How to Prevent Herpes Outbreaks?
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If you have genital herpes, medication options and lifestyle changes can clear up a current outbreak of sores while also preventing new ones from occurring!
Transcript: If you have herpes, you aren't alone. 500,00 of this contagious disease are diagnosed every year. So...
If you have herpes, you aren't alone. 500,00 of this contagious disease are diagnosed every year. So what happens after your diagnosis? Once you are diagnosed with the sexually-transmitted virus sex, your doctor will focus on several things: Clearing up your sores and preventing new ones from developing, counseling you regarding how to prevent its spread, and offering testing for other STDs. While herpes can manifest itself as sores on the mouth or eruptions on the genitals, the later is the focus of aggressive treatment. During a genital herpes outbreak...AND in the seven days following...it is important to abstain from all sexual acts, as the virus is particularly contagious at this time. However, genital herpes can be contagious at all times, even when a lesion isn't present. To promote the fastest healing of the blisters, don't pop or touch them and wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear and clothing. You should also be sure to wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch your genitals, to avoid spreading the virus to other people or to other parts of your body. During a herpes outbreak, your doctor will generally provide one of three antiviral medications to help speed healing time: Zovirax, Famvir or Valtrex. Each of these medications, which are taken orally, work to prevent the DNA-replication of the virus that keeps herpes active. After the first treatment, your doctor will work with you to come up with the best way to treat and prevent recurring outbreaks of genital herpes. Sometimes, your doctor will prescribe an intermittent treatment, whereby you'll keep an antiviral medication on hand and begin taking it when you feel the onset of an outbreak. If you have outbreaks more than six times a year, or if you wish to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner, your doctor may recommend suppressive treatment, where you take an antiviral medication every day to reduce the likelihood of developing sores. Aside from medication, your doctor may recommend some easy lifestyle changes that can help reduce occurrences of outbreaks. Eating a diet high in the amino acid lysine and low in the amino acid arginine has been shown to lower the frequency of outbreaks. Foods like yogurt, cheese, bean sprouts, fish, and chicken all meet this criterion. Many people experience "triggers" that can lead to a herpes outbreak. Some common examples include extreme stress, exposure to sunlight, illness, intense sexual activity, or even certain foods, like chocolate. It may help to take note of what factors seem to trigger your attacks, and to avoid them whenever possible. Protect your partner from the spread of the disease by using a condom and taking antiviral medications. But note that while this combination affords better protection than condom use alone, the only guarantee against genital herpes transmission is abstinence. If you're one of the millions of Americans who has genital herpes, please talk to your doctor about the treatment option that is right for you.More »
Last Modified: 2014-02-24 | Tags »
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Cold sores are, well, gross-but don't cringe, learn the facts! Take this quiz to learn about preventing, spreading, and treating cold sores.
Last Modified: 2011-05-06 | Tags »
When a cold sore is blooming on your lip, it seems like everyone is looking at you. But since at least 50 percent of the population has the cold sore virus, there are others who share your pain. Take this survey to see how your experience compares.
Last Modified: 2011-04-20 | Tags »
Are you suffering from cold sores? There are a number of treatments available to help. Watch our video to learn more about cold sore treatments.
Transcript: Cold sores are tiny, fluid-filled blisters that blossom on and around the lips. Caused by a virus known...
Cold sores are tiny, fluid-filled blisters that blossom on and around the lips. Caused by a virus known as herpes simplex virus one, or HSV-1, they affect 15 to 30-percent of the United States population. It's suspected that a much greater percentage of the population-up to 98-percent, in fact!-is infected with HSV-1, but the majority of them do NOT experience cold sore symptoms. Some people who DO have cold sores are actually infected with a similar virus called herpes simplex virus two, or HSV-2. More often though, people with HSV-2 experience genital herpes, which are cold sore-like lesions that appear on the genitals. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are incurable. This is the reason that people who experience cold sores or genital herpes usually have recurrent outbreaks. The good news is that there ARE medications that can help shorten the life of cold sores. These medications can be loosely divided into topical creams and oral antiviral medications. All treatments aimed at HSV are most effective if taken during the prodromal stage of infection which is the first 6 to 48 hours before a cold sore appears. It is usually marked by tingling, itching, or burning at the infection site. Prescription creams used to treat cold sores include penciclovir, which is branded as Denvair, and acyclovir, branded as Zovirax. Both can reduce the pain, itching, and tenderness associated with cold sores, and they may speed healing time by several days. A group of NON-prescription topical creams may offer similar benefits. Abreva is one such example. The first FDA-approved, nonprescription cold sore cream, Abreva shortens the duration and severity of symptoms. Other similar products include Herpecin-L, which moisturizes lips and contains sunscreen, and Viractin, which relieves pain while shortening a cold sore's life. Oral antiviral medications are also popular treatment methods. The three most common are acyclovir, which is branded as Zovirax in a tablet form, valacyclovir, which is sold as Valtrex, and famciclovir. All three medications may shorten the life of cold sores by one to two days. If taken early enough in the prodromal stage, they might even prevent sores from developing at all. Individuals who have very regular or severe outbreaks may take these drugs daily to stop cold sores from occurring. But for those of us with more mild or infrequent attacks, nonprescription and home remedies may be sufficient. All cold sores heal on their own eventually. To get more information about home remedies and nonprescription treatments for cold sores, check out other videos on this site.More »
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Is there a difference between a cold sore and herpes? Watch this video to find out.
