Monday, September 26, 2022

How To Prevent Herpes Flare Ups

How Do You Get Herpes

Why Herpes Flare Up

Oral herpes can be spread through saliva, kissing, and skin-to-skin contact. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes, if the genital areas are exposed to fever blisters or sores on the mouth or face, or through oral sex. Even though HSV-1 also never completely goes away, that strain of the virus causes fewer outbreaks over time in the genital areas than HSV-2.

Genital herpes can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and/or sexual intercourse of all types . Most people dont realize that sores from genital herpes can appear on the face as well as the genital area. Because the virus can spread any time contact occurs with a blister or sore, a condom doesnt always provide sufficient protection.

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How Does Genital Herpes Spread

Herpes can be spread when an infected person has lesions blisters and open sores on their body or when you do not have any symptoms. Taking antiviral medicine can help you reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to your sexual partners. You can also:

  • Inform your sexual partner that you have genital herpes.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Refrain from having sex when you have symptoms.
  • Abstain from performing oral sex if you have blisters or open sores around your mouth.

Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication

Resistance to drugs that treat genital herpes even after 20 years of use is very rare. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these drugs for a long time. Each individuals response to treatment may vary. In some cases, patients may need more drugs to suppress their viral outbreaks than others.

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Does A Cold Sore On My Mouth Mean I Have Genital Herpes

No, a cold sore on your mouth usually means you have herpes simplex virus type 1 . You can get HSV-1 by kissing someone or sharing utensils, towels, razors, or lipstick with someone who has HSV-1.

HSV-1 cannot turn into HSV-2 , but you can get a cold sore on your mouth from HSV-2 if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2. Cold sores caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2 are contagious. You can spread it to other people or other parts of your body if you touch an open sore and then touch another part of your body. That means if you have a cold sore and give oral sex to someone, that person will get the herpes virus on his or her genitals.

Avoid touching your cold sore as much as possible. If you touch your cold sore, wash your hands right away to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of your body or other people.

Testing For Genital Herpes

Herpes Treatment

If you think you may have genital herpes you should make an appointment with your GP or local sexual health services.

If there are symptoms present such as blisters, sores and ulcers, your doctor or nurse may be able to make a diagnosis straight away.

If you have visible blisters, your doctor or nurse may take a swab for testing, to check if this is herpes and what type. This swab can also test for another STI which causes blisters called syphilis.

The genital herpes swab tests are very reliable, though if the ulcer is too dry then it may be less likely to find a positive result.

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Editorial Sources And Fact

  • Cheng H-Y, Huang H-H, et al. The In Vitro Anti-Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 and Type-2 Activity of Long Dan Xie Gan Tan, a Prescription of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chemotherapy. March 2008.
  • Dai X, Stanilka JM, Rowe CA, et al. Consuming Lentinula Edodes Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. April 2015.
  • Meyers M. Lemon Balm: An Herb Society of America Guide. The Herb Society of America. 2007.
  • Schnitzler P, Schuhmacher A, et al. Melissa Officinalis Oil Affects Infectivity of Enveloped Herpesviruses. Phytomedicine. September 2008.
  • Umadevi M, Rajeswari R, et al. Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Withania Somnifera. The Pharma Innovation. November 2012.
  • Gaining A Better Understanding Of The Cold Sore Virus

    Researchers at the University of Virginia recently examined exactly how things like stress, illness and overexposure to the sun can trigger unwanted HSV-1 outbreaks.

    Herpes simplex recurrence has long been associated with stress, fever and sunburn, says researcher Dr. Anna R. Cliffe of UVAs Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology. This study sheds light on how all these triggers can lead to herpes simplex-associated disease.

    Once HSV-1 has entered the body, it lays dormant inside neurons until something triggers its reactivation. Cold sores, or fever blisters, are one of the most common signs of HSV reactivation. It can also be reactivated in the eye in a condition called herpes keratitis, which if left untreated can lead to blindness. And in rare cases, HSV-1 reactivation can cause encephalitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain.

    While its been known that recurrences of HSV-1 can be set off by stress, illness or sunburn, whats not been clearly understood is exactly what causes the virus to reactivate. Cliffe and her team discovered that when neurons containing HSV-1 were exposed to stimuli that cause neuronal hyperexcitation, the virus senses this change and takes the opportunity to reactivate.

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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.

