Recurrent Herpes Simplex Labialis
According to the World Health Organization , an estimated two out of three adults in the world under age 50 carry this virus.
The condition causes blisters and sores on the lips, mouth, tongue, or gums. After an initial outbreak, the virus stays dormant inside the nerve cells of the face.
Later on in life, the virus can reactivate and result in more sores. These are commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters.
Recurrent herpes simplex labialis usually isnt serious, but relapses are common. Many people choose to treat the recurrent episodes with over-the-counter creams.
The symptoms will usually go away without treatment in a few weeks. A doctor may prescribe medications if relapses occur often.
Treatments For Herpes In Pregnancy
There is no cure for herpes. Once you contract the virus, it remains in a bundle of nerves near your spine and can become active again at any time. Some people have outbreaks frequently, but others have them only rarely.
You might not notice any symptoms during a recurrence, so you may not know when you’re having one. However, your body still sheds the virus at these times, which means you can pass the virus to your baby during labor and birth.
Antiviral medication can help prevent or shorten outbreaks. Antiviral therapy is often recommended for women who have recurrences of symptoms during pregnancy.
Use The Luminance Red
The Luminance RED is a breakthrough cold sore treatment that harnesses powerful light technology to shorten healing time and decrease the frequency of new outbreaks.
This FDA-registered device nourishes the skin with red light, which is metabolized to accelerate the bodys healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Regular use of the Luminance RED not only shortens the healing time of active outbreaks, but it can prevent future outbreaks altogether!
The Luminance RED was designed with ideal wavelength and irradiance specifications to maximize efficiency in treating and preventing cold sore outbreaks. Thanks to the Luminance RED, light therapy has become one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent unwanted cold sore and genital herpes outbreaks.
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Can You Get Herpes On Your Tongue
While you may associate herpes type 1 with cold sores on your lips, it is possible to suffer from the symptoms of herpes on your tongue. This is referred to as oral herpes and usually affects more of your mouth than just your tongue. More than half of all adults in the United States are thought to have oral herpes.
Introduction To The Herpes Virus
Herpes is a contagious viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus . There are two types of herpes simplex virus infections. HSV-2 mainly responsible for genital herpes. The herpes virus is a large, enveloped DNA virus that infects a wide range of vertebrates. It is highly capable of establishing lifelong latent infections. Humans are the only natural host and sole reservoir for virus transmission.
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Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md
Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at sexualhealthTV.com.
Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.
How Often Do Outbreaks Occur
The number of outbreaks someone has varies from person to person. The average number of outbreaks for a person with genital HSV-2 is four to five per year. The average for genital HSV-1 is less than one outbreak per year.
Usually, there are more outbreaks during the first year, and many people find that outbreaks become less severe and less frequent with time.
Herpes triggers are highly individual, but with time, many people learn to recognize, and sometimes avoid, factors that seem to reactivate HSV in their own bodies. Illness, poor diet, emotional or physical stress, friction in the genital area, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light , surgical trauma, and steroidal medication may trigger a herpes outbreak.
The frequency of outbreaks can often be managed through effective stress management, and getting adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. For people with frequent outbreaks, suppressive therapy with any one of the antiviral treatments can reduce outbreaks by as much as 80%.
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Try Taking The Supplement Lysine
In terms of taking supplements to prevent breakouts, I especially recommend L-lysine. This is the primary supplement for herpes, Gade says. L-lysine is an amino acid, a building block of protein. When you have an outbreak, it can be taken orally to shorten the outbreak in conjunction with an antiviral medication.
Lysine appears to be useful in reducing the number and the severity of outbreaks. The usual daily dose is between 1 and 3 milligrams.
Some studies suggest that taking lysine regularly may help prevent outbreaks of both cold sores and herpes sores. In Gades experience, patients have had no side effects using lysine. In some people, though, there have been reports of the supplement causing abdominal pain and diarrhea.
How Do I Talk To My Sex Partners
Telling them about your condition can be hard. Take some time to learn what you can and understand your own feelings first. You may be more at ease to talk openly.
Some people you tell might not think its such a big deal. Others will have strong feelings about it.
You cant control how anyone else reacts. All you can do is share what you know, answer questions, and give them time to think about it.
