Does Herpes Need To Be Treated
Treating herpes simplex symptoms may not be necessary. Herpes simplex infections clear up even if no treatment is given. But treating genital herpes can be helpful particularly if there are severe symptoms. Some people are affected more than others. See below for the rare occasions when it can be serious.
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.
How Can People Test For Herpes
A person can ask for a herpes test at any sexual health clinic or a doctors office. A healthcare professional will either swab a blister or draw a blood sample.
At-home herpes tests often require a blood sample through a finger prick.
Once a person receives their test results, they should contact a doctor to discuss treatment options, if necessary.
Accuracy By Test Type
Two blood tests are used to screen for herpes. To ensure that an initial positive result is correct, a second test using a different method of detection is used to confirm the results.
The first test is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay . An ELISA looks for immune proteins, called antibodies, that are produced by the immune system in response to the HSV. HSV antibodies are present even when there are no symptoms.
If the ELISA result is positive, your healthcare provider may administer a Western blot assay. This second test looks for proteins on the surface of the virus, called antigens, which serve as the virus’ “ID tag.” HSV antibodies produced in response to these antigens help the immune system target its attack.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the accuracy of the two blood used to diagnose herpes breaks down as follows:
|Over 99%||Over 99%|
Due to its high level of sensitivity and specificity, the Western blot is considered the gold standard of herpes blood testing.
With that said, the accuracy of the tests can be affected by the timing of the tests. For an ELISA to return an accurate result, the immune system needs to produce enough antibodies to reach detectable levels.
Testing too early during the so-called window period can end up causing a false-negative result .
Don’t Miss: How Often Can You Have Herpes Outbreaks
How Can I Get Rid Of Cold Sores Quickly
Theyre painful. Theyre unsightly. Theyre annoying. Cold sores are just plain unwelcome. When one pops up on your lip or mouth, you probably immediately think: Whats the fastest way to get rid of this thing?
Herpes simplex virus the virus that causes cold sores is incredibly contagious, and infection with the virus is really common, says Dr. Donald Brown, primary care practitioner at Houston Methodist. In fact, more than 50% of adults in the U.S. are infected with the type of herpes virus that most commonly causes cold sores. Interestingly, however, most people who contract the virus never actually develop symptoms.
If the virus does cause cold sores, it can spread from person-to-person through close contact, like kissing. But, while you may not know it, the virus can also spread by sharing:
- Utensils and drinking glasses
The virus is most contagious when a cold sore is present, particularly when the blister begins to ooze, Dr. Brown adds. However, its important to know that you can still spread the virus long after a cold sore heals as well as when a blister isnt even present.
For those who are no stranger to those painful, fluid-filled blisters, when you get a cold sore, you probably want it gone fast.
How Do Healthcare Providers Test For Herpes
How are you tested for herpes at a clinic or healthcare providerâs office? Healthcare providers will examine the location and severity of any active blisters or sores around the mouth or genital area. They may take a tissue sample of the sores to send to a laboratory for examination. A blood sample will be needed if an antibody test is used to check whether you have been infected with the herpes virus.
Don’t Miss: Is Herpes Hiv Or Std
How Can I Prevent Transmitting Herpes
Although latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmitting most STIs by 98 percent, condoms dont prevent herpes transmission. This is because not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a condom.
If youre experiencing an active outbreak, you can
- avoiding sexual activity until symptoms go away
- washing your hands thoroughly and applying medication with cotton swabs to reduce contact with sores
Taking a daily antiviral herpes medication can also help prevent transmission, shorten outbreaks, and manage symptoms.
What Is The Best Treatment For Herpes
There is no one definitive answer to this question since herpes treatments vary depending on the personÃ¢s symptoms and history. Some people may find relief from over-the-counter antiviral remedies, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, while others may require prescription medication. If a person has recurrent outbreaks, they may benefit from daily oral suppressive therapy with either a antiviral drug or a topical cream.