    Genital Herpes And Pregnancy

    Space Is Bad For Herpes Flare-Ups

    It is important to avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. A first episode during pregnancy can create a greater risk of transmission to a newborn.

    Fortunately, it is rare for women with genital herpes to infect their babies. If you know that 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, a C-section may be recommended. Depending on individual diagnosis, though, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses suppressive therapy to reduce the frequency of C-section.

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    How To Treat A Herpes Flare

    If you have herpes, you may experience a flare-up from time to time. There are sometimes periods of outbreaks, followed by periods of remission. Although it is more likely to spread the virus if you have sex during an outbreak, you can still spread it when youre in remission.

    If you have a herpes flare-up, you may experience the following:

    • Small blisters around your genitals, rectum, or mouth
    • With your first outbreak, the symptoms may last for 2-4 weeks
    • The small blisters break and leave painful ulcers
    • Recurring outbreaks may be shorter
    • You may have lesions outside of your genital area, including your buttocks, thighs, finger, or eye

    If you have symptoms of a herpes flare-up, its important to call the office right away. Dr. Patterson can prescribe an antiviral medication.

    The antiviral medication should be a mainstay of managing your herpes outbreaks, especially if they occur regularly. Antiviral medications can suppress herpes outbreaks and prevent future outbreaks, as well as decreasing the likelihood that you can transmit it to your partners.

    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.11 In addition, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.11

    There is currently no commercially available vaccine that is protective against genital herpes infection. Candidate vaccines are in clinical trials.

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    What Causes Herpes To Flare Up

    Oral herpes is contagious to others who do not have it.

    The virus is spread from person to person by kissing, by close contact with herpes lesions, or from saliva even when sores are not present. Infected saliva is a common means of virus transmission. The contagious period is highest when people have active blisters or moist sores. Once the blisters have dried and crusted over , the risk of contagion is significantly lessened. HSV can also be spread through personal items that are contaminated with the virus, such as lipstick, utensils, and razors. Despite popular myth, catching herpes from surfaces, towels, or washcloths is a very low risk, since the virus does not usually survive long on dry surfaces.

    Prescriptions Used To Suppress Outbreaks

    Natural Cure for Herpes

    Suppressive therapy medications are available to prevent future herpes outbreaks and reduce the likelihood of giving herpes to your partners. For example, suppressive medication like aciclovir can be taken twice a day for six to 12 months to reduce herpes outbreaks.

    The choice to use suppressive therapy prescriptions must be discussed with your doctor. Every medication causes its own side effects and symptoms to consider.

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    Can You Get A Herpes Outbreak Right After Another How Do You Know If Youre Having A Second Herpes Outbreak

    People with symptomatic HSV-1 may experience several outbreaks per year. The herpes virus takes up permanent residence in the nerve roots and can never be totally eliminated. Some people will experience a second crop of lesions, bumps, and itchiness however, general feelings of being unwell are not usually present with recurring infections.

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    Treatment & Prevention Of Oral Herpes

    There is no cure for herpes, but most people who have oral herpes rarely experience severe problems from it. When you do have an outbreak, you can ease symptoms at home with these remedies:

    • Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling.
    • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to ease pain and inflammation.
    • Avoid irritants like sugary, acidic, or spicy food and drink.
    • Avoid smoking, and consider avoiding alcohol.
    • Avoid irritating commercial mouthwashes that contain alcohol, and replace them with a saltwater rinse.
    • Keep the area moisturized. Consider using a topical over-the-counter lip ointment to ease itching and burning.

    Rarely, symptoms can last for a long time, get worse, or spread. If symptoms do not go away after two weeks, the pain becomes severe, or the outbreak spreads to your eyes, you should contact a doctor immediately for help.

    Doctors typically do not prescribe antiviral medication for oral herpes, but if you have frequent, severe, or very painful outbreaks, you may receive a prescription for oral medication to suppress the virus. If you have frequent outbreaks on your lips or the skin around your lips, you may receive a topical ointment to ease symptoms and reduce the outbreak. However, the ointments do not help outbreaks inside the mouth.

    Oral herpes is a very common virus that rarely causes serious problems. If you experience the occasional outbreak, take care of yourself and prioritize your oral health.

