How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Contracting Genital Herpes
For people who are sexually active, reduce your risk of the disease by committing to a mutually monogamous relationship. This means both partners were tested and cleared from carrying STDs, including herpes.
Using latex condoms every time you have sex can also protect you. But herpes sores dont only occur in areas covered by a condom. The virus can shed from areas of skin that dont have an obvious sore, so you can still contract the disease if using a condom.
What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
How Should This Medicine Be Used
Acyclovir comes as a tablet, a capsule, and a suspension to take by mouth. It also comes as a delayed-release buccal tablet to apply to the upper gum of the mouth. The tablets, capsules, and suspension are usually taken with or without food two to five times a day for 5 to 10 days, starting as soon as possible after your symptoms begin. When acyclovir is used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, it is usually taken two to five times a day for up to 12 months. The delayed-release buccal tablet is usually applied with a dry finger as a one-time dose within 1 hour after itching, redness, burning or tingling cold sore symptoms begin but before the cold sore appears. Take or use acyclovir at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take or use acyclovir exactly as directed. Do not take or use more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not chew, crush, suck, or swallow the delayed-release buccal tablets. Drink plenty of liquids, if you have a dry mouth while using the delayed-release buccal tablets.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. The good news is that sores often clear without treatment. Many people choose to treat herpes simplex because treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten an outbreak.
Most people are treated with an antiviral medicine. An antiviral cream or ointment can relieve the burning, itching, or tingling. An antiviral medicine that is oral or intravenous can shorten an outbreak of herpes.
Prescription antiviral medicines approved for the treatment of both types of herpes simplex include:
Taken daily, these medicines can lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks. They also can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus.
To Use Buccal Acyclovir Follow These Steps:
If the delayed-release buccal tablet comes off within the first 6 hours of application, reapply the same tablet. If it still will not stick, then apply a new tablet. If you accidentally swallow the tablet within the first 6 hours of application, drink a glass of water and place a new tablet on your gum. If the tablet falls off or is swallowed 6 or more hours after application, do not apply a new tablet until your next regular time.
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What If I Forget A Dose Of Aciclovir
If you forget a dose of aciclovir, take it as soon as you remember, unless its nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just skip the missed dose and continue with your next one as normal.
Never have 2 doses at the same time. Never have an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.
You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicines.
How Does Someone Get Eye Herpes
HSV-1 and VZV are both common infections, with 90% of the general population exposed during childhood. Since most herpes cases are asymptomatic, many people are unaware they are infected.5
Type 1 herpes is transmitted through saliva or skin-to-skin contact with someone who is shedding the virus.
After the initial infection, the viruses that cause eye herpes can lay dormant in the body for long periods. Most cases of eye herpes are a reactivation of a dormant infection that can be triggered and reactivated by:
- Certain medications
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How To Cope With Side Effects
What to do about:
- headaches make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink too much alcohol. Paracetamol is safe to take with aciclovir if you need a painkiller. Speak to your doctor if this does not help or your headaches are severe.
- feeling dizzy if aciclovir makes you feel dizzy, stop what youre doing and sit or lie down until you feel better. Do not drive, ride a bike, or use tools or machinery if you feel dizzy.
- feeling or being sick stick to simple meals and do not eat rich or spicy food. It might help to take your medicine after you have eaten. If youre being sick, try small, frequent sips of water to avoid dehydration. Signs of dehydration include peeing less than usual or having dark, strong-smelling pee.
- diarrhoea drink lots of fluids, such as water or squash, to avoid dehydration. Signs of dehydration include peeing less than usual or having dark, strong-smelling pee. Do not take any other medicines to treat diarrhoea without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor.
- skin being sensitive to sunlight stay out of bright sun and use a high factor sun cream even on cloudy days. Do not use a sun lamp or sun beds.
- burning or stinging feeling after applying the cream this usually goes away after a short time. Ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice if it continues to be a problem.
- itchy, dry or flaking skin try using an unscented moisturiser. Do not apply the moisturiser at the same time as your aciclovir cream.
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Is There Anything I Can Do To Relieve The Symptoms Myself
In some women, genital herpes blisters cause pain when urinating . Many of them find it soothing to pee while sitting in warm, shallow water . You can do this using special tubs that fit into toilet bowls. They are available at a reasonable price, for instance from pharmacies or on the internet. Its best not to use soaps or bath additives because they can irritate the affected area even more. Other things you can do to avoid irritating it further include wearing loose-fitting clothes and underwear made out of fabrics that have a smooth surface.
Painkillers such as ibuprofen are an option if the blisters become very painful.
Topical antiviral treatments such as creams or ointments dont provide any relief, but they can increase the risk of viral resistance. Experts advise against using topical treatments for genital herpes.