Read Also: Herpes At Home Test Kit
Don’t Miss: What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Herpes
Herpes Diagnosis In A Newborn Baby
Diagnosing herpes in children is complicated. Children arenât screened for the infection. In other words, only symptoms should alert the parent that all is not okay. It should prompt a diagnosis that could be done with a swab sample. Nevertheless, a complicated herpes infection calls for specific tests like a lumbar puncture.
Recommended Reading: What Is Good For Genital Herpes
How To Prevent The Spread Of Herpes
Although herpes is a lifelong virus that cant be cured, it goes through periods of dormancy between outbreaks. This means that while the virus is still present, its not actively replicating.
During this time, you may not experience any signs or symptoms of having the disease even if youve had a previous outbreak before.
However, you can still spread the herpes virus to your sexual partners at any time, even if no sores are present. In addition, although rare, its possible to spread oral herpes to the genital region and vice versa.
For this reason, its extremely important to be mindful of the following preventive measures:
- Tell your partners that you have genital or oral herpes. This allows them to make informed decisions about their own sexual health, and its the responsible thing to do.
- If youre experiencing the signs and symptoms of an upcoming outbreak, avoid all sexual contact. Youre most likely to spread the virus to others during an outbreak.
- Its possible to spread the herpes virus even without an outbreak. If youre worried about spreading the disease to a partner, research shows that antivirals are effective at reducing this possibility.
Having oral or genital herpes doesnt mean that you can no longer have sex. However, its your responsibility to prevent the spread of herpes to your sexual partner.
If you have herpes, you can still take care of your sexual health through open communication and safer sex.
Recommended Reading: Which Medicine Is Best For Herpes
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2
Herpes simplex virus type 2 spreads through sexual contact and is a type of sexually transmitted infection .
Both types of HSV develop as a result of direct contact with the virus.
HSV-1 most commonly spreads through oral-to-oral contact, which can be with sores, saliva, or the area around the mouth. Transmission may also occur due to sharing lip balm, a toothbrush, or any other product that has come into contact with HSV.
People have a much higher risk of contracting HSV-1 if they come into contact with someone who has an active outbreak of symptoms. In some cases, it is also possible for people to transmit HSV-1 during sexual activity.
Transmission of HSV-2
Best Convenient Herpes Test: Mylab Box
People can order at-home herpes tests from MyLAB Box. These kits contain instructions, a specimen bag, and a prepaid return envelope. Users may find this test convenient because of its quick turnaround for results and the option to book a free consultation and get treatment.
|doctor may prescribe treatment if test results are positive|
|Con||only tests for HSV-2|
Once a person receives their collection kit, they can collect their sample using the instructions. They can then use the prepaid envelope to send it to the laboratory.
People should receive their results within 25 days. If the test is positive, they can book a free consultation with a doctor to discuss their results and treatment options. The doctor may then prescribe treatment.
This at-home test only works for people who wish to test for genital herpes. The company does not offer test kits for oral herpes.
The kit costs $89 as a stand-alone test, but the company also markets other kits that test for different infections. For example, if a person also wishes to test for other STIs, they can purchase the Total Box 14 Panel option or the Uber Box 8 Panel option.
Recommended Reading: What Triggers Genital Herpes Outbreaks
How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.
To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:
- Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
- Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
- Speaking with a therapist.
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.
Also Check: Can Herpes Be Transmitted By Kissing
Things You Can Do To Help
Antivirals are only designed to stop the virus multiplying and will not help your discomfort in the short term. For this, there are a few simple things you can do to ease the discomfort and speed up the healing process:
- Apply an ice pack or ice cubes in a plastic bag
- Take a cool shower to soothe the blisters
- Apply a local, over-the-counter anaesthetic cream such as lidocaine
- Gently bathe the area with warm salt water
- Carefully pat the area dry
- If weeing is painful, go to the toilet in a warm bath or shower
- Wash your hands before and after touching the infected area to avoid introducing bacteria
- Keep hydrated and drink extra fluids
- Wear loose, cotton clothing
- Use an over-the-counter painkiller to help with pain and discomfort
Avoid washing your genitals too often when you have an outbreak, as this wont help to alleviate the symptoms.
