How To Get Rid Of Genital Herpes Fast: Is It Possible
The herpes simplex virus type 2, better known as genital herpes, is a sexually transmitted infection without a known cure. Although its not yet possible to permanently get rid of genital herpes, a number of techniques are proven to speed up the recovery of an outbreak and reduce unwanted symptoms.
You may recognize a genital herpes outbreak by the appearance of blisters and lesions. Most people experience their first outbreak two to 12 days after initial exposure to the virus. After the blisters break, it may take up to four weeks for herpes ulcers to heal.
After the first outbreak, recurring outbreaks are common but dont last nearly as long. Sores tend to heal within three to seven days in recurring outbreaks, and the number of outbreak periods may even decrease over time.
How Can I Stop Cold Sores From Forming
So you nipped your last cold sore flare-up in the bud , and it lasted less than a week but here you are, just a few months later, and the cold sores are back. There’s good news, and then there’s bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.
“Once a person is infected with herpes simplex virus, he or she is infected for life,” says Dr. Brown. “After a cold sore heals, the virus isn’t actually cleared from your body. Instead, the virus travels back into your nerves, where it can lie dormant for long periods of time. When the virus reemerges, it typically does so in the same spot as before.”
So what triggers the virus to reactivate and cause a flare-up?
Dr. Brown says that a cold sore outbreak can be triggered by:
Cold Sore Home Remedies And Treatments
Abreva is an over-the-counter ointment for cold sores that may shorten healing time. At the first sign of cold sore symptoms such as tingling apply it to the affected area as the package directions indicate.
To relieve cold sore pain and discomfort, you can also try these strategies:
- Apply lip balm or moisturizer. Use a lip balm, or moisturizer with sunscreen , on your lips. Keeping wounds moist no matter where they are on the body is one of the best ways to speed healing. Thats especially important with cold sores making sure your lips arent too dry will prevent you from reinjuring the area when you smile, eat or drink.
- Try pain-relieving creams. Over-the-counter creams or ointments that contain lidocaine or benzocaine may relieve the pain of cold sores. A popular brand is Orajel, although generic equivalents are available.
- Use a cold compress. Applying a cool, damp cloth to the affected area can soothe irritation and help remove crusting.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease discomfort.
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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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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Do Cold Sores Look Like
The diagnosis of cold sores is usually based on the appearance of the lesions. Usually, no laboratory test is needed because most sores that look like cold sores are cold sores. Occasionally, mouth sores known as canker sores may be mistaken for cold sores. However, canker sores occur inside the mouth whereas recurrent cold sores usually occur on the lips. If there is a question about the diagnosis, a variety of tests are available, including viral culture and polymerase chain reaction . To do these tests, a swab is rubbed over an active blister. Swabbing the blister in an attempt to culture the virus in the lab works best in the first 24-48 hours before the blister has crusted over. There is also a way to test for herpes DNA in a swab that has been rubbed on the sore. This type of testing is called a “polymerase chain reaction” or PCR for short. PCR testing is very good at detecting herpes virus, but it is not as readily available as a culture.
Blood tests for antibodies are not very useful, because finding antibodies to herpes just means that the body has been exposed to this virus at some point in the past. It does not tell if the current sore is due to herpes.
Cold Sores Kissing And Sex
If you get cold sores, that doesnt mean you should totally avoid intimacy, whether thats dating, kissing or sex. But the American Sexual Health Association advises that you should wait until a cold sore heals and the area looks normal again before performing oral sex or kissing someone directly on the mouth .
Because most adults have oral herpes, we do not advise that a person stop giving or receiving affection altogether between outbreaks simply because they have oral herpes, the ASHA says. However, using a barrier or condom when performing oral sex can reduce the risk of contracting genital herpes.
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How To Get Rid Of Cold Sores As Quickly As Possible
Cold sores generally clear up on their own, without any medical intervention, within two to four weeks. But there are things you can do to speed the healing process. Several antiviral medications are available, which can shorten healing time. Antiviral drugs prescribed for cold sores include valacyclovir , acyclovir , famciclovir and penciclovir .
Do’s And Don’ts 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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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:
How Do Dermatologists Treat Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. The good news is that sores often clear without treatment. Many people choose to treat herpes simplex because treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten an outbreak.
Most people are treated with an antiviral medicine. An antiviral cream or ointment can relieve the burning, itching, or tingling. An antiviral medicine that is oral or intravenous can shorten an outbreak of herpes.
Prescription antiviral medicines approved for the treatment of both types of herpes simplex include:
Taken daily, these medicines can lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks. They also can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus.
