Herpes can be transmitted through bodily fluids during oral or sexual contact. Herpes 1 (oral herpes) is most often passed through kissing and can cause what are commonly referred to as fever blisters or cold sores in the mouth or on the lips. If a person has herpes mouth sores and performs oral sex, herpes can be transmitted to the genital area. Herpes 1 can be transmitted by those carrying the virus even when no symptoms are present. This usually happens due to shedding that occurs for a few days after a herpes outbreak, or before the onset of a herpes sore. Avoid spreading herpes by avoiding sexual or oral contact when a herpes blister is present in particular. Herpes 2 (genital herpes) is transmitted through vaginal or anal sexual contact. Most herpes symptoms will appear within 2 weeks or less of initial infection.
In order to avoid spreading herpes, it is helpful to know genital herpes signs and symptoms. The onset of a herpes outbreak might cause symptoms that include a low-grade fever or fatigue. Local symptoms of a herpes outbreak include numbness, tingling, itching, aching and burning on or around the genitals or oral cavity. Visually herpes might appear as a red and slightly raised bump. More advanced herpes will have small blisters that burst and emit a clear fluid substance. This is when herpes is the most virulent. Avoid any physical contact with the affected area at this point in particular.
Triggering Herpes Outbreaks
In order to avoid herpes outbreaks, try to watch for triggers that might aggravate the condition. There is some evidence that stress can bring on symptoms of herpes. In addition, there may be a link between eating healthily and lessening the number of herpes outbreaks. The amino acid L-arginine has also been shown to decrease the occurrence of herpes sores. Try taking a supplement with L-arginine to decrease herpes outbreaks. If you have an immune system disorder or are pregnant, you may also experience increased outbreaks of herpes.
Suppressive Treatments for Herpes
Suppressive treatment is meant to stop any occurrences of the herpes virus. Suppressive treatments for herpes include Zovirax (acyclovir), Famvir (famciclovir), and Valtrex (valacyclovir). These drugs treat both herpes 1 and herpes 2 forms of the virus, and are available in both topical and oral forms of the drugs. As a suppressive therapy, these drugs are taken daily. Acyclovir should be taken twice daily in a 400 mg dosage, Valacyclovir is effective at 500 mg daily when you have less than 10 occurrences of herpes annually. However the recommendations for those who have more than 10 herpes outbreaks is 250 mg twice per day. Famciclovir is effective with a 250 mg dosage twice per day as well.
Episodic Treatments for Herpes
Episodic treatments are most effective if herpes outbreaks are infrequent and symptoms are minimal. Episodic treatment for herpes includes taking the drugs listed in the previous section at the onset of initial symptoms, and for a period of at least 5 days. Both types of treatment may also include applying a topical medication that contains one of the prescription drugs listed to treat symptoms of herpes. Take warm sitz baths during herpes outbreaks to ease the pain associated with symptoms. Dry the area thoroughly before applying topical treatments, and allow to breathe by wearing loose, cotton clothing. Wash hands after touching the affected area to avoid re-transmitting to other areas of the body.