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Onset Of First Outbreak
The first outbreak of oral herpes usually develops within about one to three weeks after infection. This initial outbreak may last for up to three weeks.
With genital herpes, the first outbreak usually occurs within about two to 20 days. Similar to oral herpes, the initial outbreak may last as long as three weeks.
Preventing The Spread Of Herpes
Even when you do not have sores, you can pass the virus to someone during sexual or other close contact. To protect others:
- Let any sexual partner know that you have herpes before having sex. Allow them to decide what to do.
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms, and avoid sex during symptomatic outbreaks.
- Do not kiss or have oral sex when you have a sore on the lips or inside the mouth.
- Do not share your towels, toothbrush, or lipstick. Make sure dishes and utensils you use are washed well with detergent before others use them.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching a sore.
- Consider using daily antiviral medicine to limit viral shedding and reduce the risk of passing the virus to your partner.
- You may also want to consider getting your partner tested even if they have never had an outbreak. If you both have the herpes virus, there is no risk for transmission.
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How To Prevent Herpes In Pregnancy
The best way to prevent herpes is to have sex only with a long-term partner who doesn’t have the infection and has sex only with you.
To lower your risk of getting herpes , don’t have sex with a partner who has sores or other symptoms of herpes, and always use latex condoms for vaginal or as well as a dental dam for oral sex.
Note: Birth control pills, shots, implants, and diaphragms do not protect you from herpes or other STIs.
If your partner has had herpes for years without passing the infection to you, it’s important to take extra precautions now that you’re pregnant.
Guidelines to follow throughout pregnancy:
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact near your partner’s genitals or mouth during an active outbreak or whenever your partner feels one coming on.
- Use latex condoms when you have sex, even if your partner isn’t having an outbreak. Condoms don’t always prevent transmission, but they’ll reduce your risk.
Guidelines for the third trimester:
- It’s most critical to avoid contracting herpes close to your due date, so skip intercourse and other genital contact altogether in your third trimester, even if your partner doesn’t have any sores or symptoms.
- Skip oral sex in the third trimester if your partner has ever had oral herpes.
Herpes isn’t the only sexually transmitted infection that can affect your pregnancy. Here’s an article outlining which sexually transmitted infections might be cause for concern and why.
Prevent The Spread Of Herpes
If you have herpes, . Talk about what it is and what you and your partner need to know and do to protect themselves. Avoid skin-to-skin contact during outbreaks and refrain from all sexual activity during these times. In between outbreaks, you should still because there is still the potential of spreading the virus.
This is an update of an article originally written by HealthCentral contributor Penelope James.
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If You Have Symptoms Find Out What Youre Dealing With
With genital herpes, the biggest mistake people make is not seeking medical advice, says Gade.
People often find the signs or symptoms of a first herpes outbreak confusing, says Gade. You may mistake herpes symptoms for those of a yeast infection and try curing that condition on your own. But if your healthcare provider diagnoses you with herpes, the first line of treatment will be antiviral medications.
, you can make matters worse by putting things on the herpes sores that you shouldnt put on the sores, she says. People often try using Vaseline, bacitracin, or Aquaphor to soothe the itchy or painful eruptions.
Honestly, not putting anything on the sores is best, says Gade. Do keep the area clean and dry, though.
Warm compresses applied to tender or painful areas can help. So can sitting in a warm bath, using Epsom salt.
Sometimes people have enormous pain with urination, says Gade. For relief, you can urinate in your bathwater or while taking a shower to dilute the urine stream and lessen the sensation. You can also use warm water in a spray bottle to dilute the stream while youre urinating.
How Can I Protect My Sex Partners
You can take steps to protect others from herpes. Keep in mind that you can spread it even when you dont have symptoms.
Avoid sex during outbreaks: Youre more likely to give your partner herpes while you have an outbreak. Avoid sexual contact from the time you notice the first signs, such as tingling or pain, until the scabs fall off and your skin is back to normal.
Try not to touch your sores: If you do, wash your hands right away. A good cleaning may stop the spread to another part of your body or to your partner.
Use condoms: They wont totally protect your partner, but they can lower the chances of spreading the virus.
Talk to your doctor: They might prescribe a drug to make it less likely youll give herpes to someone else. As with condoms, the medicine wont 100% protect your partner.
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How Do You Get Herpes
There are two different herpes viruses: Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 .