The antivirals are safe to use with hormonal contraception but talk to the person prescribing the treatment to make sure.
Genital herpes can be safely treated during pregnancy. It is important to discuss with your midwife if you have, or have had, herpes infections. The treatment you receive may depend on whether it is your first herpes infection and also where in the pregnancy you are but your midwife will advise you.
It is strongly advised that you do not have any sexual contact before or during an outbreak and for a week after your symptoms have completely gone.
Talking to people about STIs
STIs and Stigma
How To Reduce Shame And Stigma When You Have An Std
Its important to recognize and deal with feelings, worries, and fears you may have. Talking to your doctor or another healthcare provider can help you normalize your experience and move forward. If you are in a committed relationship, it may be helpful for you to make an appointment to see a healthcare provider with your partner.
Engaging in open conversations with your provider and any sexual partners may help to put your mind at ease. You will find out about the right precautions to take in light of your own personal situation.
Read Also: Images Of Genital Herpes Sores
Use Green Tea To Get Rid Of Herpes Rash
Green tea has an excellent amount of health benefits and is a superb herpes treatment remedy.
How to use?
- Brew the green tea bag in a cup of hot water
- You can add honey or lemon to enhance the taste of the tea
- Drink around four cups each day
Benefits of using green tea
It is rich in antioxidants and helps in the prevention of outbreaks due to herpes. Green tea also has antiviral properties which help in overcoming the condition of herpes in the sufferers.
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.
Also Check: Can I Get Herpes From Sharing Drinks
Recommended Reading: Are There Cures For Herpes
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
How To Alleviate Lower Back Pain
- Since lower back pain is associated with swelling, applying a cold compress on your back will help in mitigating the soreness youre experiencing. Aside from easing the pain, it relaxes the muscles by loosening the skin tissues.
- Just because you are having lower back pain doesnt mean that you have to sit or lay all day and do nothing. Keeping yourself moving by doing your regular daily activities will help in mitigating backaches.
- Do some stretching. Regular exercise can help in extending your legs, which also promotes movement and mitigates back pain.
When you are diagnosed with herpes, ensure that you are doing your best to remain healthy. That way, you can prevent episodes of outbreaks. Preventing outbreaks also prevents you from having to experience the symptoms associated with the infection, which also includes lower back pain.
Only eat nutritious foods and strengthen your immune system by exercising regularly and taking care of your body. These methods do not only bolster your health but also reduces your risk of acquiring other infections or illnesses.
Donât Miss: What Does The Beginning Of Herpes Feel Like
Read Also: Burning When I Pee Herpes
Is A Blood Test For Genital Herpes Included When I Ask To Be Tested For Everything Why Does Cdc Recommend Testing For Other Stds But Not Herpes
Herpes blood tests may or may not be included. Your doctor chooses STD tests based on your sexual behaviors , as well as how common the infection is in the area that you live in. This is why you should have an open and honest discussion with your doctor about your sex practices and history. When you go in for STD testing, it is important to ask your doctor which infections you are and are not being tested for, and why.
STD tests are usually done for infections that have serious outcomes if they are not treated. For example, finding and treating curable STDs like chlamydia can stop them from causing serious complications like infertility in women. Genital herpes does not usually result in serious outcomes in healthy, non-pregnant adults. More often, the stigma and shame from a genital herpes infection can be more troubling to someone who is infected than the disease itself. If you are worried about genital herpes, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.
Donât Miss: Anti Itch Cream For Genital Herpes
Duration Of Genital Herpes
The first episode of genital herpes usually begins with inflammation, followed by a small group of blisters that break and weep after a few days and eventually crust over and heal. The first outbreak is usually the worst and ends within about three weeks. The CDC recommends antiviral medication for everyone having a first outbreak of genital herpes.
After the initial outbreak, outbreaks tend to last for less time and have less severe symptoms. Research has indicated that the number of symptomatic outbreaks may decrease over time.
Recommended Reading: Can Herpes Turn Into Hiv
Don’t Miss: How Can I Prevent Spreading Herpes To My Partner