- Genital herpes: 10 common myths
- Top things to know
- Genital herpes - self-care
- Genital herpes: Common but misunderstood - Harvard Health
There are two types of herpes simplex virus HSV , the viral infection that causes genital herpes:. Both are spread through skin-to-skin contact and are actually most often transmitted by someone who has no visible sores or blisters. Many people infected with the herpes virus never experience symptoms. However within two to 10 days after initially contracting the virus, a person might experience flu-like symptoms including:.
Genital herpes: 10 common myths
The first bout with herpes can last from two to four weeks, during which time it can still be transmitted. Note that subsequent outbreaks may be less severe, as the immune system develops antibodies. You may experience tingling, burning or itching where the infection initially occurred a few hours before sores appear, but usually no fever or swelling. The outbreak will likely be less painful and last less time — three to seven days.
Only women who are infected for the first time in late pregnancy have a greater risk of infecting their unborn babies, because their bodies have not yet produced HSV antibodies. To prevent this from happening, your health care provider may prescribe medication in your third trimester to decrease the chances of a herpes outbreak around the time you give birth.
Top things to know
The symptoms of herpes can be managed with medication. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC recommends treatment with an antiviral medication during pregnancy, which can lessen symptoms and reduce discomfort and may be used to suppress herpes in pregnant women. Remember, herpes is rarely transmitted to a baby during pregnancy — most newborns with HSV are infected when they pass through an infected birth canal.
If the amniotic sac breaks before birth, very rarely the fluid in an infected birth canal can infect a baby who has not yet passed through the birth canal. In the unlikely event a baby is exposed to herpes during birth, because infection can cause severe problems including brain and eye damage he will be treated with antiviral medications. When you go into labor, your doctor should carefully examine you for herpetic lesions. If, however, you are experiencing sores or early symptoms of a herpes outbreak such as vulvar pain and itching , a cesarean delivery is recommended to reduce the chance the baby will come in contact with the virus.
Herpes of the eye can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person whose virus is active. The National Eye Institute NEI says an estimated , Americans have experienced some form of ocular herpes, with close to 50, new and recurring cases occurring each year. Ranging from a simple infection to a condition that can possibly cause blindness, there are several forms of eye herpes:. Various signs and symptoms are associated with an ocular herpes outbreak.
You may experience inflammation of the cornea, which can cause an irritation or sudden and severe ocular pain. Also, the cornea can become cloudy, leading to blurry vision. Due to these numerous symptoms, your eye doctor may overlook an initial diagnosis of ocular herpes in its very early stages.
Eye herpes is transmitted through contact with another person who is having an outbreak, or through self contact and contamination during an active herpes infection such as a cold sore of the lip. The herpes simplex virus enters the body through the nose or mouth and travels into the nerves, where it may be inactive. The virus can remain dormant for years and may never wake up.
The exact cause of an outbreak is unknown, but stress-related factors such as fever, sunburn, major dental or surgical procedures and trauma are often associated with incidents. Once the initial outbreak occurs, the NEI says untreated eye herpes has about a percent chance of returning. There is no specific time frame for ocular herpes to reappear; it could be several weeks or even several years following the original occurrence.
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Genital herpes - self-care
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Genital herpes: Common but misunderstood - Harvard Health
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