How Do I Treat Genital Herpes
For most people antiviral medicine is not necessary either because their body prevents recurrent symptoms or because they find that adopting a healthier life style makes a difference. See What can I do to prevent frequent recurrences?For people who are unlucky and get frequent recurrences, there are two ways that antiviral tablets can be used.
Treatment Vs Preventative Vaccines
The biggest difference between treatment and preventative vaccines is which groups of people they would benefit. Treatment vaccines are intended for people who have been infected with HSV, boosting the immune system to fight the virus. They would help improve symptoms, help blisters heal faster, and lower the risk of spreading the virus to other people.
The second type of vaccine a preventative vaccine is the most common type of vaccine we get as children and adults, helping to train our immune system against a germ before we encounter it. In other words, a preventative HSV vaccine would prevent you from being infected with HSV. The and the are examples of preventative herpes vaccines currently available, but they will not prevent HSV-1 and HSV-2.
How To Prevent Cold Sores
If you have frequent cold sore outbreaks, your provider may prescribe daily Zovirax or Valtrex to help prevent them.
Depending on what your cold sore triggers are, you might be able to prevent outbreaks without medication. For example, using sunscreen to make sure you don’t get too much sun exposure.
It’s also important to practice safe sex. Remember, a person with HSV-1 can still spread the virus even if they don’t have cold sores.
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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.
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Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
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Mederma Cold Sore Discreet Healing Patch
Mederma Cold Sore Discreet Healing Patches are small gel patches people can apply to their skin from the first signs of a cold sore. The patches contain molecules called hydrocolloids that create a protective barrier on the skin. This promotes healing by preventing scratches and contamination and limiting the cold sore to one area.
An older 2008 study found that cold sore patches containing hydrocolloid may be effective and safe alternatives to topical antivirals when treating herpes simplex lesions.
The company says the patches are thin, making them easy to wear discreetly. They also state that the patches remain in place for up to 12 hours.
However, the company warns that people should not use the patches on infected wounds other than cold sores. They also recommend that the following people consult their doctor before using the patches:
The product promises to:
- relieve burning and stinging pain
- reduce cold sore recurrence
Most buyers rate this product highly, saying it helped prevent and shorten outbreaks, including those on the lips and back.
Unfortunately, essential oils can be very irritating or sensitizing, especially on sensitive skin areas, such as the face. A few buyers also say that the smell of the product is overwhelming.
The product costs around $22 and each bottle contains 0.37 ounces .
How Can You Avoid Genital Herpes
Most women get genital herpes through sexual contactwith a person who has herpes sores. You can get thevirus without having sex. To avoid infection:
- Avoid skin-to-skin and sexual contact.
- Have safer sex:
- Reduce the number of sexual partners.
- Condoms, when used correctly, can reduce therisk of getting genital herpes. Each time you have sexuse a condom :
- Before vaginal sex
- Before oral sex
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Exact Answer: 2 To 20 Days
The tingling sensation can appear in the affected area anywhere between 12 to 24 hours and after that, the sores can appear in the area after two or twenty days. The duration of the outbreak depends upon the persons bodys ability to fight the infection and whether they are on an antiviral medication. Herpes can appear in the genital or oral area of the patient, and they appear to be clusters of itchy or painful blisters.
Any kind of Herpes is caused by a virus is called the Herpes Simplex Virus and irrespective of the area affected the virus goes through the same stages of tingling, blistering, weeping, crusting, and healing.
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
Genital herpes doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women with a diagnosis of herpes genitalis are recommended to start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent outbreaks during time of delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.
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Characteristics Of The Viruses That Cause Herpes
In this section I will talk about common characteristics to all the viruses that cause herpes , common characteristics to herpes simplex viruses and specific characteristics of the viruses of each type.
Common characteristics to the viruses of the subfamily alpha that cause herpes
- The cycle of growth is short and quick. Their hosts show symptoms of the illness a few days after being infected by virus.
- These viruses usually infect neurons and remain latent in our body during a lifetime producing recurrence of the illness in the same area of the initial infection.
- The recurrence usually happens in stress situations or when the immune system weakens.
- Each person can get infected with a virus of a single type, by viruses of two types or by viruses of the three types. It means, for example, that a person that has suffered from chickenpox can also suffer from genital herpes caused by HSV-2 and from labial herpes caused by HSV-1.
Characteristics of herpes simplex viruses
Besides the previous characteristics, common to all the viruses that cause herpes, herpes simplex viruses have the following common characteristics:
Parts of body infected by herpes simplex viruses.
Specific characteristics of the viruses that cause herpes
The varicella zoster virus is everywhere in the planet and it can affect us in any season of the year. Besides chickenpox and shingles, this virus can cause Reyess syndrome.
Facts And Statistics About Herpes
- According to the World Health Organization, an estimated two-thirds of the global population under 50 years old are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 .
- Estimates for HSV-1 prevalence in the U.S. among people aged 049 years are 178 million women and 142 million men .
- In total, about 75 percent or more of the American adult population has the HSV-1 virus that usually causes oral herpes , and about 20 percent to 30 percent have HSV-2 that usually causes genital herpes.
