How to Prevent Herpes

If you have herpes, it is important to know the symptoms of a herpes outbreak so you can help prevent the spread of the herpes sores to others. Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the symptoms can be extremely painful.

What is Herpes?

Genital herpes is a blister-like sore around the genitals and anus. It is caused by the herpes simplex 2 virus, also known as HSV-2. Both men and women can have the virus anywhere on the genitals and upper thighs. Women, however, can break out within the vaginal cavity and even on the cervix.

The sores start as an itchy, tingling sensation, then progress to painful red, tiny pustules. These pustules (blisters) can break open and ooze, and the fluid can spread the virus. Not only is the virus spread by the fluid, but it can also be spread even without active blisters present since it is so contagious.

It can be challenging to know when you picked up the herpes virus. While the incubation period is two to twelve days, sometimes the symptoms are so mild, you may not realize you have an infection. The virus then alternates between active and dormant periods. These inactive periods can last for years. It is only during a triggering event that the latent virus will appear. Triggering events can be caused by stress, illness, and hormonal changes — just about anything that lowers your immune system.

You should understand that since herpes is a virus, it cannot be killed completely. Some of the virus will remain in your body for the rest of your life, and only the outbreaks can be treated.

How is Herpes Transferred?

Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. If you were to have sexual intimacy with someone who has a genital herpes outbreak, there is a good chance that you will be infected. It is not just touching, but the sharing of any bodily fluids that contributes to how genital herpes is transmitted.

Can You Get Herpes Besides by Sexual Transmission?

There are mixed opinions regarding research about the spread of herpes. According to the Canadian Public Health Service, the virus can live on dry surfaces for a few hours, and in some dry areas for up to eight weeks. On the contrary viewpoint, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reports that you cannot get herpes from shared things such as a toilet seat. A study done by Kean College of New Jersey found that the HSV virus was found on a test doorknob for up to two hours after being contaminated with it.

So what should you do? How do you avoid getting herpes? It is best that if someone has the HSV-2 virus outbreak, he or she should not share everyday items such as towels and clothing. If the person has a severe outbreak, it might be a good idea to clean the toilet seat after using it to make sure the virus does not remain on it.

Most importantly, though, remember that the more sexual partners you have, the higher the likelihood that you will get herpes. Using a condom will not prevent the spread of the disease, as this only protects the penis and vagina; sores can be anywhere along the genital, anal, and upper thigh areas.

Preventing Herpes

Good news is hopefully on the horizon. The University of Pennsylvania is studying ways to create a herpes vaccine. Two rhesus monkeys were treated with the vaccine, and their immune system prevented the herpes virus. While this is promising, the research study was small. It will need to be replicated in more extensive studies before being used on humans, but there is still hope that this virus will have a vaccine in the coming years.

Treating Herpes

When you have an outbreak, seeking early medical treatment can help relieve some of the painful symptoms. People may consider using home remedies for herpes treatments; however, many of these are not based on scientific research and could increase your risk of infection.

Herpes medications can be helpful to slow down the virus’ growth and reduce the painful symptoms. These are antiviral medications such as valacyclovir, acyclovir, and famciclovir. While the medicines sound similar, they are different and have specific instructions for each of them. It is crucial not to interchange these medications and to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly.

Remember: Herpes treatments work best the sooner the treatment starts. If you have genital herpes or have symptoms that make you suspect that you may have them, you should consider seeking an online medical consultation. The telehealth technology used by Alpha Medical provides instant access to physicians online who can perform a consultation directly from the comfort of your home and provide prescriptions that can be shipped directly to your door. Set up a membership with us to start your treatment today.

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