Herpes is a viral infection that can cause blisters or sores around the mouth or genitals, although some people never have symptoms. Characteristic symptoms of genital herpes include small blistering lesions, also known as cold sores, which are usually found around the genitals, rectum, or mouth. A person with an oral herpes outbreak may first feel itchy, burning, or tingling around the mouth, lips, or tongue. After an initial outbreak of genital herpes, more outbreaks are likely to occur since the virus never completely goes away. Although there is no cure for genital herpes, daily use of antiviral medications can prevent or shorten outbreaks.
Antiviral medicines can also reduce the chance of infecting others. People can prevent the spread of herpes by practicing safe sex and personal hygiene, such as washing their hands during an outbreak. If a person has fewer than six recurrences of genital herpes per year, the doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication for each recurrence. Since oral herpes can be confused with many other infections, including allergic reactions, the only ways to confirm the diagnosis are through a viral culture (PCR), blood test, or biopsy. Outbreaks of oral herpes can last two to three weeks, which may be less than the two to six weeks after an outbreak of genital herpes.
If you have herpes simplex, you're more likely to transmit the virus to another person when you have sores. Since oral herpes is spread through direct physical contact, the best prevention method is to avoid physical contact with a person's herpetic sores when an outbreak occurs. It can be annoying, but herpes doesn't get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs do. Many people who discover that they have herpes become depressed because they know that they will always have the virus and that they can transmit it to others. People who have open sores due to genital herpes are twice as likely to get HIV compared to people without herpes. It can help prevent future herpes outbreaks and reduce your chances of transmitting herpes to your partners.
Genital herpes outbreaks tend to occur less frequently and become shorter and weaker after a few years, regardless of whether they receive treatment or not. If a person has a weakened immune system and has genital herpes, there is rarely an increased risk of developing inflammation of the brain, eyes, esophagus, lungs, or liver, as well as a generalized infection. The best way to treat herpes early is by taking antiviral medications daily. This will help prevent or shorten outbreaks and reduce your chance of infecting others. Additionally, practicing safe sex and personal hygiene such as washing your hands during an outbreak can help prevent the spread of the virus.
If you have fewer than six recurrences per year, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication for each recurrence. If you suspect that you have oral or genital herpes, it is important to get tested in order to confirm the diagnosis. Outbreaks of oral herpes can last two to three weeks while outbreaks of genital herpes can last two to six weeks. It is important to avoid physical contact with a person's herpetic sores when an outbreak occurs in order to prevent transmission of the virus.