- Men and women are affected by HSV-1 about equally. Roughly 6 million women in the U.S. become infected with HSV-1 each year, along with 5 million men.
- Slightly more women than men are affected by genital herpes, whether from HSV-1 or HSV-2. Middle-aged women are most likely to acquire genital herpes.
- Transmission of HSV most often occurs without symptoms, so its estimated that 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont know it. Many dont have any symptoms at all after the initial infection, and only about 15 percent ever receive a HSV-2 infection diagnosis in their lifetimes.
- Most primary oral/facial HSV infections are caused by HSV-1 however, facial infection by HSV-2 is increasingly becoming common.
- Less children are becoming infected with HSV-1 than in the past in high-income countries, mostly due to better hygiene and living conditions.
- After someone comes into contact with an active herpes outbreak on another person, the incubation period takes about one week.
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Why Cold Sores Come Back
Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex.
Once you have the virus, it stays in your skin for the rest of your life. Sometimes it causes a cold sore.
Most people are exposed to the virus when they’re young after close skin to skin contact, such as kissing, with someone who has a cold sore.
It does not usually cause any symptoms until you’re older. You will not know if it’s in your skin unless you get a cold sore.
Page last reviewed: 20 July 2020 Next review due: 20 July 2023
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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Check If It’s A Cold Sore
A cold sore usually starts with a tingling, itching or burning feeling.
Over the next 48 hours:
Cold sores should start to heal within 10 days, but are contagious and may be irritating or painful while they heal.
Some people find that certain things trigger a cold sore, such as another illness, sunshine or menstrual periods.
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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Who Response To Herpes
As well as increasing awareness about HSV infection and its symptoms, improved access to antiviral medications and heightened HIV prevention efforts for those with genital HSV symptoms are needed globally.
In addition, development of better treatment and prevention interventions is needed, particularly HSV vaccines. WHO and partners are working to accelerate research to develop new strategies for prevention and control of genital and neonatal HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections. Such research includes the development of HSV vaccines and topical microbicides. Several candidate vaccines and microbicides are currently being studied.
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Herpes Treatment During Pregnancy
If you develop a herpes rash during your pregnancy, talk with your obstetrician right away. Its possible that the virus can affect an unborn baby. It may also be transferred to the newborn during childbirth. See your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms, to have a physical exam and discuss treatment options.
To soothe an outbreak of genital herpes, take your prescribed medication and try sitting in a warm bath. Applying ice to a herpes rash on the face may provide some relief as well. To help prevent outbreaks, take steps to avoid the triggers that lead to one, such as a sunburn or extreme stress.
Also, you dont want to kiss a baby if you have a cold sore because it could lead to a serious infection in the baby early in life.
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Should I Keep My Cold Sore Wet Or Dry
There have been no studies investigating whether keeping a cold sore wet versus dry promotes healing.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association states that people can reduce redness by applying a clean, cold, wet towel to sores for a few minutes every day. People can also prevent dry skin and cracking by applying petroleum jelly.
How To Check If You Have Asymptomatic Herpes
If you have no herpes symptoms but believe you might have been exposed to the virus, you can take a herpes test to verify whether or not youre infected.
The most accurate herpes testing method for asymptomatic people is an IgG test, which checks for the presence of IgG antibodies in your blood. These antibodies can signal a herpes infection using certain testing methods, they can also be used to differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2.
IgG antibodies can take several months to form after a herpes infection, meaning youll typically need to wait for 12 to 16 weeks before taking an IgG test to make sure you receive an accurate result.
If youre concerned that you might have asymptomatic herpes, the best approach is to speak to your doctor about testing options. Your doctor will be able to schedule a test based on the date of your potential exposure to the virus and provide you with an accurate diagnosis. If you discover you do have HSV-1 or HSV-2, the most important thing is to not panic. These viruses are extremely common, and there are a variety of anti-viral medications out there to help minimize the severity and requency of outbreaks. Most notably, vacyclovir.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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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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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.
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Know The Early Signs Of A Cold Sore
People who frequently experience cold sores often report that they can feel one developing before it appears on their skin. Symptoms typically include tingling, burning, or itching around the lips for several hours or a day before the cold sore appears.
People who experience early symptoms of a cold sore should begin treating the area immediately.
Other Impacts Of Genital Herpes
Its important to also remember that there are mental and social impacts of having an incurable STI. Many people with recurrent genital herpes symptoms may feel stigmatized or fearful of pursuing sexual relationships. But people should remember, while genital herpes is not curable, it is manageable, and the outbreaks often decrease over time.
Most people live healthy happy lives with genital herpes .
to track your sex life and herpes symptoms using custom tags.
Lets support one another.
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Dangers To Children And Babies
Cold sores can be fatal to newborn babies and dangerous for older babies or children.
Do not kiss babies if you have a cold sore. It can lead to neonatal herpes.
In rare situations, cold sores can cause complications for older babies and children. The most serious of these is encephalitis, when the virus causes an inflammation of the brain.