Monday, September 19, 2022

How To Prevent Herpes Infection

What Is Herpes Simplex Virus

How to Prevent Outbreaks of Herpes

HSV is a virus that can cause painful ulcers in your mouth or on your genitals. There are two main herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 infections most commonly affect your mouth, but they may also result in sores on your genitals. HSV-2, on the other hand, primarily affects your genitals. In the U.S., over 50% of adults have HSV-1, and 15% of sexually active people have HSV-2.

Once youve been infected with HSV, the virus stays in your body long term, causing sores or blisters to appear periodically . In rare cases, it can cause life-threatening infections like meningitis and encephalitis.

When you think of herpesviruses, HSV is likely what comes to mind. But both types of HSV are actually part of a larger family of herpesviruses, including:

What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes

Some people never develop symptoms. They dont know they have the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. They may unknowingly infect others. You can have the herpes virus for years and not have symptoms, so its hard to know when or from whom you got it.

When symptoms occur, theyre usually worse during the first outbreak or flare-up . Symptoms typically appear within two to 20 days after infection. Active symptoms may last up to four weeks.

You may experience:

If Someone With Herpes Has No Sores Can It Still Be Passed On

If someone has herpes but no sores, can it still be passed on to another person? Spence*

Yes. Even when no sores are present, the herpes is still active in the body and can spread to others.

If you or your partner has herpes, reduce the risk of spread by:

  • using a condom every time you have sex . The herpes virus can live outside of the area that a condom covers, though, so a condom may not always prevent the spread.
  • avoiding sex during outbreaks
  • making sure the infected person takes antiviral medicine every day as prescribed by the health care provider

The only way to completely prevent herpes and other STDs is to not have sex .

  • *Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Also Check: Should I Get Tested For Genital Herpes

Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic

You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.

Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.

Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.

They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.

Complications Of Genital Herpes

Preventing Herpes Infection

Complications of genital herpes are rather rare. However, some complications have been reported. In some cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body for example to the liver and the eyes, or even to the lining around the brain . This happens mostly in people with a weak immune system, who have had the virus for a very long time. In people with a weak immune system, herpes can increase the risk of bacterial infections, which can lead to further complications.

Another possible complication affects pregnant women. During childbirth, women can pass the virus to their newborn. Women at risk of STIs are often tested in the first weeks of pregnancy to prevent unexpected complications.

Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Oral Herpes

How Are Cold Sores Treated

Cold sores will usually start to heal on their own within a few days. But if they cause pain or make you feel embarrassed, they can be treated. Treatment may include skin creams, ointments, or sometimes pills. Starting treatment right away may get rid of the cold sores only 1 to 2 days faster, but it can also help ease painful blisters or other uncomfortable symptoms.

The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores can’t be cured. After you get infected, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. If you get cold sores often, treatment can reduce the number of cold sores you get and how severe they are.

What Are The Possible Complications Of Oral Herpes

“Autoinoculation” from touching a cold sore on the lip can cause herpes of the finger . Autoinoculation occurs most commonly at the time of primary infection, when viral shedding is high and the immune system is still gearing up to contain it. The antibodies that are made after primary infection are usually — but not always — successful in preventing autoinoculation during recurrent attacks.

A more serious complication is infection of the eye, or ocular herpes . It may be a mild surface ulceration with little discomfort, or it may cause deeper, painful ulcers that threaten vision. Ocular herpes is also caused by autoinoculation. If not treated, ocular herpes may lead to serious damage or even blindness.

Rarely, herpes simplex may infect the brain, causing encephalitis. This infection requires hospitalization and intravenous antiviral medications. HSV-1 is among the commonest causes of fatal viral encephalitis worldwide.

In immunocompromised people, such as those with HIV infection or those receiving chemotherapy, severe outbreaks of herpes may occur. Colds sores may spread to large parts of the lower face or invade organs. Antiviral drugs are used to prevent or lessen such attacks.

Read Also: How Do You Know You Have Herpes

How Are Genital Herpes Diagnosed

Other STIs, like syphilis, cause similar symptoms. In addition to a physical exam, your healthcare provider will take a fluid sample from the blisters to test for the herpes virus. If your blisters are healed or you dont have blisters, a blood test can check for HSV-2 antibody, a marker that shows you have been exposed to the virus.