Transcript: If you get the occasional cold sore, you've probably heard the word "herpes" used to describe the lesions...
If you get the occasional cold sore, you've probably heard the word "herpes" used to describe the lesions on your mouth.Saying someone "has herpes" means that they are infected with a virus called herpes simplex virus, or HSV. HSV is a HIGHLY contagious virus that comes in two variants: HSV-1 and HSV-2. In most cases, HSV-2 is the virus responsible for genital herpes, the below-the-belt version of cold sores. Cold sores involving the mouth or lips are usually the result of being infected with HSV-1. But it's not always simple: If you have a cold sore and it comes in contact with someone else's genitals, it is possible for that person to contract a form of HSV-1 that will cause sores in the genital area, NOT oral. The same is true in reverse. If a person's mouth makes contact with active herpes on the genitals, he or she can catch a form of HSV-2 that will cause sores around the mouth. In other words, the viruses are similar enough that either type can infect the genitals OR the oral region. It's impossible to get cold sores WITHOUT being infected by one of the herpes viruses, so if you experience them, you do, by definition, have herpes. And both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can't be cured and they won't ever exit the body. That's the bad news. The good news is that herpes is not necessarily a sexually transmitted disease. Believe it or not, most cases of HSV-1 are actually acquired during childhood, often via a kiss from an infected adult. No matter how you contracted it, if you have oral herpes, you're not alone. Depending on which source you reference, anywhere from 50 to 80-percent of the population is infected with HSV-1. Even though many of these people are asymptomatic and unaware of their infections, they do have herpes! If you're concerned about the contagiousness of cold sores, of if you just want to know how to make them heal faster, check out other videos in this series.More »
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What's the difference between cold sores and canker sores? Watch this video about cold sores vs canker sores for the facts.
Transcript: If you've ever had a cold sore or a canker sore, you'll understand why these common oral problems are...
If you've ever had a cold sore or a canker sore, you'll understand why these common oral problems are also two of the most despised. Both conditions cause small, painful, and sometimes embarrassing sores to develop in or around the mouth. So how do these differ? Cold sores, or fever blisters, tend to form OUTSIDE of the mouth, on or around the lips. They may even appear on the cheeks, chin, and nostrils. And canker sores, which are also called aphthous ulcers, occur INSIDE-usually on the tongue, gums and inner cheeks. Fever blisters tend to be tiny clusters of blisters that break open and weep clear fluid before eventually crusting over and healing. Canker sores are more reddish ulcers that quickly burst and are then covered with a thin white membrane during the healing process. Their cause is the most important distinction. Cold sores spring from a highly contagious virus called herpes simplex, or HSV. Like other viruses, HSV is extremely contagious, which means your cold sore could easily infect someone else and vice versa. On the other hand, canker sores are not at all contagious. Although there is no definitive cause, the small ulcers are likely brought on by factors like emotional stress or minor injury, like dental work or rigorous brushing. Other possible causes of canker sores include acidic or allergy-causing foods, hormonal shifts during menstruation, a diet lacking in nutrients like zinc and vitamin B-12, and, less commonly, certain inflammatory conditions. So while it seems that cold sores and canker sores are pretty different, they do have one unpleasant trait in common. Both have the tendency to recur, which means if you've had one cold sore or canker sore, you'll probably have another eventually. It's a bummer, but there ARE things you can do. Check out other videos in this series to learn about preventing and treating cold sores.More »
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Cold sores flare up from time to time, but with some precaution, you can keep them away. Watch this video and learn about cold sore prevention.
Transcript: When Katie Holmes was photographed with a cold sore, the media had a field day mocking her. But there...
