What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Pregnant Women
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, there may be a risk of your baby being infected with the virus during delivery. This condition is called neonatal herpes and can be serious or fatal.
Neonatal herpes can result in damage to the central nervous system and can cause mental retardation. Only about 0.1% of babies born in the United States are infected with neonatal herpes even though about 25% to 30% of pregnant women have genital herpes.
Generally, if you are infected with herpes, your doctor will deliver your baby by cesarean section to avoid any risk to your newborn infant.
Women who have herpes before becoming pregnant are at very low risk of transmitting the herpes virus to their babies. If a woman is infected with the herpes virus after becoming pregnant, her baby faces a higher risk of contracting neonatal herpes. Women who are newly infected havent had time to develop the antibodies against the virus and cannot pass them on to the baby for protection.
Talk with your OB/GYN and let them know if you have genital herpes. At the time of your delivery, ask your doctor to examine you early in labor to make sure you dont have any sores or signs of infection like pain, tingling, or itching.
Prodromal Symptoms Of Herpes
Prior to a herpes outbreak, people will often have prodromal symptoms . With herpes, this may include localized genital pain, or tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips, or buttocks. This may occur hours or days before the actual outbreak.
What Does A Herpes Rash Look Like
There are two strains of the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2.
HSV-1 is transmitted through oral-to-oral contact – spread through kissing, sharing cutlery, and oral care items such as toothbrushes with an infected person. It causes sores around the mouth and lips which are commonly known as cold sores.
Lesions do not have to be present for both strains to spread. Many people are asymptomatic and do not show symptoms or have very mild symptoms, even if they have a herpes infection.
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What Does Herpes Look Like
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Herpes sores can affect many areas of the body, including the mouth, genitals, and eyes. Knowing what herpes looks like across the body can help people diagnose the condition.
Herpes is a skin condition caused by the herpes simplex virus. The symptoms include sores that come and go over time. Different types of herpes affect different body parts.
This article will explain what herpes is, how people get it, and what herpes looks like with pictures.
Most people with HSV are asymptomatic, meaning they will not experience any symptoms. Others will notice sores or lesions. These sores look like blisters filled with fluid. Over a few days, the sores break open, ooze, and form a crust before healing.
People may also notice a tingling, itching, or burning feeling a few days before the sores appear. Some people may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as:
Someone who has contracted the virus will usually have their first sores, or an outbreak, between 2 and 20 days later. The sores may last up to a week or 10 days.
An outbreak may involve a single sore or a cluster of sores. They often affect the skin around the mouth, the genitals, or the rectum. The blisters can take between 2 and 4 weeks to heal.
The symptoms will usually reappear from time to time, though they do not tend to be as severe as the first time.
How To Prevent An Outbreak
Some people only take their medications if they feel the itching and tingling that means an outbreak is coming on — or when sores show up — to stop it from getting worse. Your doctor may suggest you take an antiviral every day if you:
- Have lots of outbreaks
- Want to prevent more outbreaks
- Want to lower the risk of spreading it to your partner
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What Can I Do If I Have Herpes
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they will always have the virus and can give it to others. But you are not alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the US and worldwide. Exact numbers of people affected are not known. This is because many people dont realize they have it, especially if symptoms are minor and are not bothersome. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should talk to your doctor if this is a right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. Women with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your health care provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
How Long After A Herpes Outbreak Is It Still Contagious
You are most contagious right before, and during an outbreak, when the viral load is at its highest. It can take a few weeks for sores to completely heal, and for the virus to become dormant. When the virus lays dormant in your body, there is a much lower chance of passing herpes on to sexual partners. Because of the nature of the virus, itâs not possible to know whether you are contagious or not. Even after an outbreak has healed, there is no way to know if another one is on the way. If it is, you will be contagious. If your outbreaks follow a pattern of when they appear, you may have an indication as to whether or not an outbreak is likely. However, this is not accurate. Although you may not be displaying symptoms, you may be contagious. Over time, a person who has had herpes for a long time is less contagious than a person who has recently been infected.
Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.
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What Happens During A Herpes Antibody Test
There are different tests for HSV. Doctors will choose a test based on a persons health history and symptoms. Options include the following:
- Swab test: A healthcare professional uses a swab to take a sample of fluid and cells from a herpes sore. They then order a PCR test or viral culture to determine whether HSV is present. This is the most reliable way to test for HSV. Doctors normally do this as standard procedure before ordering any other sort of test.
- Blood test: A healthcare professional uses a needle to take a small amount of blood from a vein in a persons arm.
- Lumbar puncture: Doctors may use this method if they suspect a person has an infection in the brain or spinal cord. It involves numbing the skin of the lower spine and inserting a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae to collect cerebrospinal fluid.
A doctor will send samples to a laboratory for testing and a person should get their results within a few days.
How To Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
- A healthy, robust immune system helps keep the virus at bay, so active living and maintaining a balanced diet may assist in preventing recurring outbreaks.
- Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption is also thought to reduce the chance of a flare-up.
- Stress is thought to be a trigger for herpes outbreaks, so ensuring quality sleep and other stress-reducing activities can aid in keeping herpes at bay.
- Medication such as aciclovir and valaciclovir can be taken over a long period of time, to reduce the number of outbreaks. Typically, those that suffer from 6 or more outbreaks a year, are offered suppression therapy.
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What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
Many people who have genital herpes dont show symptoms, or the symptoms are so mild they dont notice them so they might not even know they have it. When herpes does cause symptoms, the most common one is sores and blisters that show up on the parts of your body where the infection lives. This is called an outbreak.
