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Steps to Take when Having a Herpes Outbreak

Having a herpes outbreak can be devastating. Not only is it embarrassing, but for many of us, the symptoms may be too much to bear. Luckily, there are multiple steps you can take when having a herpes outbreak that can ease the symptoms, treat the virus, and even prevent it from spreading.

What Is Herpes?

There are three types of herpes: genital herpes (herpes contracted via sexual intercourse), oral herpes (cold sores), and the varicella zoster virus (causes chickenpox and shingles). The first two types are the most common, but all three conditions can be serious.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This infection is caused by the presence of the herpes simplex virus. While it most certainly is not life threatening, herpes is a painful condition. Symptoms of genital herpes include pain, itching, and the presence of small sores. Those sores may eventually form ulcers, scabs, and blisters filled with fluid.

Cold Sores

Cold sores, also known as oral herpes, are another result of the herpes simplex virus, but instead of affecting the genitals, a cold sore is herpes on the mouth, along the border of the lips. Cold sores are typically spread through kissing and other close personal contact.

Chickenpox and Shingles

The last type of herpes virus is the varicella zoster virus, the virus that creates chickenpox and shingles. This virus will appear first in the body as chickenpox. When the patient overcomes the illness, the varicella zoster virus will remain dormant in the system. For a handful of individuals, that virus may become reactivated later in life, creating shingles.

All three viruses classify as herpes, and all three are very contagious. That’s why, when you do contract herpes, you must take careful steps to ensure you don’t spread the virus and you recover from it quickly. We’ve put together a list of the most important steps to take when having a herpes outbreak.

Isolate Yourself

Separating yourself from others is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. You must avoid kissing, having sex, or other personal contact between your sore and another person until the outbreak has subsided and cleared. The entire process usually only takes 2-3 weeks.

Do Not Scratch

Herpes appears as itchy and painful blisters that are sometimes filled with liquid. They often become unbearably itchy, and you will feel the need to scratch. Do not! If you scratch, you can open one of the blisters and cause an infection, not to mention that the virus may spread to other parts of the body.

Alleviate Your Symptoms

Luckily, there are treatment options you can use to alleviate your symptoms. Doctors often prescribe particular injections when the case is quite severe, like acyclovir. Acyclovir has been proven to treat the patient and reduce the presence of the herpes virus in the body.

You can also alleviate symptoms by taking over-the-counter painkillers. This will give you the ability to manage the pain while your body fights off the virus.

Speak to a Dermatologist

If you find yourself unable to manage your symptoms at home, you will need to speak to a dermatologist about possible treatment options beyond anything you can get over the counter. If you’re in Cincinnati, Ohio, our experts at The Dermatology Group can offer you advice, resources, and treatment. Give us a call today!

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