Herpes: What Is It?
As one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world, Herpes comes in two forms: herpes type 1, which is oral herpes or cold sores, and herpes type 2, which is much more serious, coming in the form of genital herpes. Currently, there is no cure for herpes, but there are treatment options available for those infected with the virus. Keep in mind however that there are no vaccines available for treating the virus.
Unfortunately, with herpes, an individual could carry the disease without ever realizing that they are infected, which leads to more people being affected. This is called an asymptomatic carrier, asymptomatic meaning that they show no signs of infection. When an individual has the virus, it digs deep into their ganglion of nerves where it remains inactive until viral shedding occurs. The viral shedding stage is when the virus is most contagious as the virus is replicating itself on the surface of an individual’s skin.
Herpes: How Do You Treat It
Doctors tend to prescribe antiviral medication for herpes, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. Mentioned previously, there is no cure for herpes, however, antiviral drugs will decrease the rate of transmission and the seriousness of outbreaks. If you take this medication daily, the chance of the virus spreading to one’s partner during viral shedding will be cut in half.
Currently, the two types of treatment for herpes is as followed: intermittent treatment and suppressive treatment. If an individual has outbreaks frequently, a doctor might recommend suppressive treatment. This type of treatment consists of taking antiviral medication daily, which will reduce symptoms of outbreaks and prevent the risk of transmission. On the other hand, if you have a specific kind of outbreak, you might need to participate in intermittent treatment. This treatment involves taking antiviral medication that helps to treat specific kinds of flare-ups. In intermittent treatment, an individual should take the medication for roughly two to five days as soon as signs of an outbreak start to appear. This will help to end the outbreak quickly and it also helps to alleviate pain caused by sores. Generally speaking, most doctors will recommend suppressive treatment if the virus is starting to affect one’s day to day life.
Alternative treatment options that help reduce outbreaks and the pain caused by the flare-ups include; topical creams to help alleviate pain, loose clothing to prevent chafing and medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen for pain relief or fever symptoms.
Herpes: How Do You Deal With It?
Mentioned above, herpes is incurable and there are no vaccines available for treatment. With 60 to 90% of the world infected with the herpes type 1 virus, this is an extremely common sexually transmitted disease. With that said, the medical community is working towards developing vaccines for herpes treatment.
It’s important to note that as the years pass, the rate of recurrence will drop in a person as the flare-ups become less severe and occur farther and farther apart. Additionally, if you discover what is triggering your flare-ups, you can start to minimize them. For example, getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, and avoiding stressors, can all help to lessen the frequency of an outbreak. If you have more questions about how herpes can be treated or tested for, consult a physician as soon as possible.
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