Other Ways To Reduce Genital Herpes
Following are several ways that can reduce herpes transmission.
- Using condoms is one of the best ways to reduce the transmission rate. According to a 2016 study, over 900 couples and the findings suggest that condoms drastically reduced the transmission rate. The transmission rate from men to women went down by 96% and by 65% vice versa. Therefore, using condoms correctly can help reduce transmission.
- If your partner has an active sore on their genitals, it is advisable to refrain from sexual contact. However, if you want to proceed, go ahead with a condom.
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How Are Initial Outbreaks Treated
Antiviral medications can help to control the symptoms and shorten the duration of initial herpes outbreaks by 2 to 4 days. The treatment of an initial outbreak should be started within the first three days the earlier, the better.
The medications are taken as tablets. The number of tablets per day depends on the active ingredient and the dose. The World Health Organization recommends the following doses and amounts for treating an initial outbreak:
- aciclovir: 200 mg five times per day or 400 mg three times per day,
- famciclovir: 250 mg three times per day, or
- valaciclovir: 500 mg two times per day.
The WHO recommends that the treatment last ten days.
These three medications are about as effective as each other. Aciclovir is the most commonly used because doctors and patients have the most experience with this medication.
Avoid Cold Sore Triggers
The first step in preventing outbreaks is by knowing what triggers the HSV to wake up and cause a cold sore . Here are some of the most common triggers:
Stress: Everyone already knows stress isn’t good for us. It wears down your immune system which can give the dormant HSV opportunity to wake up and attack. Stress is a reality of modern life but applying some relaxation techniques can help keep stress levels at minimum. Simple breathing exercises and even an app like insight timer can help.
Fatigue: Just like stress, being overly tired can impact your immune system, opening yourself up to an outbreak. Our modern lives can make getting the rest we need difficult but creating good night time routines can help make sure when you are resting it is quality rest time. Sticking too a strict bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and even short naps can help.
Too Much Sun: We all know UV rays from the sun can damage the skin but these same rays can also trigger a cold sore. Be sure to always use lip balm with SPF and protect your face with a hat or umbrella.
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How Long Do Herpes Symptoms Take To Show
On average, it takes about 4 days after exposure to start showing the symptoms of herpes. The herpes incubation period ranges between 2 and 12 days. The most common early sign of herpes is sores around the genitals or mouth.
The first time you get the herpes virus, it may cause flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, headache, and body aches. Then, subsequent outbreaks may cause sores and less severe symptoms. Generally, the frequency of outbreaks lessens over time.
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
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Herpes Symptoms And Signs
In order to diagnose herpes, a health care provider can swab an area of visibly active herpes infection or, if symptoms arent active, a blood test can be given that measures the number of herpes antibodies present in the body. The antibodies dont indicate herpes itself, but rather show the immune systems response to the presence of the virus in the body. Its important to note that sometimes a swab can give false negative results since herpes lesions need to be large enough to yield enough detectable virus and if the outbreak is already healing it also may not be detected in a swab.
The most common herpes symptoms include:
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.
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Is There Anything I Can Do To Relieve The Symptoms Myself
In some women, genital herpes blisters cause pain when urinating . Many of them find it soothing to pee while sitting in warm, shallow water . You can do this using special tubs that fit into toilet bowls. They are available at a reasonable price, for instance from pharmacies or on the internet. It’s best not to use soaps or bath additives because they can irritate the affected area even more. Other things you can do to avoid irritating it further include wearing loose-fitting clothes and underwear made out of fabrics that have a smooth surface.
Painkillers such as ibuprofen are an option if the blisters become very painful.
Topical antiviral treatments such as creams or ointments don’t provide any relief, but they can increase the risk of viral resistance. Experts advise against using topical treatments for genital herpes.
What Happens During Your Initial Herpes Outbreak
Your first herpes outbreak, known as the initial or primary infection, is usually the most severe. Some lucky people remain asymptomatic, but its common to experience intense flu-like symptoms within seven to 14 days of becoming infected with the herpes virus.
Symptoms of an initial outbreak often include:
- -Fever and chills
- -Difficult or painful urination
- -A tingling sensation in the affected areas
You can expect your initial herpes outbreak to last two to four weeks before it finally clears up. The good news, at least, is that future outbreaks are usually shorter and less painful than the first.
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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.
You Can Only Have One Type Of Herpes
It’s possible to have both strains of herpes. HSV-1 typically occurs on and around the lips, while HSV-2 most often affects the genitals, buttocks, groin, and inner thighs. However, up to 40% of genital herpes outbreaks are caused by HSV-1 and concurrent infections are common. In other words, having HSV-1 doesn’t decrease your chances of contracting HSV-2.