How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally

Genital Herpes Sexual Transmitted Infections Treatment/Prevention

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

Related: How to Use Witch Hazel to Clear Up Your Skin Fast

Read Also: Will Genital Herpes Ever Be Cured

Don’t Have Sex With A Partner Who Has Sores On Their Genitals

If you know your partner has genital herpes, always abstain from sex when symptoms are present. Or, if you see a sore on someone’s genitals, don’t have sex with that person until you’re sure they don’t have genital herpes. Remember, not everyone with genital herpes has symptoms, and herpes sores can be very hard to spot.

What Are The Types Of Herpes Viruses

Herpes is a group of contagious viruses. All of these viruses cause blisters and sores. Some of the more common herpes viruses include:

  • Type 1: HSV-1, or oral herpes, causes cold sores to form on lips, gums, tongue and inside the mouth. It can cause genital herpes in some cases This type usually spreads through saliva when you kiss someone with open herpes sores. You can also get HSV-1 by sharing items like toothbrushes, lipsticks or eating utensils.
  • Type 2: HSV-2 causes genital herpes.
  • Herpes zoster: This virus causes chickenpox and shingles.

Read Also: How Can You Not Spread Herpes

Why Is Creating An Hsv Vaccine So Difficult

Herpesviruses can live in your body undetected, meaning your immune system does not react to them right away. The longer the virus goes undetected, the more difficult it is to make an effective vaccine.

When scientists make vaccines, they target the part of your immune system that recognizes an invader like a virus or bacteria has entered your body. The vaccine then teaches your body how to kill the invader before it makes you sick. If the immune system does not react to HSV right away, a vaccine cannot teach your body how to protect you.

HSV vaccine studies in animals have had good results. But when these vaccines were studied in humans, they did not work as well. Thats when pharmaceutical companies have to restart their research attempts.

Can Genital Herpes Cause Other Problems

Pin on Herpes Cure

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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Can Herpes Be Prevented Or Avoided

The best way to prevent getting herpes is to not have sex with anyone who has the virus. It can be spread even when the person who has it isnt showing any symptoms. If your partner has herpes, there is no way of knowing for sure that you wont get it.

There is no time that is completely safe to have sex and not spread herpes. If you have herpes, you must tell your sex partner. You should avoid having sex if you have any sores. Herpes can spread from one person to another very easily when sores are present.

You should use condoms every time you have sex. They can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. But its still possible to spread or get herpes if youre using a condom.

What Can I Do To Prevent Genital Herpes Infection

To try to reduce the chance of getting genital herpes, its important that you use condoms for any sexual contact including oral sex. You should also avoid any contact with infected blisters or ulcers that contain the virus. This should include not touching infected genitals with your hand.

You should avoid sharing sex-toys too, and wash your hands thoroughly if youve touched any blisters. The virus is most contagious when an outbreak is visible.

Also Check: How To Get Herpes 2

How To Get Rid Of Herpes The Conventional Way

For most people with herpes, the virus typically represents nothing more than an inconvenience however, the real risk is for immuno-compromised patients who cant easily manage infections. In these patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex infection is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

As of 2017, there is not currently a herpes vaccine available to prevent HSV-1 or HSV-2.

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help keep the herpes virus suppressed or to speed up healing of cold sores by reducing bacteria that can cause infections. Some medications that are now used to control herpes include:

  • Nucleoside analogues and antiviral medications
  • Creams/ointment to help lower pain and inflammation near the site of sores
  • Over-the-counter painkillers to reduce aches, tenderness or fever

However, its important to understand that even with early detection and prescription medications, either form of the herpes virus cannot be totally cured so transmission is always still possible. Medications for viruses dont always work long term and are not a cure-all.

How Is Genital Herpes Treated

HOW TO PREVENT HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS (HSV) In Asanti Twi

Herpes has no cure. But antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the time you take the medicine. Also, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can lower your chance of spreading the infection to your partner.

Your doctor will either give you antiviral medicine to take right after getting outbreak symptoms or to take regularly to try to stop outbreaks from happening. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.