While rare, a mother can pass genital herpes to the baby during vaginal childbirth.
Herpes is most easily transmitted when sores are open and wet, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. But herpes can also shed and be passed to others when there are no sores and the skin looks totally normal. Most people get herpes from someone who does not have any sores. When used consistently and correctly, condoms help protect against herpes and many other STDs.
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What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Men
In about two-thirds of cases, men will have no symptoms of herpes. Symptoms of herpes in men may include:
It is unclear if genital herpes affects fertility in men because it affects such a large part of the population. However, a recent study found that herpes may lower the sperm count in men and may have an effect on mens ability to get pregnant with a partner.
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At What Stage Is Herpes Contagious
Its important to note that herpes is contagious in every stage but is most contagious during the ulcer stage when the blisters have burst open, and fluid is present. Since herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, it is crucial to take preventative measures to stop the spread, including using condoms and dental dams. However, its always advisable to refrain from sexual activity, touching, and kissing when experiencing a herpes outbreak. Wait until you have fully healed before having sexual intercourse, and refrain from touching your sores, since this is an easy way to spread the virus.
An effective way to prevent a herpes outbreak and the spread of herpes is by taking prescription medication from a doctor. Some common medications prescribed for herpes treatment include:
These are all taken in pill form, while severe cases may need to be treated with an acyclovir IV.
Whether oral or genital, you can start treatment during any of the various herpes outbreak stages from onset to healing to prevent another flare-up.
Are you experiencing any signs or symptoms of a herpes outbreak? Book an appointment through the Air Dr app with one of our qualified physicians to get the medical care you need today.
Risks Of Herpes And Pregnancy
Transmitting the infection to your baby during labor and delivery is the biggest concern with genital herpes during pregnancy. If this happens, your baby could have very serious health problems.
You can transmit herpes to your baby during labor and delivery if your body is “shedding” the active virus at that time . The risk is greatest if you get genital herpes for the first time in the third trimester. You can also transmit the virus if you’ve had herpes before and have an outbreak around the time of labor.
In rare cases, if you get an initial herpes infection during your first trimester, the virus could pass through the placenta and cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. Herpes can also be transmitted to your baby after birth, and the complications can be severe.
However, by taking a few precautions and getting proper medical care, you can minimize your baby’s risk of getting infected.
Herpes in newborns generally shows up in one of three ways:
Skin, eye, and mouth infections : Most babies born with herpes get this type of infection. A baby with SEM may have sores at delivery or develop them up to six weeks later, but the sores typically turn up when your baby is between 1 and 2 weeks old.
Herpes sores usually look like blisters and can appear anywhere on a baby’s body. They often appear in a place where there has been a minor skin injury or irritation, like on the arm under the hospital wristband or at the spot where an electrode was placed.
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Im Pregnant What Do I Need To Know
To get the best care, tell your doctor you have genital herpes, because it could make you more likely to have a miscarriage or give birth too soon.
Its possible to pass along the virus to your baby. For infants, it can be life-threatening. Your doctor can talk to you about how to lower the chances that this will happen.
If you have an outbreak while youre pregnant, your doctor can give you medicine to treat your symptoms and stop them sooner.
Your doctor may give you a drug to prevent an outbreak as your due date gets closer. This is because your baby could get herpes by passing through your birth canal if youre having an outbreak when you go into labor. If thats a possibility, your doctor will most likely want to do a C-section, which is surgery to deliver the baby.
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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When To Call The Doctor
Even though HSV sores can hurt and be unsightly, most cases of herpes do not cause serious illness. The sores go away in a few days. Contact the health provider if:
- Sores are present and you think it might be a first herpes infection. The diagnosis is usually made by examining the sores. If the sores have not healed, sometimes a laboratory test is done.
- Sores do not heal by themselves or show signs of infection such as pus, spreading redness or fever.
- Sores are near the eyes.
- You have another health condition with a weakened immune system.
Recognize The Early Symptoms
You might not be able to stop an outbreak, but you might be able to reduce the severity and length of it. Many people have warning signs of an outbreak, including itching, tingling, genital pain, or shooting pain in the legs, hips, or buttocks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . These signs can occur hours or days before the outbreak, so knowing them gives you the chance to treat the outbreak before it happens.
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