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
Long Term Viewpoint Of Herpes Simplex
Unfortunately, people infected with herpes on the buttocks will have this virus for their entire lives. Even if the virus doesn`t show any signs, it will continue to live in the nerve cells of the infection individual.
Some persons might have regular breakouts. Other ones will just have one single outburst after they`ve been contaminated and then the actual infection might become asleep. However, even if this virus is asleep, particular stimuli might lead to an outburst. These may include:
- Sunburn or exposure to the sun.
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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How Does Genital Herpes Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby
Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes.5,16 Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes.11 Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, or babies may be infected shortly after birth, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. 17 Infants born to women who acquire genital herpes close to the time of delivery and are shedding virus at delivery are at a much higher risk for developing neonatal herpes, compared with women who have recurrent genital herpes . 16,18-20 Thus, it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. Women should be counseled to abstain from intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or suspected of having genital herpes. 5,11
What Is Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.
Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.
The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
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After The Initial Outbreak
Herpes outbreaks can keep coming back rather unexpectedly. This is because the herpes virus takes up permanent residence in nerve roots, and can never truly be eliminated .
Genital herpes outbreaks that occur after the primary infection are called recurrent infections . These can include the same symptoms from the primary infection, but are usually less severe, or can be asymptomatic, so that a person doesnât even know that they are having a recurrent infection .
Fever and general feelings of being unwell are not usually present with recurrent infections . The number of recurrent outbreaks decreases over time .
During recurrent infections, something called viral shedding occurs, meaning that a person is contagious and can pass on herpes virus to another partner .
This means that even if you canât see any herpes lesions on you or your partnerâs genitalia, you are not safe during these times. The best way to avoid transmitting herpes if you know you have it is to always use a condom or another barrier method.
Most people who have recurrent infections have less severe lesions for a shorter period of time, compared to the primary infection . Some people may even be able to âfeelâ when a recurrent herpes outbreak will occurâthis is called a prodromeânoticing symptoms like tingling, itching, or leg pain anywhere from 30 minutes to five days before the skin symptoms start .
Natural Supplement For Herpes
Herdox’s potent formula works to enhance immunological functioning helping to reduce HSV’s most troublesome symptoms and reducing the number of outbreaks you have. Herdox is your natural means for effective and long-term HSV suppression.
The formula allows you to manage your condition in the privacy and security of your own home. Progressive Health has taken years of clinical research and developed the most effective, multi-faceted HSV supplement to date. Based on the anti-herpes nutrient L-lysine, Herdox’s ingredients provide for significant improvements in immunological functioning.
A few ingredients in Herdox are:
Other remedies and drugs available for herpes:
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Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.
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Herpes Simplex Virus: The Basics First
Before jumping into the details, lets first discuss some basics.
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Herpes infection is due to a virus called the Herpes Simplex Virus . Its two types are HSV1 and HSV2. While HSV2 is more notorious for genital herpes outbreaks, and HSV1 is commonly known for cold sores of the mouth, both can cause the sexually transmitted infection.
HSV2 is also known for more severe symptoms and outbreaks, as well as a greater number of them. Where a person might get four to five outbreaks of genital herpes with HSV2, that number could be one to two outbreaks per year with genital herpes from HSV1.
Not to worry many people have fewer outbreaks as time goes on, or even stop having them entirely.
Keep in mind, however, that this is highly personal. Different people can expect different outcomes, but everyone can take steps to manage them.
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How Can I Treat Herpes At Home
Certain dietary supplementsâlike lysine, vitamin C, zinc, and probioticsâcan help support your immune system and prevent or shorten outbreaks. Once an outbreak has begun, applying cold compresses, licorice root extract, lemon balm oil, manuka honey, or garlic can reduce its severity and provide symptom relief.
Can Cold Sores Be Prevented
There are steps you can take to prevent spreading cold sores to others if you have them:
- Avoid any direct physical contact with other people, particularly kissing or intimate sexual activities such as oral sex.
- Always wash your hands if you touch the affected area.
- Try not to share things like cups, cutlery, towels, toothbrushes, razors, flannels and cold sore creams with anyone else.
- Try not to pick at a cold sore as this can lead to further infection and/or scarring.
There are also ways to prevent spreading cold sores from erupting again:
- Try to avoid your triggers. Triggers are different for different people but can include things like a cold , sunlight, very windy conditions, emotional or physical stress and hormonal changes.
- Take care of your general health avoid getting run down and overly stressed.
Avoid Withdrawing From Your Partner
A sudden outbreak can be disappointing, especially if you were looking forward to an intimate evening.
But its important to remember that your worth isnt tied to your diagnosis. Youre still the same person, outbreak or not.
If you dont truly believe this, your words might reflect your self-judgment, and you might end up pulling away or conveying the message you do have something to feel embarrassed about .
Instead of saying something like:
- We cant have sex tonight I understand if you dont want to come over after all.
Try something like:
- Tonights a no-go for sex, so lets cuddle up with a horror movie.
The second validates the reality that you still have a lot to offer in the way of companionship. And dont forget, a hot makeout session can be pretty sexy. Think of the tension youll build up!
Sex is an important component in many romantic relationships, but it shouldnt be the only thing keeping your relationship going.
To help your relationship thrive, practice connecting with your partner in other ways.