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    Herpes And Newborn Infants

    Herpes infection in a newborn can cause a range of symptoms, including skin rash, fevers, mouth sores, and eye infections. If left untreated, neonatal herpes is a very serious and even life-threatening condition. Neonatal herpes can spread to the brain and central nervous system, causing encephalitis and meningitis. It also can lead to intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and death. Herpes can also spread to internal organs, such as the liver and lungs.

    Infants infected with herpes are treated with acyclovir, an antiviral drug. They usually receive several weeks of intravenous acyclovir treatment, often followed by several months of oral acyclovir. It is important to treat babies quickly, before the infection spreads to the brain and other organs.

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    Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes

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    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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    Prevent The Spread Of Herpes

    If you have herpes, . Talk about what it is and what you and your partner need to know and do to protect themselves. Avoid skin-to-skin contact during outbreaks and refrain from all sexual activity during these times. In between outbreaks, you should still because there is still the potential of spreading the virus.

    This is an update of an article originally written by HealthCentral contributor Penelope James.

    What Causes Or Triggers A Recurrence

    You may not always be able to tell when youre having a herpes outbreak. However, some common early warning signs that signal an impending attack, can include tingling, itching, and pain. This can happen 1 or 2 days before blisters start to show.

    If you have HSV-2, you might have four or five outbreaks a year. How often outbreaks occur varies a lot from person to person. Outbreaks may also decrease over time.

    People with HSV-1 tend to have fewer outbreaks.

    In time, some people can pinpoint things that trigger an outbreak, such as:

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    Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin

    The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.

    During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.

    Can Genital Herpes Cause Other Problems

    Basic tips of How to prevent cold sores

    For most women, genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems.

    Women with HIV can have severe herpes outbreaks that are long-lasting. Herpes also may play a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes sores can make it easier for HIV to get into your body. Also, herpes can make people who are HIV-positive more likely to spread the infection to someone else.

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    How Often Do Outbreaks Occur

    The number of outbreaks someone has varies from person to person. The average number of outbreaks for a person with genital HSV-2 is four to five per year. The average for genital HSV-1 is less than one outbreak per year.

    Usually, there are more outbreaks during the first year, and many people find that outbreaks become less severe and less frequent with time.

    Herpes triggers are highly individual, but with time, many people learn to recognize, and sometimes avoid, factors that seem to reactivate HSV in their own bodies. Illness, poor diet, emotional or physical stress, friction in the genital area, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light , surgical trauma, and steroidal medication may trigger a herpes outbreak.

    The frequency of outbreaks can often be managed through effective stress management, and getting adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. For people with frequent outbreaks, suppressive therapy with any one of the antiviral treatments can reduce outbreaks by as much as 80%.

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    Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections

    A sexually transmitted infection is an infection thats spread through sexual contact. This includes skin-to-skin contact.

    In general, STIs are preventable. Almost 20 million new STI cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the .

    Being mindful of sexual health and protection may help many avoid these infections.

    The only guaranteed method to prevent STIs is to abstain from all sexual contact. However, when engaging in sexual activity, there are steps to limit the risk of STIs.

    Effective STI prevention begins before any sexual activity. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your STI risk:

    • Talk honestly with potential partners about both of your sexual histories.
    • Get tested, along with your partner, before having sex.
    • Avoid sexual contact when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    • Get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus , hepatitis A, and hepatitis B .
    • Consider pre-exposure prophylaxis , a medication that someone who is HIV negative can take to reduce their risk of contracting HIV.
    • Use barrier methods every time you engage in sexual activity.

    Having a conversation about sexual health with your partner is key, but not everyone with an STI knows they have one. Thats why its so important to get tested.

    If you or your partner has an STI diagnosis, talk about it. That way you can both make informed decisions.

    Using barrier methods can lower your risk of contracting STIs. These methods can include:

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    Prevention Of Genital Herpes

    The best protection against STIs is to always use barrier protection such as condoms, female condoms and dams . Because herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact, condoms will reduce the risk of transmission, but it will not protect sexual partners completely as condoms do not cover the entire genitals.

    Using lubricant with a condom during sex will also reduce the risk of trauma to the genital skin. This has been shown to reduce HSV transmission, especially in the first six months of a sexual relationship. Silicone-based lubricants are recommended.

    Remember that herpes transmission can occur when symptoms are present , but may also occur even if there are no genital symptoms through asymptomatic viral shedding.

    For people who have frequent episodes of genital herpes, antiviral medication, taken daily, helps to reduce transmission of herpes to a sexual partner.

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