mentioned earlier, when we speak of cold sores, we are taking about when the virus, HSV-1 infection becomes active while laying dormant in the body.
Ordinarily, cold sore breakouts are set off by a particular occasion or condition, for example, stress or sickness. Probably the most widely recognized triggers for cold sore breakouts are:
- Illness, for example, viral contaminations or potentially fever
- Fatigue, depletion, or sleepiness
- Excessive degrees of stress or tension
- Damage to the lips, for example, a scratch, rash, or consume
- Hormonal changes or awkward nature, for example, those that happen during the monthly cycle
- Being out in the sun or wind
How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
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.
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Are There Any Home Remedies For Genital Herpes
Home remedies are often natural and quick ways to deal with ailments. Are there any home remedies for genital herpes, or is medication the only option? Find out here.
Contracting an STI like genital herpes can be embarrassing. You may feel uncomfortable going to your doctor or a sexual health clinic, but also need to know for sure that you have the virus, as well as what to do next. As Herpes is a virus, there is no known cure, but thankfully it can be treated. There are a number of home remedies that can reduce discomfort, but these are no substitute for a course of antiviral medicine that will stop the virus from multiplying. Here we are going to detail both so you can get the best possible treatment
A Little About the Condition
Physical symptoms include blisters and other marks which can appear around your genitals as well as around the mouth, as cold sores and herpes are actually caused by the same virus. Given the nature of this particular virus, anyone who engages in sexual activity with someone they know to have herpes should get tested immediately even if they show no signs or symptoms.
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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.
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What Tests Do Health Care Professionals Use To Diagnose Oral Herpes
Diagnosis of herpes is easily made based on the visual appearance of the lesions, and the best approach is to see a doctor at the first sign of a blister.
If there is concern that the rash may not be herpes, a swab of blister fluid may be collected for viral culture or polymerase chain reaction test. This is most useful in the first 48 hours before the blister has crusted over. If lesions resolve, then cultures are of no help, because there’s nothing left to culture. Culture results take a minimum of 3-5 days.
PCR testing detects herpes DNA, but it is not as readily available as culture and is a very expensive test to do for simple cold sores.
Blood tests for herpes antibodies are not usually needed, since finding antibodies to herpes just means that the body has been exposed to this virus at some point in the past. It does not determine if the current lesion is due to herpes. They can be done, though, if the diagnosis is unclear or there is a specific reason to know for certain.
Types Of Antiviral Drugs
There are three oral antivirals recommended for the treatment of oral or genital herpes:
|Famvir, 250 mg||Twice daily|
Preventing genital herpes recurrence is important as it reduces the risk of HIV. According to the CDC, having an active genital herpes infection increases the risk of HIV by 200% to 300%.
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Is Herpes Simplex Related To Herpes Zoster
Like HSV-1 and HSV-2, shingles can cause a painful, blistering rash. The shingles rash usually shows up on the back, side, abdomen , neck and face. It is often only on half of your body, following the pattern of your nerves. See your healthcare provider if you have a new rash and suspect you may have shingles.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Herpes simplex is a virus. Once you have herpes, its a lifelong condition. A herpes infection can lead to outbreaks , but youll also have times when you have no symptoms. The main sign of herpes is sores that appear on the infected skin. Some people choose not to treat herpes, especially if symptoms are mild. Others take antiviral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/17/2022.
Home Remedies And Lifestyle
At-home treatments for herpes are used to relieve pain. They do nothing to alter the course of the infection but can make you more comfortable as the herpes sores begin to heal.
There are several things you can do if have an outbreak of oral or genital herpes:
- Use a cold compress. Place a cloth-covered ice pack on the sores for 15 minutes several times daily to reduce pain. Keep the ice pack moving to prevent frostbite.
- Do not touch or scratch. Avoid touching and rubbing the sores. Doing so can spread the infection to other areas of the skin.
- Keep the sores clean. Herpes sores can become infected with bacteria if touched with soiled hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after going to the bathroom or before applying medications.
- Reduce stress. Stress can increase your sensitivity to pain during a herpes outbreak. You can reduce stress by performing gentle exercises or practicing mind-body therapies like meditation, yoga, and guided imagery.
To reduce the risk of spreading herpes, avoid kissing and sharing objects that come into contact with saliva, like drinking straws and eating utensils.
It’s important to note that oral herpes can be spread to the genitals, and that genital herpes can be spread to the mouth. To reduce the risk of infection, use condoms and dental dams during oral sex. Better yet, avoid sex altogether if you are having an active herpes outbreak .
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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
How To Get Rid Of Herpes Sores Fast
- Lifestyle changes: One of the best things you can do to help your herpes sores heal fast is to adopt a lifestyle that supports your immune system. This means getting the proper amount of sleep most nights and eating nourishing foods full of antioxidants.
- A dry and clean vagina: You may be hesitant to clean down there because you don’t want to make it worse. But when you gently wash with fragrance-free soap, you’ll be making sure that your sores and your genital area remain clean. Once you’re out of the shower or bath, dry completely before putting on fresh cotton underwear.
- Baking soda: Your sores are open and swollen, so finding a solution that helps dry them out will naturally lead to a quicker healing process. Put just a little baking soda in a bowl, then dip a wet Q-tip into it and apply it to the affected area.
- Medication: At wisp, we have suppressive and episodic medication for your herpes. We also carry options to manage the severity of your sore symptoms and Lidocaine pain and Acyclovir creams to promote a faster healing process with less pain. Also, it’s so important to take medication as prescribed to help your body heal fast. Even if your sores are going away quickly, keep taking your prescription for as long as you’re supposed to.
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