You might try:
- sharing goals for the future
- simply existing in the same space
Experts agree this simply isnt true. The virus doesnt live long once outside the body, so the risk of transmission is very low in these scenarios.
Soap and water kills the virus, so if you touch sores to apply medication, all you have to do is wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
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Talk To Your Doctor Before Using Herbal Methods Or Supplements
There are a few herbal methods and supplements that have shown some success in treating herpes outbreaks. For example, some studies have shown the amino acid lysine is helpful for some people with herpes, according to ASHA, but other studies have not been able to produce the same results. Also, some herbal treatments and supplements can have side effects or interfere with other medications. Talk with your doctor about whether these methods might work for you.
Treatment For Genital Herpes
There is no medication to cure your body of the herpes virus. Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms, reducing the frequency of recurrences and reducing transmission.
Symptoms can be improved by:
- ice packs to the affected area
- pain-relieving medication such as paracetamol
- antiviral medication such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. These can reduce the severity of an episode if taken early enough . Topical antivirals usually used for cold sores on the lips or face are not suitable for use on the genitals.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is the best treatment for me?
- Are there any side effects to my treatment?
- Is it safe to have unprotected sex if I dont have any sores?
- Can I give myself genital herpes if I also have oral herpes?
- Can I give someone else herpes even if Im not having an outbreak?
- What is the best way to prevent herpes outbreaks?
- Can I live a normal life with herpes?
- Am I at risk of developing any other diseases?
- Are there any support groups in my area?
- If I give my baby herpes, what is the treatment?
How To Treat A Cold Sore
Treating a cold sore requires patience. It will heal over time, but while you’re waiting for that to happen, it’s important to ensure the virus doesn’t continue to spread. So here are some tips for coping with a cold sore:
- Avoid touching your cold sore. Remember that the virus that causes cold sores is contagious. So touching your sore can spread the virus to other people or other areas of your own body, including the eyes.
- Don’t pop the blisters. Doing so won’t help the sore heal any faster and can actually make the breakout worse.
- Try an over-the-counter cold sore treatment. Most cold sores will heal on their own. Unfortunately, this typically takes 10 days to two weeks. OTC treatments like Abreva can help shorten this healing time.
- See your healthcare provider for prescription medication. If you’re prone to cold sore breakouts, your healthcare provider can prescribe antiviral medications. These need to be taken at the very start of a breakout and can drastically reduce the severity and healing time.
- Use lip balms and salves, if needed.For cold sores that are crusted over and dry, applying a balm will keep the sore moist. Moisture can help prevent painful splitting. Apply balms and salves with a cotton swab rather than with your finger to avoid contamination.
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What Can I Do To Stop A Herpesoutbreak From Getting Worse
Unfortunately,once youve contracted herpes, it will have the virus for life. Therefore, youmay never be able to get rid of herpes forever. However, there are preventativemeasures you can take. These can help speed healing and reduce the number ofyour outbreaks. They can also help to relieve the severity of your symptoms.Keep these tips in mind:
How To Treat Herpes Scars
If you do end up with scarring from herpes sores, you may be able to reduce their appearance with home treatments. Keep in mind that many scars fade gradually on their own, even without treatment.
Be aware that evidence for the effectiveness of these treatments is mostly anecdotal. Theres little clinical evidence to support these claims.
Home treatments for herpes scars include:
- Vitamin E. You can purchase vitamin E in gel caps in the vitamin section of your drug store or online. Pierce the capsule with a needle and squeeze out the liquid. Rub the liquid on the scar, massaging gently for three to five minutes. Repeat this daily as long as you see results.
- Coconut oil. Some claim that coconut oil can help to reduce scarring over time, though research is mixed. To use coconut oil on your herpes scar, heat the oil in the microwave, making sure its not too hot. Gently massage the oil into the scar and the area directly around it. Repeat one to two times per day until youre satisfied with the change.
- Aloe vera. This cooling product may be commonly associated with burns, but it may also help ease scarring. Apply the gel directly to the scars. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water and soap.
These home remedies for scarring usually wont get rid of a scar completely.
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How Long Does It Take For Hsv2 To Show Up
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Worried you may have been exposed to herpes? Herpes is an extremely common virus, with the HSV-1 and HSV-2 types of herpes affecting more than 50% and around 11% of the total worlds population respectively, according to data from the World Health Organization.
Most cases of herpes as asymptomatic, meaning people that are infected with the virus may not develop the cold sores or genital sores that most people associate with a herpes infection.
If you think you might have been exposed to herpes through kissing or sexual contact, its totally normal to feel concerned. Herpes spreads easily, and as its often impossible to tell if someone has an infection without testing, many people fret about possible infection after sexual activity.
If you have HSV-1 or HSV-2, youll normally experience one of two possible outcomes after you become infected:
A first herpes outbreak . This usually happens one to two weeks after youre exposed to the virus and can involve headache, fever and the development of herpes blisters on your lips and/or genitals.
Nothing. Many people infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 have no symptoms at all, meaning you might not notice anything after being infected.
Below, well explain more about the first herpes outbreak you might experience after exposure to the virus, including the typical timescale for an initial outbreak occurring. Well also cover the most effective testing methods that you can use to verify whether or not you have herpes.