During outbreaks, you can take the following steps to speed healing and prevent spreading herpes to other parts of your body or to other people:

  • Keep sores clean and dry.
  • Try not to touch the sores.
  • Wash your hands after any contact with the sores.
  • Avoid all sexual contact from the time you first notice symptoms until the sores have healed.

Also Check: What Are The Chances Of Spreading Herpes While On Medication

Genital Herpes And Pregnancy

Its really important to speak to a healthcare worker if you have herpes during pregnancy, especially if it’s your first outbreak. There’s a risk that your baby can develop neonatal herpes which can be very dangerous or even fatal for the baby. If you have herpes, your healthcare provider will be able to prescribe antiviral treatment to keep your baby safe and help you have a healthy pregnancy.

Speak to a healthcare worker for more information or if you have any concerns.

How Are Hsv Infections Currently Treated And Prevented

People with HSV infections can take prescription antiviral medications like or to help resolve blisters when they appear. And some people will take these medications daily to prevent outbreaks, too. Over-the-counter options, such as the topical cream , are also available for cold sores.

One thing to know is that most people dont even know that they have an infection because they arent experiencing symptoms but its still possible to spread it to others if youre symptom-free. As a general rule, youll want to use condoms to help lower the chance of transmitting the virus during sex, especially if you know that youre carrying the virus.

But unfortunately, these strategies only work partially. People with HSV may find that available medications do not work well for them, and condoms may not cover all areas where blisters appear. This has prompted research into whether a vaccine for these viruses is possible.

Recommended Reading: Can You Get Hiv From Herpes

Is There A Treatment For Genital Herpes

Several medicines can help. Acyclovir , famciclovir and valacyclovir can be used for genital herpes. Your doctor can prescribe one of these medicines for you. There are two ways to take the medicine: suppressive and episodic.

Suppressive treatment keeps herpes sores from coming back. You have to take one or more pills every day for a long time. This can be expensive. When you stop taking the pills, the sores might come back again. However, if you have many sores and they hurt a lot, ask your doctor about suppressive therapy.

With episodic treatment, you only take medicine when you start to get a sore. The medicine makes the sore hurt less and go away faster. This works best if you take the medicine within a few hours after the first signs that you are getting a sore. Episodic treatment doesn’t keep sores from coming back another time.

Take good care of yourself and eat a healthy diet, because the sores often come back when your resistance is weak.

What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Zoster

Prevention of Genital Herpes and Cold Sores

At first, people with shingles may have a burning, itching, numb, or tingling pain that can be severe, NINDS says. It usually happens on one side of the body. People develop shingles after they’ve had a previous chickenpox exposure. When the virus reactivates, it causes shingles.

After a few days, a rash of fluid-filled blisters will appear in one area on one side of the body, NINDS explains. Shingles most commonly shows up in a band called a dermatome that goes from one side of your midsection around your waistline.

The pain from shingles can varysome people mostly itch Others can have pain from a gentle touch.

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Also Check: Do Std Tests Test For Herpes

What Should I Do If I Have Genital Herpes

If you have genital herpes:

  • See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
  • Take all of the medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antiviral medicine.
  • Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
  • Avoid any sexual contact while you are being treated for genital herpes or while you have an outbreak.
  • Remember that genital herpes is a lifelong disease. Even though you may not have a genital herpes outbreak for long periods of time, you can still pass the virus to another person at any time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to prevent passing the virus to another person.

Is Valacyclovir Better Than Other Antiviral Medications

There are two other antiviral medications: Zovirax and Famvir. All three of them are equally effective in treating genital herpes. Zovirax particularly treats initial and repeating outbreaks. However, Valacyclovir is more effective in reducing viral shedding when patients take it daily. Amongst the three medications, Valacyclovir is the only approved for reducing transmission of herpes.

Read Also: Will We Ever Cure Herpes

How To Prevent Herpes Transmission

Many doctors get this question about stopping the spread of genital herpes from a partner to another. However, there is a concept of asymptomatic shedding of HSV. Many people dont know about this shedding. It means that you can even contract the virus even if your partner doesnt have sores on their genitals. Fortunately, you can take some action to prevent transmission. Following are several important pieces of information that can help you reduce the risk of transmitting HSV.

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