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Home Remedies And Lifestyle
At-home treatments for a cold sore or genital herpes can relieve symptoms. However, it can not cure the infection. To ease the pain and prevent sores from getting worse, try the following:
- Apply cold compresses. Place a well-insulated ice pack on your lesions for as long as it makes you feel better. The cold will not worsen or improve the lesion, but it can lessen the pain.
- Don’t scratch. Avoid touching and rubbing lesions caused by herpes. Doing so can spread the infection to other areas of your skin.
- Keep the sores clean. Cold sores and genital herpes infections can become infected with bacteria from your hands or, in the latter case, from urine or feces. Therefore, keep the sores and blisters and the areas around them clean and dry to avoid an additional infection.
- Reduce stress. Stress can affect how well your immune system can keep your herpes infection in check. Therefore, reducing your stress may help prevent excessive herpes recurrences.
Natural Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Cold Sores Fast
- One of the best home remedies for cold sores is applying lysine ointment to the affected area.
- Other effective natural remedies for cold sores include using ice packs, applying lemon balm, and wearing sunscreen.
- There is no cure for cold sores, but most will go away on their own in two to three weeks.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Cold sores are a lesion that can appear on and around the mouth. While they aren’t dangerous, they can be uncomfortable, itchy, and unsightly.
Cold sores usually resolve themselves within a few weeks, but the following home remedies may help you relieve and heal them sooner.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Cold Sores
The best way to prevent a herpes simplex infection is to avoid physical contact with someone else’s cold sores. Items that touch the lips but cannot be washed or sanitized, such as lipstick or lip balm, should not be shared. During an outbreak, frequent hand washing and sanitizing with 60% ethanol-based hand sanitizer will help reduce the spread of the virus to other parts of the body or to other people. Wash hands immediately after applying topical treatments to a cold sore. L-lysine and other supplements have not been shown to consistently reduce outbreaks.
To prevent future outbreaks,
- avoid long periods of time in the sun and use sunblock on lips and face,
- reduce stress by getting adequate rest and relaxation,
- avoid trauma to the mouth or involved area, and
- take any antiviral medication exactly as prescribed.
What Are Cold Sores Home Remedies
Cold sores contain the HSV-1 virus. People with cold sores should wash their hands often, especially after touching the face. Cups and eating utensils should not be shared with another person. A home remedy like cold compresses may relieve pain temporarily.
- Lysine, an amino acid, was once thought to be a potential treatment, but the facts supporting this are unconvincing.
- Other home remedies, including vitamin E oil, vitaminsupplements, nail polish remover, and changes in diet, have not been well studied.
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How To Avoid Transmitting Hsv
If you have a cold sore, be sure to wash your hands after touching it and be especially careful to avoid touching your own eyes after touching your cold sore. It is the fluid contained in the blisters that is considered to be the most infectious. While you have a cold sore it is also important to avoid:
- sharing toothbrushes
- sharing drinking glasses or bottles
- sharing cutlery
- sharing towels or other personal items
- close contact with newborn and young babies
- kissing others
- close contact with children with burns or eczema
- close contact with people with suppressed immune systems.
Introduction To Herpes Simplex Virus
The family of viruses called Herpesviridae is classified as Group I or dsDNA viruses of the order Herpesvirales and has three subfamilies. These subfamilies are Alphaherpesvirinae, Betaherpesvirinae and Gammaherpesvirinae.
The subfamily of Alphaherpesvirinae includes Iltovirus, Mardivirus, Simplexvirus and Varicellovirus. The subfamily of Betaherpesvirinae includes Cytomegalovirus, Muromegalovirus, Proboscivirus and Roseolovirus. The subfamily of Gammaherpesvirinae includes Lymphocryptovirus, Macavirus, Percavirus and Rhadinovirus.
There are five known species of the herpes simplex virus family. Nine types of herpes simplex virus are known to infect humans. Of them only eight cause infections or diseases that have been studied to an extent. The most common strains of the family of viruses are herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. These are abundant and cause the two most common infections, respectively known as oral herpes or orofacial herpes and genital herpes.
Orofacial herpes is at times herpes labialis if the symptoms are confined to the lips and the immediate surrounding areas of the mouth. Oro-labial herpes is another name used to describe this type of infection.
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Cold Sores: Common And Contagious
Cold sores are common and mostly harmless. Theyre caused by the herpes simplex virus, which spreads easily from person to person.
In some lucky people, the virus might cause a cold sore onceor twice and never rear its head again. But for other people, they come backagain and again, sometimes several times a year. And that gets old real fast.
They tend to go away on their own in 10 to 14 days, says Dr.Beers. But that doesnt make them any less annoying.
What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
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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.