101 Things You Need to Know About Herpes

1. Genital herpes is caused by two forms of the herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 or HSV-2.
2. Most oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, and most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2.

3. Most people do not show signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.

4. at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or 20% of U. S. adolescents and adults, have had genital herpes.

5. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of eight).

6. Both herpes Type 1 and 2 can be transmitted by contact with the sores that the herpes viruses cause, but also between outbreaks (sometimes called OBs) via “shedding” from skin that does not have a sore on it.

7. Herpes transmission frequently occurs from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore, and may not even know that he or she is infected with the virus.

8. Genital OBs of HSV-1 recur less frequently than genital outbreaks caused by HSV-2.

9. First symptoms of genital herpes, they can be quite intense. Subsequent OBs are more mild. Symptoms can include:

10. small area of redness, sometimes with raised bumps or fluid-filled blisters;

11. Itching, burning or tingling in the genital area;

12. Flu-like symptoms (headache, swollen glands, fever);

13. Painful urination and/or discharge.

14. Initial herpes outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores usually heal within two to four weeks.

15. Sometimes, a person does not become aware of the infection until years after it is acquired.

16. Do not squeeze OB blisters because that may cause infection to spread.

17. Genital herpes infection can be more severe in people with immune systems depressed due to other causes.

18. Genital herpes can cause psychological distress in people who know they are infected, due particularly to the attached social stigma.

19. Any area in the groin can be affected by genital herpes.

20. Herpes is not the only infection that causes genital sores. Bacterial infections have also been known to cause sores that resemble herpes sores. So, it’s best to get tested.

21. Genital herpes can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.

22. Genital herpes can sometimes be diagnosed by visual inspection of the outbreak, or by taking an actual sample from a sore.

23. The only sure way to avoid getting herpes and other STDs is abstinence, or a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected.

24. If you inform your partner of your herpes, you can discuss it instead of making excuses as to why you don’t want to have sex.

25. Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 carries an 80-90% chance of OBs.

26. Genital herpes caused by HSV-1 carries a 50% chance of OBs.

27. OB sores can occur in areas that are not covered by a latex condom, so condoms are not fool-proof in protecting from contracting genital herpes.

28. Even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners.

29. You can’t get herpes from swimming pools, towels or toilet seats.

30. Frequency and severity of herpes OBs vary between individuals.

31. The most common symptom of genital herpes is one or more sores or blisters that appear on the genitals, anus, buttocks.

32. Some things thought to trigger Obs are:

33. stress;

34. anxiety;

35. other illnesses;

36. menstruation;

37. and extreme weather exposure.

38. OBs are most common in the first year after infection with herpes.

39. Oftentimes signs like tingling, itching, numbness or tenderness where the sores will appear occur a few days before an OB.

40. Genital herpes can be well managed with medication, stress management and healthy eating.

41. Genital herpes infections almost never cause long-term damage in healthy adults.

42. Research has shown that genital herpes does not cause cervical or any other types of cancers.

43. With proper treatment and open communication, most people with herpes find they can have normal, healthy, enjoyable relationships.

44. Symptoms of the herpes virus can be similar to symptoms of other diseases, so the best way to be sure whether you have it to get tested.

45. For immediate relief from an OB:

46. You can take warm baths or hold ice packs on the sores for several minutes.

47. You can wear loose cotton clothes to prevent chafing.

48. Keep the area dry with baby powder or cornstarch.

49. You can take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to relieve pain and fever.

50. Women who get herpes before becoming pregnant have a low risk of passing the virus to the baby.

51. Risk of infant herpes increases if mother gets herpes during final trimester of pregnancy.

52. A genital herpes diagnosis in a long-term, monogamous relationship does not mean a partner was unfaithful.

53. Herpes can be transmitted through oral sex.

54. There is no absolute cure for the herpes infection at this time.

55. If you have genital herpes, avoid (or reduce) activities that may affect OBs, like:

56. poor diet;

57. overexertion;

58. emotional or physical stress;

59. lack of sleep;

60. excess alcohol;

61. and surgical trauma.

62. Excessive friction during intercourse may trigger OBs.

63. Genital herpes does not mean that your sex life is over.

64. Approximately 70% of genital herpes cases result from asymptomatic shedding, when no signs or symptoms exist.

65. It’s been reported that people who tell their partners of their diagnosis are rarely rejected.

66. Herpes has not been found to affect fertility or ability to have children.

67. Research suggests that when someone has both HIV and HSV, the HIV virus may be increased in genital secretions, increasing the risk of HIV transmission to sexual partners.

68. Cold sores and canker sores are not related, though people mistake the two.

69. Cold sores are contagious.

70. Canker sores are not contagious.

71. Cold sores appear around the mouth and symptoms include:

72. tiny, fluid-filled blisters or sores around the mouth, surrounded by red (inflamed) skin;

73. days before appearance of blisters soreness or tingling around mouth area;

74. and, discomfort and appearance of blisters generally last between 7 and 10 days.

75. Cold sores can sometimes be found on nostrils, chin or fingers.

76. Oral herpes OB can occur from contact with someone who has an active lesion through activities like sharing eating utensils, razors and towels.

77. Cold sores typically heal without medicine But you may want to seek medical attention if:

78. the blisters don’t go away within one to two weeks;

79. you have a pre-existing health condition that has put your immune system at risk;

80. symptoms are severe;

81. you have frequent outbreaks;

82. or if eye irritation occurs.

83. Some people are at greater risk of contracting cold sores and should be avoided, including:

84. infants;

85. people with eczema;

86. or people with a suppressed immune system caused by cancer, AIDS or an organ transplant.

87. If herpes infects the eye, it can cause corneal scarring — one of the major causes of blindness in the U. S.

88. Expectant mothers must alert their physician if either she or her partner has genital herpes.

89. To protect yourself and your partner from contracting oral herpes and to avoid spreading it to other body parts:

90. don’t kiss or have skin contact with infected persons during an OB;

91. don’t share items like eating utensils, towels, lip balm;

92. during OBs, wash your hands carefully and regularly;

93. use caution when touching other body parts, especially eyes and genitals

94. avoid stressful situations, like cold or flu, lack of sleep or prolonged sun exposure without sunblock;

95. and, use sunblock on lips and face prior to prolonged sun exposure- in winter and summer.

96. In some cases, the decision to not use condoms may be agreed upon in a relationship where both partners understand the risks of contracting genital herpes.

97. Because of society’s negative misconceptions about genital herpes, you should prepare yourself before approaching others about the topic.

98. Discuss your genital herpes with a partner when you are not ‘in the mood’ for sex, when you’re feeling confident, and when you can pay full attention to the conversation.

99. Anywhere you feel safe and comfortable is a good place to talk about herpes with a partner.

100. Discussing genital herpes may strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together as a couple.

101. Some people find that seeking counseling helps them cope with their diagnosis.

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