What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, cesarean section may be recommended.
How Can You Prevent Cold Sores
To avoid being infected with HSV-1, you should take the following precautions around people who have cold sores:
- Avoid kissing, intimate contact and oral sex with someone who has a cold sore.
- Dont share towels, razors, dishes, cutlery, straws, lip balm or lipstick.
- Wash your hands before touching your lips, eyes or genitals.
If youve already come into contact with HSV-1, do these to reduce risk of a cold sore outbreak:
- Try to stay healthy: A fever can trigger a cold sore, which is why people sometimes call them fever blisters.
- Get enough rest: Fatigue weakens your immune system and makes you more likely to get sick.
Wear lip balm with SPF: Protecting your lips from sunburn can help you avoid an outbreak.
If you have a cold sore, be careful around babies. Always wash your hands, and do not kiss a baby until the cold sore has healed completely.
Shingles By Any Other Name Is Still Herpes
No one likes to hear the word herpes mentioned during a medical visit, since it tends have all of those negative sexual connotations. I rarely just blurt it out to patients. We use those nicer words for herpes: shingles, chicken pox, cold sores, or fever blisters.
Chicken pox, a herpes viral infection, was once considered a rite of passage for most children. Now, the routine varicella vaccine will prevent most of these cases, and even protect you against shingles. No one seems pay attention to cold sores, another herpes-type infection. Shingles will make a person take notice.
Shingles by any other name is still a form of herpes. There are many different kinds of herpetic infections, but questions regarding plain ol Shingles is one of the most frequent postings that occur on the WebMD General Health Board. Why?
Because in the United States, nearly 100% of adults have detectable herpes antibodies by the time they are 30 years old. Humans are the only source of infection, so we caught it from someone. In other words, nearly all of us have already been exposed and have the latent virus present in our bodies. The virus is just hanging around, living quietly in a nerve bundle, and suppressed by our immune systems.
Herpes zoster is incurable, but it is treatable. And, many herpes infections, like chicken pox, it is preventable by vaccine.
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What Triggers A Cold Sore
After you have been infected with HSV-1, the virus never goes away. It remains dormant in a group of nerve cells in your face called the trigeminal ganglion.
When the virus is triggered, or activated, it wakes up and travels through your nerves to your lips, where a cold sore develops. After an outbreak, the virus goes back to sleep in your body.
What triggers a cold sore in one person might not cause an outbreak in another person. Some people with HSV-1 never develop a cold sore.
A cold sore can be activated by a variety of factors, including:
- Hormonal changes during menstruation or pregnancy
- Fever and illness, such as cold or flu
- Damaged, dry or cracked lips
What Can I Do To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Cold Sores
While cold sores are uncomfortable, you can find relief at home. Suggestions to help manage cold sores:
- Use over-the-counter creams and ointments: These remedies can help shorten the healing time and ease your symptoms. They are most effective when you use them as soon as you feel a cold sore coming on.
- Take pain relievers: If you are in a lot of pain, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter topical pain reliever such as lidocaine that you can apply directly to the cold sore. You can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen by mouth to ease your discomfort.
- Wear sunscreen and SPF lip balm: It is important to make sure a cold sore doesnt get sunburned while it is healing. Also, wearing a lip balm with SPF 30 every day could prevent future cold sores.
- Avoid acidic foods: Orange juice, tomatoes and other acidic foods can aggravate a cold sore.
- Apply a cool compress: You can use a cool, damp washcloth to soothe a cold sore. Apply it for a few minutes off and on throughout the day. Be sure to wash the towel after youve used it to avoid spreading the cold sore to others.
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How Will My Doctor Know If I Have Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at your symptoms. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. In certain situations, a blood test may be used to look for herpes antibodies. Have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for herpes or other STDs.
Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or how long you have been infected.
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Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.
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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.
Mucocutaneous Herpes Simplex Infection
Lesions may appear anywhere on the skin or mucosa but are most frequent in the following locations:
Conjunctiva and cornea
Generally, after a prodromal period of tingling discomfort or itching, clusters of small, tense vesicles appear on an erythematous base. Clusters vary in size from 0.5 to 1.5 cm but may coalesce. Lesions on the nose, ears, eyes, fingers, or genitals may be particularly painful.
Vesicles typically persist for a few days, then rupture and dry, forming a thin, yellowish crust.
Healing generally occurs within 10 to 19 days after onset in primary infection or within 5 to 10 days in recurrent infection. Lesions usually heal completely, but recurrent lesions at the same site may cause atrophy and scarring. Skin lesions can develop secondary bacterial infection. In patients with depressed cell-mediated immunity due to HIV infection or other conditions, prolonged or progressive lesions may persist for weeks or longer. Localized infections can disseminate, particularlyâand often dramaticallyâin immunocompromised patients.
Herpes labialis is usually a recurrence of HSV. It develops as ulcers on the vermilion border of the lip or, much less commonly, as ulcerations of the mucosa of the hard palate.
is the most common ulcerative sexually transmitted infection in developed countries. Genital HSV can be caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2.
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How Do I Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Most people who have genital herpes have no symptoms, or have very mild symptoms. You may not notice mild symptoms or you may mistake them for another skin condition, such as a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, most people who have herpes do not know it.
Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal. These symptoms are sometimes called having an outbreak. The first time someone has an outbreak they may also have flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen glands.
People who experience an initial outbreak of herpes can have repeated outbreaks, especially if they are infected with HSV-2. Repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although the infection stays in the body for the rest of your life, the number of outbreaks may decrease over time.
