Otc Medication For Herpes
When it comes to using medication, prescribed antibiotics can seem very attractive and hard to resist. However, the side effects can often exaggerate the symptoms or cause other problems for the victim.
An alternative to consider if youre needing the strength of medication are over the counter products.
Consider ibuprofen, such as Advil, and acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to bring down inflammation and reduce the pain.
Always use as directed, and never overdose no matter how tempting it is to pop more to get faster relief it doesnt work that way.
There is one FDA-approved OTC cream called Abreva thats only used for blisters on the face and cold sores around the mouth. It works best when you rub it in to the infected area five times a day every 3-4 hours.
Do not use this cream for longer than directed, and always follow the directions. Orajel ointments can also help with canker sores in the mouth due to herpes by numbing the pain.
This is a great option since you cant put Abreva inside your mouth. Lysine lip balms are excellent products to use for HSV-1 on the lips and around it.
But, when it comes to the Southern region, you need something thats safe to use down there. Consider numbing gels and sprays, such as Bactine. You can also try out local anesthetic ointments, like lidocaine 5 percent ointment.
It does numb the area, but it cant be overstated that you use these OTC products as directed.
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
Can You Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
Taking good care of yourself can help prevent future herpes outbreaks. Eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding stress can all help outbreaks from occurring.
If you have frequent outbreaks, your doctor may recommend that you take medicine daily, which is called suppressive therapy. It can help prevent future breakouts, and lower your chances of sharing herpes with your partner.
Research has not concluded what causes genital herpes outbreaks whether its sex, your period, stress, skin irritation, or surgery. Oral herpes outbreaks can be caused by sunburn, other infections, or injuries to your lips.
Types Of Antiviral Drugs
There are three oral antivirals recommended for the treatment of oral or genital herpes:
|Famvir, 250 mg||Twice daily|
Preventing genital herpes recurrence is important as it reduces the risk of HIV. According to the CDC, having an active genital herpes infection increases the risk of HIV by 200% to 300%.
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What Are Recurrences Of Herpes And How Likely Are They
Recurrences are repeat symptoms which appear at or close to the place where the infection was first noticed. These are often fairly minor and may be no more than a small spot that heals in a few days. They may be accompanied by sensations itches or nerve twinges. They are unlikely to be as severe as first symptoms and may be almost unnoticed.
Does A Cold Sore On My Mouth Mean I Have Genital Herpes
No, a cold sore on your mouth usually means you have herpes simplex virus type 1 . You can get HSV-1 by kissing someone or sharing utensils, towels, razors, or lipstick with someone who has HSV-1.
HSV-1 cannot turn into HSV-2 , but you can get a cold sore on your mouth from HSV-2 if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2. Cold sores caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2 are contagious. You can spread it to other people or other parts of your body if you touch an open sore and then touch another part of your body. That means if you have a cold sore and give oral sex to someone, that person will get the herpes virus on his or her genitals.
Avoid touching your cold sore as much as possible. If you touch your cold sore, wash your hands right away to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of your body or other people.
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How Does Herpes Simplex Spread
Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
People may get HSV-1 through
- Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
- Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.
People may get HSV-2 through
- Oral sex with someone whos infected.
- Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
- Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
- Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.
You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.
What Is Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.
Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.
The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
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How Can I Reduce The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
If you think you have genital herpes because you have one or more of the symptoms or have been sexually intimate with someone who has, you should have a sexual health check-up and get treated as soon as you can. However, there is more that you can do to reduce the symptoms of an outbreak.
If you are experiencing a genital herpes outbreak, you may want to:
- Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or flannel to soothe pain
- Pour water over your genitals or use painkilling cream/petroleum jelly to reduce pain while you urinate
- Use regular water or salt water to keep blisters clean and not infected
- Keep your hands clean whenever you touch your genitals
You should not:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most individuals infected with HSV are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition. 9 When symptoms do occur, herpes lesions typically appear as one or more vesicles, or small blisters, on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The average incubation period for an initial herpes infection is 4 days after exposure. 10 The vesicles break and leave painful ulcers that may take two to four weeks to heal after the initial herpes infection. 5,10 Experiencing these symptoms is referred to as having a first herpes outbreak or episode.
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Genital Herpes By Race/ethnicity
As with most infectious diseases, genital herpes is more prevalent among some racial/ethnic groups than others. This is especially true of Black people in the United States who are nearly 4 times as likely to have HSV-2 as White people.
The causes for this disparity are many, including poverty and limited access to health care and diagnosis. Institutional racism and healthcare discrimination can often discourage people from seeking the care they need, as well. Moreover, living in a community where STI rates are already high increases the likelihood of infection.
Even more concerning is the fact that genital herpes increases the risk of HIV, in part because open sores provide HIV easier access into the body and the inflammatory response attracts the very immune cells that HIV targets for infection.
As a result of these intersecting risk factors, a 2013 study in the journal PLoS suggested that genital herpes in Black people increases their vulnerability to HIV three times more than in White people.