When Katie Holmes was photographed with a cold sore, the media had a field day mocking her. But there WERE folks who sympathized. If you were among them, you've probably had at least one cold sore. And it's likely you would do ANYTHING to avoid another. Cold sores, or oral herpes, are caused by a virus known as herpes simplex one, or HSV-1. A similar virus called HSV-2 is the culprit behind most cases of genital herpes, HSV-1's counterpart. Once they infect someone, both of these viruses are unfortunately incurable. Although HSV spends most of its time "sleeping" in the body, sometimes it will "wake up." When that happens, HSV will travel back to the sight of the initial infection-the lips, in this case. That's why cold sores come back again and again. The bad news--there is no way to "kill" HSV and no way to boot it permanently from your body. But there ARE measures you can take to prevent it from paying a visit. Most importantly, you should pinpoint what triggers your cold sore outbreaks and avoid those things. Common triggers include stress, fatigue, sunlight, getting the flu or a cold, allergies, menstruating, and even some cosmetic procedures. So take precautions: like using sunblock on your face AND your lips all year round which, I hope, you're doing anyway. You also need to take care of yourself, get plenty of sleep and carve out time to do things you enjoy. Try to avoid colds and the flu by meticulously washing your hands and getting a flu shot. If you already get cold sores and your partner also gets them, don't kiss when either of you has an outbreak. You should also refrain from sharing utensils, lip balm, cups, and definitely toothbrushes - (which you should never share anyway!) during an outbreak. But here's some good news: with your doctor's permission, you might be able to pop a supplement called L-Lysine to help prevent cold sores. It's an amino acid which may stop the herpes virus from replicating in the body. Many HSV-1 sufferers swear by it. And, L-Lysine is also found in foods like turkey, flounder, chicken, eggs, yogurt, cheese, and soy beans If you get cold sores, you might also want to cut back on foods like nuts, seeds, peas, and chocolate. These foods all contain lots of arginine, an amino acid that HELPS the herpes virus to multiply in the body. Don't freak out if you still get cold sores - just follow the advice in this video and - check out other videos in this series for in-the-moment treatment methods.More »
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Do you have to avoid kissing if you or your partner has a cold sore? Watch this videofor info about cold sores and kissing.
Transcript: A common question I hear in my office is "Do you have to abstain from kissing just because one of you...
A common question I hear in my office is "Do you have to abstain from kissing just because one of you has a cold sore?" In a word, YES...for awhile. Cold sores are caused by a highly contagious virus called herpes simplex, or HSV. It comes in two types known as HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the more common form of the virus and the culprit behind most cases of cold sores. HSV-2 is usually responsible for genital herpes. Both types of HSV are transmitted from person to person when an infected area comes into contact with a tiny tear in the skin, usually around the mouth or genitals. Once a person becomes infected with HSV, the virus will live in his or her body forever. So if you're looking to stay cold sore-free, it's wise to avoid direct contact with an active lesion. But it's equally important to understand that a cold sore on the MOUTH can cause herpes on the GENITALS, and vice versa. And to really elude oral herpes, follow the same precautions you would to avoid catching any infection. Refrain from sharing lip balm, a toothbrush (which you should always avoid sharing!), utensils, cups, or even towels with an infected person.Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face or genitals. And remember one really important fact: Even if a person with HSV-1 or HSV-2 is NOT having an outbreak, he or she COULD still be contagious. Blame viral shedding, which happens when the virus becomes quietly active in the body WITHOUT causing any noticeable symptoms. Because this may happen several days a year, always use condoms when having intercourse. During oral sex, women should use dental dams while men should still wear a condom. And while you don't have to swear off kissing forever, you SHOULD remember not to do it when you or your partner feels a cold sore coming on - signs of onset are itching, tingling, burning, or numbness. Taking these smart, simple precautions will both minimize your risk of catching cold sores, and help prevent spreading them back and forth! Watch more videos in this series for more cold sore information.More »
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There is no permanent cure for cold sores, but you can reduce the soreness through simple remedies. Watch this video on how to get rid of cold sores quickly and effectively.
Transcript: You open your eyes one beautiful, sunny morning, and then realize - your lip is tingling and burning...