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What Is The Possibility That I Dont Have A Recurrence
Many people do not experience a re-occurrence until months and sometimes even years after their first primary outbreak. If a recurrence does happen it is sometimes related to a time when the immune system is weakened or under pressure, such as from an illness, stress, poor lifestyle, surgery, etc. To help reduce outbreaks it is a good idea to pay attention to your body and take some simple precautions that will help to boost your immune resistance.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex
You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.
If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:
- Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
- Touching the skin near their mouth.
If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:
- Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
- Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.
Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.
If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:
- Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.
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Treating Swollen Lips From Allergic Reactions
If you have swollen, red and itchy lips for no reason, it could be caused by allergies. Avoid contact with allergens e.g. some foods that cause the allergy, pet dander, latex, lip care products some medications, pollen grains, etc.
Secondly, reduce lip swelling from allergies, ensure you get an antihistamine such as benadryl to reduce the allergic reaction as well as apply cold compresses. For excessive swelling, you might be required to take oral corticosteroids for fast action.
If you suffer from an extreme allergic reaction, that will have other severe symptoms other than the lip swelling, see a doctor since some allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis allergy is life threatening and it can cause death.
More Questions From Patients:
Many people with genital herpes have no symptoms, or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed.
The first time genital herpes symptoms appear is called the first episode or initial herpes. Initial herpes symptoms are usually more noticeable than later outbreaks.
Symptoms of genital herpes in men may include
burning when you pee if you have sores
trouble peeing if you have sores covering your urethra
itching or pain around your genitals
During initial herpes, symptoms may also include
swollen, tender glands in the pelvic area, throat, or under the arms
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Why Do I Keep Getting Cold Sores
If youve ever patiently nursed a pesky cold sore back to health just to have it pop up again in a few weeks, you understand the pain of recurring cold sores. But why does this happen? Why can a person keep getting cold sores one after another? Below, well investigate the reason behind the phenomenon of recurring cold sores and give you some tips and tricks on how to avoid spreading the virus.
How To Prevent Lip Herpes Outbreak
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Ways To Manage Herpes Symptoms
While there is no cure for herpes, and no guaranteed method of preventing the recurrence of herpes outbreaks, the following treatments can help relieve pain and discomfort.
Practice good hygiene. Keep your body clean, wash your hands frequently and try to avoid touching the sores.
Take salt baths. This method can clean, dry and ease the pain of blisters and sores. Mix a few tablespoons of salt in a shallow bath.
Cool the affected area. Applying ice directly to the sores or drying the area with a blow dryer on the cool setting can offer some relief.
Wear loose-fitting clothing. Loose clothing reduces discomfort and promotes healing of the sores. Wear cotton, rather than synthetic underwear.
Wear sun block. Keeping your skin protected can help prevent the recurrence of HSV-1.
Urinate in a cool bath or shower. If you experience painful urination, this process dilutes the urine and prevents burning the sores.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water each day.
Practice abstinence when you are experiencing symptoms of herpes. Help prevent the spread of herpes by avoiding sexual activity when you are experiencing any symptoms, including tingling, itching or tenderness at the site of infection.
Take over-the-counter medicines. Reduce fever and tenderness by taking acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen.
Stay stress-free. Lowering stress can boost the immune system and possibly reduce your symptoms.
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What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
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Can I Be Treated To Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission To My Partner
Yes. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other partner is uninfected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in over 90% of cases. This is an option for couples who are interested in having unprotected sex or who are planning to become pregnant.
If you are entering into a new relationship and are aware that you have herpes simplex infection, you owe it to your partner to notify them before having sex.
What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, cesarean section may be recommended.
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Prevention And Management Of Genital Herpes
Cortney M. Mospan, PharmD, BCACPAssistant Professor of Pharmacy PracticeEast Tennessee State University
David Cluck, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVPAssistant Professor of Pharmacy PracticeEast Tennessee State University
US Pharm. 2016 41:30-33.
ABSTRACT: Genital herpes continues to be a relevant public-health concern because of its prevalence and its association with an increased risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted diseases. Genital herpes may present as vesicular lesions that can rupture and become painful however, more than 80% of individuals are asymptomatic, which makes it difficult to contain the spread of disease. The treatment of genital herpes serves to shorten symptom duration and improve quality of life, but it does not cure the disease. Strategies to prevent transmission include chronic suppressive therapy in serodiscordant couples, safe-sex practices, and avoidance of sexual intercourse during outbreaks. Currently available therapies are well tolerated and highly effective, and some newer therapeutic options are being investigated.