Frequently Asked Questions

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital Herpes is a viral infection normally transmitted by sexual contact.  It is caused by the same strain of herpes that causes chickenpox and shingles.

Genital herpes is normally caused by herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2).  But it can also be caused by herpes simplex 1(HSV-1).  Herpes simplex 1 is normally associated with facial herpes or cold sores.

Genital herpes is not life threatening and does not have any long term health issues.  Anyone who is sexually active can catch genital herpes.

What are the Symptoms of Herpes?

Your first episode of herpes will include illness and fever.  You may have some joint pain, muscle aches and irritation around the infected area.    This will last for several days, with the infected area becoming red.  The area will develop blisters which will burst, leaving sores that will crust over and heal.

Is herpes common?

Genital herpes is very common.  In the U. S. one in five people have genital herpes, and over 90% of those people do not even know they have it.  Over 80% of the U.S. population has herpes simplex one or cold sores.

How do I get tested for herpes?

There are many different tests available.  If you have the herpes virus, these tests will tell you.  These tests will give you a timely and accurate result in less than a day.  Here is a good option Herpes Test

Can I spread the virus to other parts of my body?

You usually will not spread the virus to other parts of your body.  The infection is usually located in one part of your body.  There have been instances where the virus was spread to the eyes or genitals with your hands.  When you have open sores DO NOT get the fluid in your eyes, mouth or genital area.  Wash your hands often.

What is asymptomatic shedding?

Asymptomatic shedding means the virus is on the skin, but there is no outbreak.  If enough of the virus is shed when you are having direct contact with someone, you may give them the virus.

Many people are asymptomatic carriers, which means they are carrying the virus and do not know it.  Two out of three people who come down with the virus get it from a asymptomatic carrier.

Why do I have Recurrences?

Once an outbreak clears up the virus travels from the skins surface to the nerve ganglion.  Here it will stay dormant just like chickenpox does from your childhood years.

The recurrence happens when the virus is set off or triggered by something.  It will then travel back to the surface, enter your skin cells causing another blister.  Recurrences normally happen in the same area of the body.

You will feel a tingling, burning or sharp pain to the infected just before an outbreak.  This is called prodomes or prodromal symptoms.

What can I do to stop the discomfort?

  1. Take a pain killer like ibuprofen, this will help with the pain and reduce the swelling.
  2. Wash your hands before you touch or handle your blisters.  This will keep you from spreading other bacteria into the sores.
  3. Apply ointment such as lidocaine, also try dabbing the area with milk.
  4. Take a bath to sooth the pain and keep your sores clean.
  5. Add an icepack to reduce pain.  Keep it on for as long as your want, but do not put ice directly on the sores.

For more suggestions check out Herpes home remedies

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