Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases today. This disease is caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, a part of the Herpesviridae family of viruses. The Herpes Simplex virus is caused by two strains, the type 1 or HSV 1, and the type 2 or HSV 2. The type 1 strain causes symptoms such as blisters and lesions in the areas around and inside the mouth while the type 2 (genital herpes) strain causes those symptoms to appear around the area of the sex organs.
These two strains of the Herpes Simplex virus cause extreme pain and discomfort when it infects humans. Though not life-threatening, people infected could easily transmit the virus through contact with the infected skin area. The reason why this infection causes so much pain is because the virus resides and multiplies around the nerve endings of the skin area. Though infection is common in either the mouth area or the genital area, these symptoms may appear on any part of the skin.
How to Treat Herpes?
There is no cure for the herpes virus. Although there is no herpes cure to date, there atre ways to treat the herpes virus. Living a healthy lifestyle and eating right will make your immune system better. Many healthy people live with HSV-1 and HSV-2 without even being aware they carry the virus. An individual may not know they are spreading the herpes virus to others and this is one of the reasons why it continues to spread.
Prevention from Herpes
The only sure way to prevent herpes is to avoid direct contact with the virus. This means avoiding contact with either oral or genital regions that have the infection. This can be very difficult because the virus is still contagious while sores may not be visible.
Some suggestions to prevent picking up the genital herpes virus are:
Refrain from sexual activity when blisters are present in the genital regions. Condoms can help if they cover the infected area, but are not 100% effective. Cleaning the genital region after sex can help also as long as one was also wearing a condom. Avoid ejaculating inside the vagina if sores are present in the urethra.
Some suggestions to preventing oral herpes outbreaks are:
Using a lip protectant to avoid cracks and abrasions that can more easily be infected will hep prevent oral herpes outbreaks. Maintaining a healthy immune system through adequate sleep and nutrition will help your body to better fight against a potential outbreak. Maintaining a low level of stress will also help to reduce outbreaks.
Herpes Treatments can be broken down into the following categories:
Over the counter and prescription antiviral medications can help shorten and prevent outbreaks for a period of time. These first came on the market approximately fifteen years ago. Acyclovir is the most common prescription but there are now many options and your doctor should be consulted about what drugs could help treat your particular case of herpes. Make sure to see a doctor while you still have the outbreak. In the meantime, non-prescription painkillers can also help dull the pain.
Topical Ointments for Herpes:
Topical creams and topical suppressive therapy for herpes symptoms can speed healing and help reduce transmission to partners. There are several options, but again, your doctor should be consulted about your particular case of herpes. Some topical ointments can keep the infected area too wet, and hinder healing.
Home Remedies for Herpes:
Proper nutrition and a healthy immune system is one of the best ways of controlling the virus. Don’t neglect nutrition, exercise, stress management and rest. Some important home remedies include:
*Keeping the infected are as clean and dry as possible.
*A moistened teabag has tannic acid with antiviral properties that can help speed healing.
*Avoiding foods with high acid content (citrus fruit for example), which can exacerbate oral sores.
*Avoiding tight fitting clothing which can irritate the sores and can cause spreading.
*Luke warm baths help with pain and hygiene.
*Aloe Vera may help speed healing.
Natural healing formulas made from essential oils have also become available in the past few years. These have been shown to have anti-viral properties against herpes simplex. These include: mint extracts, echinacea creams, tea tree oils, gypse mushrooms, propolis resin, and extracts from the plant propolis vulgaris.
What Are The Main Symptoms of Herpes?
Symptoms of herpes vary depending on the person. Symptoms are typically characterized by periodic eruptions of bumps, blisters and lesions. Most often, small red bumps appear first, develop into watery blisters, and then become itchy, painful sores that develop scabs. These tend to occur in the oral or genital regions, depending on the type of herpes contracted. The blisters often resemble those seen in chickenpox (a sub-form of herpes, HHV-3). Sores typically last two to four weeks, but recur in frequent intervals. The first outbreak is usually the worst and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. However, many infected people only show very minor signs that they have the disease.
Common Symptoms of Herpes: Oral Herpes
By far the two most common forms of herpes are oral herpes and genital herpes. Oral herpes cause ulcerative lesions in the oral region that are commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. Fever blisters or cold sores usually look like tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters on the face (most commonly on the corner of your lips). They can also occur on any part of a mucous membrane, including: blisters under the nose, on the tongue, inside the cheek, on your gums, or the roof of your mouth. These lesions are sometimes accompanied by flu-like symptoms. The number of blisters varies from one to a cluster of many. A cold sore usually clears by itself in one to two weeks. The blisters typically become very itchy or sensitive, and eventually these blisters break on their own, allowing the fluid contents to ooze. In due course, scabs form, leaving slightly red skin. These marks will not scar, but avoid scratching or picking at them excessively, as this may encourage scarring and spreading the virus.
Common Symptoms of Herpes: Genital Herpes
Genital herpes cause similar legions to those in oral herpes, but focused in the genital region (including the genitals, buttocks, or anal area). The severity and frequency of symptoms can vary a great deal from person to person. Some people experience severe outbreaks with painful burning and multiple blisters and sores, while others sense only mild discomforts. Typically, symptoms appear within two weeks of having sexual contact with an infected person. Symptoms can then last two to three weeks. These can include:
An itching or burning feeling in the genital or anal region may be a sign of genital herpes. Flu-like symptoms, vaginal discharge swollen glands, pain in the legs, buttocks or genital area are also signs that you may have genital herpes. Small red bumps that turn into blisters that will become open sores is also a sign of the herpes virus.
When Will I See Herpes Symptoms And How Long Will They Last?
Once you have been exposed to the virus through direct skin-to-skin contact, it can take anywhere from two to twenty days before you first experience symptoms. The first outbreak of herpes is usually the worst one you will experience. On average, the first herpes outbreak lasts two weeks in men and about three weeks in women.
Potential to Confuse Herpes with Other Symptoms
Genital herpes can be tricky to diagnose. People often confuse herpes outbreaks with an outbreak of boils. Boils are larger and more painful, but unlike with herpes, a variety of cures are readily available. Women can also misdiagnose or mistake herpes sores in the vagina for other types of infection. It is not uncommon for a physician to misdiagnose herpes as a yeast infection or other forms of inflammatory disease.
Of course, your physician is your best bet for a proper diagnosis. It is important to visit your doctor if you think you have an outbreak. The best way for your health care provider to diagnose genital herpes is by looking at the sores while you still have an outbreak.
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