Antiviral Creams And Tablets
Antiviral creams such as aciclovir or penciclovir may speed up the healing time of a recurrent cold sore infection if used correctly.
Cold sore creams are widely available over the counter from pharmacies without a prescription.
TheyÃ¢re only effective if you apply them as soon as the first signs of a cold sore appear, when the herpes simplex virus is spreading and replicating. Using an antiviral cream after this initial period is unlikely to have much effect.
If you have frequently recurring bouts of cold sores, use antiviral medication as soon as you feel the tingling sensation that indicates a cold sore is about to develop. YouÃ¢ll need to apply the cream up to five times a day for four to five days.
Antiviral creams can only help to heal a current outbreak of cold sores. They donÃ¢t get rid of the herpes simplex virus or prevent future outbreaks of cold sores occurring.
Antiviral tablets are generally more effective than creams at treating cold sores, but are usually only prescribed for more severe cases.
I Had Lesions When I Was Evaluated But My Culture Was Negative Does This Mean That I Dont Have Herpes
Not necessarily. Although lesions can be caused by something other than herpes, false negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken appropriately, if there is a long transport time between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions. Lesions that occur early in the course of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust over.
Dos And Donts For Faster Cold Sore Healing
Speeding up the cold sore healing process through medication like valacyclovir is only one side of the equation. The other, which is equally important, is making sure you dont slow accidentally down the healing process by making common cold sore mistakes:
Dont try to pop a cold sore as if it were a pimple. This just damages your skin and gives the virus fluid a chance to spread throughout your lips and mouth, increasing the risk of other cold sores developing.
The best approach is to leave your cold sore alone and let it heal, or use a cold sore patch from your local pharmacy to cover it up without breaking it open.
Dont touch a cold sore . The fluid from cold sores may spread to other parts of your body, making it possible to spread cold sores to your genitals or fingers through contact.
Dont have oral sex if you have a cold sore. Having oral sex with an open cold sore significantly increases your risk of transmitting genital herpes to your partner, making it best to avoid oral sex until the cold sore is healed.
Dont aggressively wash the cold sore with soap or facial wash. Oral herpes isnt caused by dirty skin or lips, meaning most soaps wont be effective.
Dont use more than the recommended dose of valacyclovir. A higher dose doesnt necessarily mean faster healing. Follow the dosage provided by your doctor for reliable, safe cold sore recovery.
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At What Stage Is Herpes Contagious
Its important to note that herpes is contagious in every stage but is most contagious during the ulcer stage when the blisters have burst open, and fluid is present. Since herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, it is crucial to take preventative measures to stop the spread, including using condoms and dental dams. However, its always advisable to refrain from sexual activity, touching, and kissing when experiencing a herpes outbreak. Wait until you have fully healed before having sexual intercourse, and refrain from touching your sores, since this is an easy way to spread the virus.
An effective way to prevent a herpes outbreak and the spread of herpes is by taking prescription medication from a doctor. Some common medications prescribed for herpes treatment include:
These are all taken in pill form, while severe cases may need to be treated with an acyclovir IV.
Whether oral or genital, you can start treatment during any of the various herpes outbreak stages from onset to healing to prevent another flare-up.
Are you experiencing any signs or symptoms of a herpes outbreak? Book an appointment through the Air Dr app with one of our qualified physicians to get the medical care you need today.
What Are The Possible Complications Of Oral Herpes
âAutoinoculationâ 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 â but not always â 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.
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Prevent Genital Herpes Outbreaks Ease Pain And Inflammation And Speed Up Healing Time
By | Submitted On August 16, 2010
A person suffering from genital herpes can truly understand the meaning of discomfort and dreadfulness especially when they begin acquiring those unbelievably annoying outbreaks down there. This is why people with herpes will try every means – natural treatments or prescription medication – just to alleviate the awful feeling brought about by the virus. The trick in managing the genital herpes outbreaks is not to wait for the virus to attack before you begin doing something. You have to make a conscious effort to prevent the virus from attacking so you won’t have to deal with it when it gets worse and too uncomfortable.
Here are some tips that can help prevent genital herpes outbreaks:
Apply some tea tree oil on the areas where the outbreaks usually occur. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial that can effectively combat the herpes virus. Spread a generous amount of oil on the desired area but make sure that you do not overdo it. Some people have allergic skin reactions to tea tree oil so go easy on your skin and test if your skin can accept the powerful antibacterial effect of tea tree oil.
Whenever you feel some tingling sensation down there, it simply means that an outbreak is soon to occur. Immediately apply ice on the area where the rash caused by the herpes virus might occur. The cold ice may be a bit uncomfortable on those sensitive parts but bear it a little. It will help soothe those irritating rash.
Home Remedies For Herpes: Reducing Outbreaks
A number of at home remedies exist to prevent the likelihood of a herpes outbreak. Outbreaks can be caused by a number of environmental and physiological factors such as:
- Physical or emotional stress
To help reduce the transfer of HSV: minimize the chance of an outbreak by getting good rest, reducing stress, eating healthy foods to help your immune system, and protect yourself from harsh weather .
