What Do You Know About Herpes?
Herpes simplex is the common viral infection. If you ever had a cold sore or fever blister, you might have picked up the herpes simplex virus. Herpes can appear in various parts of the body but, most commonly on mouth and genitals. There are two types of herpes simplex virus. HSV-1 is known as oral herpes and HSV-2, is generally responsible for genital herpes outbreaks.
Causes of Herpes
Herpes simplex virus spread from person to person through close contact. You can get a herpes virus from touching herpes sores. Most people, however, get herpes simplex virus from an infected person who doesn’t have sores. Doctors call this “asymptomatic viral shedding”. A person usually gets HSV-2 through sexual contact. About 20% of the sexually active adults in the United States carry HSV 2. Some people are more likely to get HSV 2 and these people:
- Have had many sex partners
- Have or had another sexually transmitted infection.
- Have a weekend immune system due a disease or medicine
Symptoms of Herpes
Most people do not have apparent symptoms for many months, or even years after becoming infected. Those who do have symptoms during the initial period will usually notice them about 4-7 days after infected. Some symptoms are
- Eye infection
- Urinating problems
During an outbreak, a dermatologist often can diagnose herpes simplex by looking at the sores. To confirm that patient has herpes, a dermatologist may take a swab from a sore and send this swab to a laboratory. When sores are not present, other medical tests such as blood test can find the herpes simplex virus. There is no cure for this disease but, the good news is that sores often clear without treatment. Many people choose the treatment of herpes simplex because treatment can relieve the symptoms and shorten the outbreak. People usually use antiviral medicine, ointment and cream which can give you relieve from burning, itching and tingling. An antiviral medicine that is oral (pills) can shorten an outbreak of herpes. There are 3 tested and approved antiviral medicines that can treat both types of herpes are acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir.
Antiviral Medicines for Herpes
Acyclovir is an antiviral medicine that slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus in the body. It will not cure herpes, but it can lessen the symptoms of the infection. Take acyclovir for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better if you take this medicine in correct timing.
Famciclovir is an antiviral and it works by blocking reproduction of the virus. It is used to treat recurring herpes skin infections in patients who have HIV infections. Famciclovir is also used to treat recurring cold sores and to treat or suppress recurring genital herpes. Do not use this medicine if you are allergic to any ingredient in famciclovir or to penciclovir.
Valacyclovir is also an antiviral and it slows the growth and spread of the herpes virus to help the body fight the infection. Valacyclovir is used to treat infections caused by herpes virus, including genital herpes, cold sores and shingles (herpes zoster in adults). Valacyclovir is used to treat cold sores in children who are at least 12 years old or chickenpox in children who are at least 2 years old. Valacyclovir will not cure this disease and will not prevent you from spreading the virus to other people. However, this medicine can lessen the symptoms of an infection.
But, these all medicines have some side-effected that we insert into our body with each dosage. To know more about why you should never use antivirals for herpes, click here.
Taken daily, these medicines can lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks. They also can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus. To reduce the risk of developing or passing herpes virus try to avoid these things: do not have sex while symptoms are present, do not kiss when there is cold sore around the mouth and do not have many sexual partners.