You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD. STD symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly genital discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.
Can Genital Herpes Cause Other Problems
For most women, genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems.
Women with HIV can have severe herpes outbreaks that are long-lasting. Herpes also may play a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes sores can make it easier for HIV to get into your body. Also, herpes can make people who are HIV-positive more likely to spread the infection to someone else.
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Learn More About Herpes Treatments
Interested in learning more about how herpes is treated? From common infections like HSV-1 and HSV-2 to the varicella-zoster virus, most types of herpes are treated through antiviral medications such as valacyclovir. Think you might have herpes? Don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider about getting an HSV test.
Our Valacyclovir 101 guide covers all there is to know about this common and highly effective antiviral drug, from dosage guidelines and brand names to side effects, mechanism of action, interactions and more.
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. Learn more about our editorial standardshere.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Gladiatorum
- Symptoms usually begin about 8 days after exposure to HSV-1.
- Swollen glands .
- A tingling feeling at the affected area.
- A cluster of clear, fluid-filled blisters that may be surrounded by redness — these blisters may or may not be painful.
- Blisters and lesions usually heal within 7 to 10 days.
- People with HSV-1 infection are infected for life, may have periodic outbreaks, and can transmit the virus to others.
|Herpes outbreak on arm|
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Can I Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes, you can breastfeed if you have genital herpes, but not if you have a herpes sore on one of your breasts. If you have genital herpes, it is possible to spread the infection to any part of your breast, including your nipple and areola.
If you have any genital herpes sores on one or both of your breasts:
- You can keep breastfeeding as long as your baby or pumping equipment does not touch a herpes sore.
- Do not breastfeed from the breast with sores. Herpes is spread through contact with sores and can be dangerous to a newborn baby.
- Pump or hand-express your milk from the breast with sores until the sores heal. Pumping will help keep up your milk supply and prevent your breast from getting overly full and painful. You can store your milk to give to your baby in a bottle for another feeding. But if parts of your pump also touch the sore while pumping, throw the milk away.
What Is A Herpes
To answer other questions, first of all, it is necessary to clarify what herpes is. Herpes is some skin affectations caused by viruses. These can annoy us a lot because of the pain they cause and because they can affect our personal life.
After a person is infected with herpes for the first time, it remains inactive in the body from then on. It then remains in the body forever until it can reappear spontaneously in certain situations.
The main triggers are stress, a lowering of defenses, other infections, changes in temperature, menstruation, ultraviolet rays, or even trauma.
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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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Are Herpes And Hiv The Same Thing
Both Herpes and HIV share similar symptoms and transmission ways but they are completely different. HIV is more of flu-like symptoms in the initial phases and followed by no symptoms and then final stages arrive with more severe signs like weight loss, diarrhea, and neurological symptoms, on the other hand, Herpes is painless and appears as warts around the genitals and the mouth which can lead to health complications like cancers.
Now, which is more common? Is it Herpes or HIV? Well, Herpes STD seems to be more common than HIV. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , nearly every sexually active person having more than one sex partner will contract an STD like Herpes or HIV at least once in their lifetime.
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How Do You Get Herpes
The skin on your genitals, mouth, and eyes can be infected easily. Other areas of skin may get infected if theres a way for the herpes virus to get in, like through a cut, burn, rash, or other sores. You dont have to have sex to get herpes. Sometimes herpes can be passed in non-sexual ways, like if a parent with a cold sore gives you a peck on the lips. Most people with oral herpes got it when they were kids. A mother can pass genital herpes to a baby during vaginal childbirth, but thats pretty rare.
You can spread herpes to other parts of your body if you touch a herpes sore and then touch your mouth, genitals, or eyes without washing your hands first. You can also pass herpes to someone else this way.
Herpes is most contagious when sores are open and wet, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. But herpes can also shed and get passed to others when there are no sores and your skin looks totally normal.
Who Is At Risk For Developing Herpes Simplex Infections
Anyone can contract HSV, regardless of age. If youre exposed to HSV, youre likely to contract the virus.
Remember, HSV is very common. But because its often asymptomatic, plenty of people living with the virus never have an episode or realize theyve contracted HSV.
You may have a higher chance of contracting the virus if you:
- have a sexual partner who lives with HSV
- were assigned female at birth . suggests more AFAB folks than people assigned male at birth develop HSV, but this could also mean AFAB folks are more likely to experience symptoms.
- are immunocompromised
Some older research suggests HSV-1 antibodies may offer AFAB folks some protection against contracting HSV-2. Still, many people living with one type of the virus do contract the other type later on. You wont contract the same type of the virus again, though, since it remains dormant in your body once you acquire it.
You may have a slightly higher chance of contracting genital HSV if you have sex without using condoms or other barrier methods. Keep in mind, though, that condoms and other barrier methods wont always cover the infection site, since sores can appear on the buttocks or inner thighs.
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How Is Genital Herpes Treated
Herpes has no cure. But antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the time you take the medicine. Also, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can lower your chance of spreading the infection to your partner.
Your doctor will either give you antiviral medicine to take right after getting outbreak symptoms or to take regularly to try to stop outbreaks from happening. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
During outbreaks, you can take the following steps to speed healing and prevent spreading herpes to other parts of your body or to other people:
- Keep sores clean and dry.
- Try not to touch the sores.
- Wash your hands after any contact with the sores.
- Avoid all sexual contact from the time you first notice symptoms until the sores have healed.