Take any medicines as directed.
Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
Take warm or cool baths to relieve itching of sores. And dont share towels when you have a sore.
Urinate in a tub of warm water to prevent burning. This works for women with genital herpes.
Dont wear tight clothes or nylon underwear. They can trap moisture, cause chafing, and prevent sores from healing.
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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
What Are The Herpes Outbreak Stages
- Lauren Stuttaford
Herpes, otherwise known as the herpes simplex virus, is categorized into two types: herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 .
The first is mainly transmitted through oral-to-oral contact causing oral herpes but can also cause genital herpes. While HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital herpes. Both types of the infection are lifelong.
A person infected with herpes, whether oral or genital, might show no symptoms or could progress through the different herpes outbreak stages from blister development to herps healing. However, most herpes infections are asymptomatic.
According to the World Health Organization , an estimated 3.7 billion people under 50 years old have HSV-1 infection globally, and an estimated 491 million people between the ages of 15-49 have HSV-2 infection worldwide.
Astonishingly, the virus causing genital herpes or HSV-2 increases the risk of contracting and transmitting HIV, putting millions at greater risk of contracting an HIV infection.
Lets take a closer look at the herpes outbreak stages.
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Antiviral Tablets To Stop The Herpes Virus Multiplying
Antiviral medicines taken by mouth, such as valaciclovir or acyclovir, are the most effective in controlling symptoms, although they cant cure genital herpes. They stop the virus from multiplying in body cells where the virus is present. The medicine only works while you are taking it. The infection can come back when you stop taking it.
Antiviral tablets are used in the following two ways:
- To treat outbreaks as they happen : The aim is to shorten the time each outbreak lasts and to relieve symptoms. This works best when taken as soon as you get symptoms and before the blisters appear.
- To prevent or reduce recurrences : If you get frequent or severe recurrent outbreaks, your doctor may recommend you take antiviral tablets every day to help prevent recurrences. Suppressive therapy is taken continuously, every day, for months or years. Suppressive antiviral therapy may help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to sexual partners.
Antiviral creams bought over the counter from the pharmacy are not recommended as a treatment for a first episode or recurrent genital herpes as they are of little benefit. Antiviral tablets are the preferred treatment.
How Do I Test For Herpes
If you think you have symptoms of genital herpes or have been at risk of infection, you should speak to a healthcare professional.
There are different tests available. If you have symptoms, the most common test is to take a swab from a blister. The fluid can be tested for the herpes simplex virus. A herpes blood test exists but is not routinely available.
If you have genital herpes you should be tested for other STIs. Itâs important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have herpes do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on.
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Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer
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.
Also Check: Can You Get Rid Of Herpes Simplex 1
Antivirals That Require A Prescription
- –Acyclovir is a prescription medication used to improve the healing of sores or blisters caused by a number of conditions, including first-time and repeat outbreaks of genital herpes. It works by slowing or stopping the spread of the herpes virus within the body, but it cannot cure genital herpes.
- –Valacyclovir is another antiviral prescription drug used to treat genital herpes and shingles. Taken twice a day for five days, Valtrex may decrease uncomfortable symptoms and help sores heal faster. In some cases, this antiviral can also prevent new sores from forming.
How Long After Starting Acyclovir Are You Contagious
HSV is always contagious. Remember that acyclovir does not cure HSV-1 or HSV-2 and therefore the infection can be spread to other people via contact with the skin, genitals, lips or body fluids at all times.
However, carriers are much more contagious during times when they are having active breakouts . During those times, you must take extra precaution not to spread your viral infection to others. Avoid sexual intercourse, oral sex, kissing, sharing toothbrushes or cutlery with others for at least 3 days after your blisters have completely healed.
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Does Herpes Need To Be Treated
Treating herpes simplex symptoms may not be necessary. Herpes simplex infections clear up even if no treatment is given. But treating genital herpes can be helpful particularly if there are severe symptoms. Some people are affected more than others. See below for the rare occasions when it can be serious.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/01/2021.
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Do Natural Remedies Help
There are several options that can be tried to ease the pain. A73612 and Donnor52059 suggest dabbing cornstarch directly on the sores. I canât find any scientific studies that have researched this, but I canât see that it would do any harm.
A73612 also recommends squirting water from a bottle over the sores when you pee. This is a time-honoured method that will help to ease the pain.
Yolandayw mentioned taking a simple painkiller such as paracetamol during an outbreak. Feelbroken advised putting Vaseline on the sores. Lidocaine 5%, a local anaesthetic gel that numbs the area, is another option. Some people find it helpful to put on five minutes before passing urine. You need to get it on prescription and it doesnât suit everyone. Some people develop sensitivity to it which makes the symptoms worse.
Yolandayw also advised using ice as a home remedy. Simply wrap the ice in a tea towel and apply for 5-10 minutes. Never put ice directly on the skin as this can cause âice burnâ. Drinking plenty of water can also be helpful as it reduces the concentration of urine, making it less painful when you have to pee.
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