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1
That painful cold sore you get on your lip every now and then? It’s probably caused by a type of herpes virus called HSV-1. This virus is usually not an STD it spreads easily among household members or through kissing. But it can be spread to the genitals through oral or genital contact with an infected person. Though there is no cure, drugs can shorten or prevent outbreaks.
Signs and Symptoms: Occasional cold sores or “fever blisters” on the lips. Small blister or sores on the genitals are also possible.
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Are Canker Sores Caused By The Herpes Virus
Canker sores are not caused by the herpes virus or by any other virus. In fact, the cause of canker sores is unknown, although they may be triggered by a minor injury in your mouth from dental work or brushing too hard, an allergy, a vitamin B deficiency, stress, or a food intolerance. Some medical conditions, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease, may also cause canker sores, and they often occur in families, so it’s possible genetics or environment play a part, too.
Canker sores typically appear as small, round, or oval whitish sores with a red border, according to the Mayo Clinic. They typically occur on the tongue, inside the cheeks, inside the lips, or on the gums. The medical term for a canker sore is aphthous ulcer. Canker sores can be quite painful, but they usually heal within about two weeks without leaving any scarring.
Unlike cold sores, which usually occur outside the mouth, canker sores occur only inside the mouth. Like cold sores, canker sores are recurrent, but they are not contagious: You cant give a canker sore to another person. Canker sores occur more often in teenagers and young adults, and they are more common in women than men.
What Are The Other Symptoms Of A Herpes Outbreak
If you are experiencing the first outbreak of herpes, you are most likely to experience signs and symptoms that may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- People who experience a herpes outbreak for the first time may develop the lesions 4 to 20 days after getting exposed to the virus.
After the initial infection, the herpes virus stays inactive in the nerves. It has a tendency to get reactivated and emerge as a new sore in certain situations. It is the reactivation that leads to the recurring outbreaks of herpes. Thankfully, consequent outbreaks after the first infection are usually associated with symptoms that are milder even blisters heal faster than before.
Outbreaks may be triggered by different things – stress, other illness, fatigue, hormone changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, or anything affecting your immune system, though anything can trigger an outbreak, and sometimes you may not know the trigger.
If you touch sores present in your mouth or genitals and then touch other places in the body, you can transmit the infection to those places one such example is herpes infection in the eyes. Children have a greater tendency to spread the virus from oral sores to their fingertips when they suck their thumbs. Once you have an established infection, and your body has produced antibodies, the chances of this happening are very low.
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What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that can be transferred from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. STDs are sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted infections since they involve the transmission of a disease-causing microorganism from one person to another during sexual activity. It is important to realize that sexual contact includes more than just sexual intercourse . Sexual contact includes kissing, oral-genital contact, and the use of sexual toys, such as vibrators. STDs probably have been around for thousands of years, but the most dangerous of these conditions, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus , was only recognized in recent decades.
Many STDs are treatable, but effective cures are lacking for others caused by viruses, such as HIV, HPV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Even gonorrhea, once easily cured, has become resistant to many of the older traditional antibiotics. Many STDs can be present in, and spread by, people who do not have any symptoms of the condition and have not yet been diagnosed with an STD. Therefore, public awareness and education about these infections and the methods of preventing them is important.
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How Genital Herpes Is Spread
You can get genital herpes if you come into contact with:
- Saliva from a partner with oral herpes
- Genital fluids from a partner with genital herpes
- Skin around the mouth or genitals of someone with a herpes infection
You can even get herpes from skin-to-skin contact with someone who has no symptoms and who may not even know they have herpes.
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How Do The Tests Work
HSV tests detect IgG and immunoglobulin M antibodies. IgG antibodies are present soon after infection with HSV and remain in the blood for life. A test result showing IGg antibodies will tell a person that they have experienced an infection in the past and that they have antibodies against the virus.
IgM antibodies appear before IgG antibodies but may disappear when the infection is inactive. Testing for IgM antibodies is not a useful way to distinguish between primary and recurrent episodes of HSV infection. Therefore, doctors do not recommend IgM testing.
A positive herpes antibody test cannot tell people where they have HSV infection or when they contracted the infection. It cannot tell if a person was capable of passing on the infection at the time of the test, nor can it tell if specific symptoms are due to herpes.
Once a sample comes back from laboratory analysis, a person will receive one of the following results:
Is There A Way To Prevent Getting Herpes
You can protect yourself and your partner by taking steps to prevent an outbreak of herpes. Some things that you can do include:
-If you already have herpes, dont have sex until the outbreak is completely gone, even with a condom.
-Try to learn the signs of an impending outbreak, such as itching, tingling and burning, and stop having sex as soon as you notice.
-If you wear contact lenses, dont wet your lenses with your saliva. This could spread your herpes infection to your eyes.
-Dont have sex with your partner until your herpes sores are completely healed.
-Always tell your partner if you are infected with the herpes virus before you have sex. Even though it can be embarrassing and difficult, herpes is very common, and telling your partner will help keep the infection from spreading.
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 Is Genital Herpes Spread
- Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
- Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
- Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes or
- Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes.
You also can get genital herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or is unaware of their infection. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a partner with oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. You also will not get it from touching objects, such as silverware, soap, or towels.
If you have more questions about herpes, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
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What Does It Look Like
The herpes rash looks like clusters of small, fluid filled blisters. They tend to be painful and can appear as white, yellow, or red translucent sores or bumps, filled with a clear liquid.
Herpes sores can be overlooked when symptoms first appear, because they can be similar to other common skin conditions.
The appearance of herpes sores cannot solely signify whether an outbreak is caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2. A herpes test can help to identify which strain of the virus you have. You are able to get tested at a local sexual health clinic.