The herpes virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the herpes virus:
- Most often, from herpes sores or blisters
- Less often, from normal looking skin where the virusfirst entered the body
- The herpes virus enters the body through the:
- Lining of the mouth
- Regular skin that has small cracks or cuts
People who dont know they have herpes can still spread the virus to others.
What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
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How Often Do Herpes Outbreaks Occur
Outbreak frequency varies greatly from person to person. The average number of outbreaks for a person with the HSV-2 virus is four to five per year, while the average for HSV-1 is less than one outbreak per year. Usually, outbreaks are more common during the first year and become less frequent over time.
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.
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What Can I Do To Stop Discomfort And Speed Up Healing Self
People with genital herpes have reported to us that these ideas have helped them to treat their genital herpes. They have not been through a medical trial:
Screening And Early Detection
Unlike some STIs, routine blood testing is not recommended for people who dont have symptoms of herpes. However, if there is concern about exposure or new symptoms, this testing may be recommended. People should talk with a healthcare provider to determine whether blood testing is necessary.
Although blood testing is not routinely done, screening for STIs should include a thorough exam to check for herpes lesions on the genitals .
The CDC recommends blood testing if you have symptoms of genital herpes. Testing should also be pursued if you are pregnant and are having sex with someone with herpes.
Testing may also be useful if:
- You are not pregnant but are having sex with someone with herpes.
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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.
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Home Remedies For Genital Herpes
In addition to medication treatment, there are many natural remedies that effectively soothe herpes sores quickly. An infected individual may be able to reduce inflammation, irritation and other symptoms by implementing a mix of the following solutions.
- Hot compressThe application of a warm compress may be helpful as soon as a sore is detected. In the event of a fully-formed sore, heat may help to minimise pain and reduce itching.
- Cold compressEffective in reducing swelling, an ice pack or clean, soft washcloth filled with ice applied to the affected area can relieve discomfort, although ice should never be directly applied to herpes blisters, bumps or ulcers.
- Vaseline or petroleum jellyAlthough Vaseline can ease the pain associated with crusting sores, it should be noted that herpes thrives in moist areas, and so applications should be sporadic and only in cases of extreme sensitivity. If possible, it is recommended to let the sores dry out on their own.
- SudocreamAn antiseptic healing lotion, Sudocream helps to heal sores by forming a protective layer over the vulnerable area. Sudocream helps reduce the risk of infection and contains a mild local anaesthetic to soothe discomfort.
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What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? above for information about this.
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What Are The Symptoms
Most people never have symptoms, or they are so mild that they do not know they have the virus. Sometimes, symptoms may not appear for months or years. Symptoms vary from person-to-person and many people who do get symptoms may not realize that its caused by HSV.
Herpes infections have three different outbreak types:
- Primary first outbreak
- Non-primary first outbreak
- Recurrent outbreak
A primary outbreak happens when someone first gets herpes symptoms usually beginning 2 to 21 days after contact.
Some people may experience warning signs, called prodrome symptoms such as itching, burning, and tingling of the skin at the site where the blisters or sores may appear, followed by painful herpes sores or tiny blisters. Other symptoms may include pain down either leg or in the buttocks, swollen or tender glands in the groin, fever, painful urination, body aches, feeling tired and unwell. This is more common with a primary outbreak. When the blisters break, painful shallow ulcers appear. These ulcers crust over and usually heal in 7 to 14 days. A primary outbreak is generally worse than future outbreaks.
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Are Antiviral Medications Safe
Antiviral medications are considered to be very safe. They are nearly always well tolerated because the active ingredients only have an effect in cells that have been infected by the virus.
People who have kidney failure may need to take a lower dose because the medication is removed from the body through the kidneys.
Ways To Soothe Herpes Sores
- Soothing ointment:Lidocaine pain cream is an extremely effective topical pain reliever that can be applied directly to a herpes sore to reduce the severity of the outbreak.
- Warm and cold compresses: Both warm and cold compresses can soothe herpes blisters, keeping the painful symptoms at bay. They can also reduce swelling, too. You may find that your body responds better to one over the other or alternating between the two. So try what works best for you!
- Over-the-counter pain relief: Consider getting a general pain reliever that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen to minimize the painful symptoms you have.
- Aloe vera: You may already have this helpful treatment because itâs often used to soothe redness and pain from a sunburn . The same goes for using aloe vera on genital sores. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help you feel better, faster. Be sure to use an all-natural source of aloe and avoid any extra additives.
- Peeing in a bath: Kinda weird, but you may feel pain when you pee because your urine is running over your open sores, which can make you dread going to the bathroom. Ease the pain and discomfort with a quick, cozy bath. Try filling a tub with warm water, lowering yourself in it and urinating in there instead. Itâll help you avoid irritating your sores and making them worse. With this little trick, you can pee in peace.
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