You open your eyes one beautiful, sunny morning, and then realize - your lip is tingling and burning in an all too familiar manner. If you have a tendency to get the tiny blisters called cold sores on and around your lips, you know this scenario well. Cold sores, which are also known as fever blisters or oral herpes, are caused by the herpes simplex virus, or HSV-1. Unfortunately, once HSV infects, it will live in your body forever. And although HSV spends most of its time dormant in a nerve bundle called the ganglion, it will occasionally "wake up" and travel back through the body's nerve endings and into the skin, causing a cold sore recurrence. There's no curing HSV, but you CAN shorten the time you must suffer through having a cold sore. One time tested method is to apply an ice compact to the affected area AS SOON AS you feel the tingle of a developing cold sore. Ice not only eases the pain, but if applied regularly, it can help reduce inflammation and even speed healing time. Or you can try whole milk. Soak a cotton ball in milk and hold it to the sore for ten to 15 minutes daily. Whole milk is rich in a protein called monocaprin which helps stop HSV-1 in its tracks. Another tasty way to cut healing time is by chewing on licorice. The candy contains glycyrrhizic acid, which is known for its ability to halt HSV-1. A word of warning though: Most U.S.-manufactured licorice is made with anise, NOT real licorice, so be sure the candy's packaging reads "licorice mass." If your cold sore has already become full-blown, consider covering it with petroleum jelly while you're at home. Not only will this speed healing time, it also prevents bacterial infection, which could easily EXTEND the life of a sore. If your cold sore causes you discomfort-and many do-try an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. Even teething ointments can help numb the area temporarily. And although popular opinion regarding their effectiveness is mixed, there are also non-prescription ointments meant to shorten the length of a cold sore. They're called Abreva and Herpecin-L. There currently are several prescription antiviral medications available to both prevent and decrease the duration of cold sores. They are usually reserved for people with fairly frequent outbreaks, or for people who suffer from genital herpes. If you think you're among them, check out other videos in this series, and then make an appointment to speak with your doctor!More »
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Cold sores have a way of complicating things on the social front. If you find yourself asking the question “what is a cold sore & why do i have one?” this video is for you.
Transcript: Cold sores are small blisters which appear in clusters on and around a person's lips. Once they've appeared,...
Cold sores are small blisters which appear in clusters on and around a person's lips. Once they've appeared, cold sores generally break open and release a clear fluid before scabbing over and healing. Both immediately before and during an outbreak, the sores can cause itching, tingling, burning, or numbness. Start to finish, this process takes anywhere from one to two weeks. If you've ever had a cold sore, you know they can really hurt! Cold sores may be accompanied by other symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat, and/or a fever. So what causes you to get these symptoms? Blame herpes-simplex virus-1 (HSV-1 for short). You probably picked up this highly contagious virus from another person with an active sore. It's transmitted by all kinds of activities, from kissing to sharing utensils, razors, and chapstick. A related virus, HSV-2, is usually the cause for similar sores that appear on and around the genitals-genital herpes. But it gets complicated. A sore on your mouth can spread to the genitals, and vice versa-so be aware of the risk when sexually active. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for HSV-1 or 2,.But if HSV is ALWAYS in you, how come you don't ALWAYS have cold sores? Good question. Most of the time, the virus lies "asleep" in a group of nerve cells called the ganglion (located in the spine). During this time, you'll be fever blister-free. But sometimes, HSV-1 "wakes up," and travels toward the area where you usually get sores. No one is sure WHY the virus awakens, and everyone has different triggers. Common ones include: menstruation or pregnancy, sunlight, stress, and fevers or colds! The weird thing about HSV-1 is that it doesn't cause cold sores in everyone. People who never experience outbreaks-DESPITE having HSV-1 in their bodies-have what's known as "asymptomatic infection." In fact, the Center for Disease Control estimates that between 50 and 80-percent of people carry HSV-1, although that many people definitely don't get cold sores. And one Louisiana State University study found that 98-PERCENT of people are infected, even if some are symptom-free. So although cold sores can be embarrassing and painful, if you get them, you're not alone. Even sough-after stars like Paris Hilton and Katie Holmes get the occasional fever blister! To learn more about cold sores, including how to treat and prevent them, check out other videos in this series.More »
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When are cold sores contagious? If you don’t know the answer to this question, check out our video. It might save you the trouble that cold sores typically cause.
Transcript: Even if a person with HSV-1 or HSV-2 is NOT having an outbreak, he or she COULD still be contagious....
Even if a person with HSV-1 or HSV-2 is NOT having an outbreak, he or she COULD still be contagious. Blame viral shedding, which happens when the virus becomes quietly active in the body WITHOUT causing any noticeable symptoms. Because this may happen several days a year, always use condoms when having intercourse. During oral sex, women should use dental dams while men should still wear a condom. And while you don't have to swear off kissing forever, you SHOULD remember not to do it when you or your partner feels a cold sore coming on - signs of onset are itching, tingling, burning, or numbness.More »
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