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What Are Medications For Genital Herpes
Acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir are examples of antiviral drugs that have been used to treat genital herpes. Because the first outbreak of herpes is usually the most severe, most doctors recommend treatment for the initial attack. With subsequent attacks, treatment is only useful if it is given prior to the outbreak or within the first 24 hours after the outbreak has started.
Suppressive treatment is also given for people who have more than six genital herpes outbreaks a year. With suppressive therapy, antiviral medications are taken continuously in order to lessen the frequency of recurrences.
Your doctor can help you decide whether antiviral drug treatment is right for you and can guide the choice of drug.
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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.
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Are There Alternative Remedies For Cold Sores
Yes, there are. There are natural antivirals, starting from colloidal silver to numerous essential oils, which we can find today integrated in easy-to-apply lipsticks, creams or lip balms.
Propolis is also an excellent antiviral .My husband is a bearer of the virus and I have always treated his outbursts with propolis tincture . If I apply it from the first signs, he only needs 2 drops applied 3 times per day and thats it.And recently a new study proved this for all non-believers.
So What Are You Telling Me
Antiviral pills are your best choice for the treatment of oral herpes. They are more reasonably priced and work better. Antiviral therapy with acyclovir, famciclovir , or valacyclovir hastens the healing of lesions if treatment is initiated in the early stage. No studies compare the three, so think about which one is easier to take and at the best price.
Evidence shows that starting antiviral therapy with one of these three medications at the very start of a herpes outbreak on your mouth is your best chance to relieve pain and shorten the outbreak:
Depending on the dose, 25 pills of acyclovir typically cost about $12 $20, though some pharmacy generic discount programs have it available for less. Famciclovir runs about $20 and under for the 1500 mg dose , and from $20 $25 for the 750 mg doses . Valacylovir may be the best combination of price and convenience in some cases, at around $15 at some pharmacies for the four 1 g tablets required for a full course.All are typically considered Tier 1 prescriptions by insurance, meaning youll pay only your lowest copay.
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How Is Herpes Simplex Treated
Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.
Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:
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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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex
You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.
If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:
- Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
- Touching the skin near their mouth.
If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:
- Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
- Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.
Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.
If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:
- Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.
Where Can I Get Medications For Herpes
The most common antiviral medications used to manage herpes simplex symptoms are available by prescription. If you have symptoms such as a cold sore or genital herpes, call your doctors office. They will first diagnose if you have herpes simplex. Then they will prescribe an appropriate medication to manage your symptoms.
Only docosanol is an antiviral medication available over the counter as a cream to manage oral symptoms such as cold sores or fever blisters.
- pain relievers such ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with pain
- cold compress or ice to soothe burning or itching
- zinc oxide topical cream, which may help soothe itching or burning
Before trying over the counter medications or supplements, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your symptoms.
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What Do Genital Herpes Symptoms Look Like
Other symptoms can include:
- tingling or burning around the genitals
- feeling unwell, with aches, pains and flu-like symptoms
- unusual vaginal discharge in women.
Many people with genital herpes wont get any symptoms, or may get symptoms for the first time months or even years after they were infected.
For most people, the blisters go away within one to two weeks. Although the outbreaks clear-up by themselves, the virus stays in the body. This means that people usually get blisters again which is called having a recurrent outbreak. Outbreaks usually become shorter and less severe over time.
Avoid The Following While You Are Using Acyclovir Buccal Delayed
- Do not chew gum, touch, or press the buccal tablet after it has been applied.
- Do not wear upper dentures.
- Do not brush your teeth until it dissolves. If your teeth need to be cleaned while the tablet is in place, rinse the mouth gently.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Your symptoms should improve during your treatment with acyclovir. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
Take or use acyclovir until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking acyclovir too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated or may become more difficult to treat. The delayed-release buccal tablet is applied as a one-time dose.
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Treatment Of Recurrent Infection
Recurrences of herpes are often mild and infrequent, and most patients do not seek treatment. Drug therapy to prevent recurrences is available and effective, but because of cost and inconvenience issues, it is traditionally reserved for use in patients who have more than six outbreaks per year. Suppressive therapy in these patients is intended to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes symptoms, decrease the transmission of HSV to sexual partners and infants of infected mothers, and decrease the transmission of associated viral diseases . Unfortunately, only the first goal has yet proved to be attainable.
Acyclovir has been used to suppress recurrences of genital herpes, decreasing the frequency by as much as 80 percent and preventing recurrence by as much as 45 percent of patients.6 Successful suppression for as long as five years without adverse effects has been reported.3 The drug is titrated from a starting dose of 400 mg twice daily to achieve maximal efficacy with the lowest, least frequent dose.1 Therapy should be discontinued once a year to assess whether its continuation is necessary. In addition, cost and compliance should be discussed with the patient. Acyclovir resistance has not been a problem in immunocompetent patients but has been documented in 4 percent of HIV-infected persons.1
Dosages and Characteristics of Chronic Suppressive Treatment Regimens for Recurrent Genital Herpes Infection
This dosage is not FDA-labeled for this indication.