What Happens If You Dont Get Herpes Treatment
The good news about herpes is that its not deadly or even very dangerous. It might be annoying, but herpes doesnt get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
If you dont get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.
There are a few reasons people may decide not to get treatment. They might not have that many outbreaks, or their outbreaks dont really bother them. Or maybe theyre not having sex, so theyre not that worried about having herpes right now. Whatever your situation is, getting treatment for herpes is your choice.
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Zovirax Topical Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives difficult breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Common side effects of Zovirax Topical may include:
dry, cracked, or peeling lips
dryness or flaking of treated skin
burning, stinging, or itching when the medicine is applied.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Keep The Area Clean And Dry
Its important to keep dry any areas affected by genital herpes sores. Moisture triggers irritation and can make outbreaks even worse. Try drying outbreaks with a hairdryer on low heat settings instead of a towel. It also helps to wear cotton underwear, since cotton is gentle and absorbs moisture much better than synthetic fabrics.
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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.
How Has My Partner Caught Genital Herpes
If your partner has only just been diagnosed with genital herpes, this does not necessarily mean that they have been unfaithful to you or sexually promiscuous in the past.
- Your partner may have caught genital herpes from you. You can carry the virus without knowing you have it as some people have no symptoms.
- It is also possible that your partner caught the virus from a cold sore on your mouth or face during oral sex. You can pass the virus on even if you dont have a cold sore at the time of contact.
- Your partner may have contracted the virus from a previous sexual partner, even several years ago. The virus can remain inactive in your body for long periods.
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What Are Antiviral Medications For Herpes
There are three antiviral medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of genital herpes:
- Acyclovir: The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. It has been available since 1982 in a topical form and sold since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in persons who have used it continuously for as long as 10 years.
- Valacyclovir: A newer drug, valacyclovir, actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day.
- Famciclovir: Famciclovir uses penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir.
Antiviral medication is commonly prescribed for patients having a first episode of genital herpes, but they can be used for recurrent episodes as well. There are two kinds of treatment regimens: episodic therapy and suppressive therapy.
Education Is An Integral Part Of Herpes Treatment
If you have genital herpes, its important for you to get educated about herpes and have the opportunity to ask questions in a supportive environment.
Becoming informed will help you learn to cope with the illness. It will also help you prevent sexual transmission of the illness, or transmission to an infant during a pregnancy.
Herpes has a tremendous psychosocial overlay. But knowledge about it and understanding about how well it can be managed can reduce that, says Handsfield.
Your doctor may be able to provide you with all the information you need, or you may choose to seek counseling from a mental health professional or at a clinic that specializes in sexual health, such as Planned Parenthood.
If you have a regular sexual partner, that person should also have the chance to learn about herpes and ask any questions they may have about it.
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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.
How Common Is Genital Herpes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.
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How Is Genital Herpes Spread
If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:
- Saliva or genital secretions
- Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.
You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
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:
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Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin
The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.
During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.
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What Are The Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
Treatment with antiviral medication is a good idea the very first time people have an outbreak of genital herpes. Later outbreaks are often milder, and then medication isn’t always needed. Preventive treatment may be considered if the outbreaks are frequent.
Genital herpes may clear up on its own. But the symptoms are often more severe the first time you have an outbreak. Most people then use antiviral medication to relieve the symptoms and prevent complications. These medications include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir.
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What Increases Your Risk
Things that increase your risk of getting genital herpes include:
- Having more than one sex partner.
- Having a high-risk partner or partners .
- Having unprotected sexual contact .
- Starting sexual activity at a young age. The younger people are when they start having sex, the greater their risk is of getting genital herpes.
- Having a weakened immune system.
- Being a woman. Women are more likely than men to become infected when exposed to genital herpes. And their symptoms tend to be more severe and longer-lasting. Women also are at a greater risk of having complications from a genital herpes infection.
Having herpes, especially if you have open sores, also increases your risk for becoming infected with HIV if you are exposed to HIV.
Any child with genital herpes needs to be evaluated by a doctor to see if it is the result of sexual abuse. For more information, see the topic Child Abuse and Neglect.
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Washing The Genital Area Before And After Sex Can Help Prevent The Transmission Of Genital Herpes
Washing the genital area doesnât help prevent any sexually transmitted disease , including genital herpes. The best way to prevent any STD is to abstain from sex or engage in sex only with someone you know is not infected. Condoms are not guaranteed to prevent infection, but research has shown that they provide some protection.
Consult a doctor about any of the following symptoms:
- tingling or itching around the genitals
- pain when peeing
- unusual vaginal discharge
The World Health Organization describes the risk of the herpes virus passing to a newborn during childbirth. Although this is rare, people who are pregnant and have herpes should let their doctors know.
Using a condom or another barrier method of protection during sex reduces the risk of the virus transmitting. It is also a good idea to avoid sharing sex toys with someone who has herpes.
Several online companies offer STI testing kits, including:
- EverlyWell: This company sells tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HIV.
- LetsGetChecked: This company sells tests for several common STIs, and it provides prescriptions at no extra cost if a test result is positive.
- PriortitySTD: This company returns results within 3 days.
Anyone with a positive test result should contact a healthcare professional.
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Can You Test For Herpes At Home
Yes, there are at-home sexually transmitted infection tests for herpes.
Read more about at-home herpes tests here.
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
If you havent been diagnosed with genital herpes, call your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Painful blisters or sores in the genital or pelvic area.
- Burning or pain while urinating, or you are unable to urinate.
- Reason to think youve been exposed to genital herpes.
If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes, call your doctor if you are having frequent outbreaks or you are unable to pass urine or are constipated.
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, or if you think you have genital herpes, tell your doctor.
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Genital Herpes Guide: Treatment And Follow
Treatment and follow-up guidance for the genital herpes.
Note: This guide provides minimal information about neonatal herpes. For more information, refer to the Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement about the prevention and management of neonatal herpes simplex virus infections.
How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last
If youre infected with HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes, you may notice tingling or burning around your mouth in the days before a cold sore appears. These blisters break open and ooze fluid before forming a crust. Usually, sores last for seven to 10 days.
If youre infected with HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, your first outbreak may last between two to four weeks. Recurrent outbreaks usually last between three to seven days.
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What Else Can I Do To Help With A Genital Herpes Outbreak
As well as taking medication to help with symptoms, you can also try:
- using an anaesthetic gel to numb your skin and ease any pain
- soaking the affected area with plain or salt water
- applying Vaseline to the affected area
- drinking plenty of fluids
- wearing loose clothing
- taking pain relief medications, like paracetamol or ibuprofen
The symptoms of herpes outbreaks will usually go away by themselves within 10 days as your immune system fights the infection on its own. You might find the sores painful during that time, so medication can help you by clearing up the infection more quickly.
If youd like to speak to one of our doctors about your symptoms, you can book a telephone consultation. Theyll be able to provide personalised advice on how to cope with genital herpes.
How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed
Healthcare providers may diagnose herpes simplex based on how the sores look. Your provider may take a sample from the sore. Laboratory analysis of the sample can confirm or rule out the herpes virus.
If you dont have sores, your healthcare provider can use a blood test to check for HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody, a marker showing youve been exposed to the virus. The blood test doesnt show an active infection . But it informs your provider whether youve been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If this is your first infection, you may not test positive for herpes if there hasnt been enough time for your body to develop antibodies. The HSV-1and HSV-2 antibody test may be repeated in eight to 12 weeks.
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Who Might Get Herpes Simplex
People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:
- Were assigned female at birth.
- Have had multiple sex partners.
- Started having sex at a young age.
- Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.
Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?
Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.
Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?
Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.
People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.
How Do You Catch Genital Herpes
The HSV-1 and HSV-2 types of herpes simplex are found in bodily fluids including semen, saliva and vaginal secretions.
You can become infected with genital herpes:
- If your genitals come into contact with an infected persons genitals, even if there is no penetration or ejaculate present
- Oral sex with someone who has a cold sore. The cold sore contains the herpes simplex virus, which may be transmitted to your genitals
You cannot catch genital herpes from:
- Kissing, hugging or sharing a bed with an infected person
- Toilet seat or swimming pools
- Objects such as towels, cups or cutlery
This is because the virus is not able to survive well outside of the human body.
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