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What is Herpes?
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Main > Specialty Areas > Venereology and STDs >
Herpes

Herpes Treatment

Herpes by itself is not a life-threatening condition. However, it can lead to serious complications. For example, there is a higher risk of birth defects, miscarriage or early birth for pregnant women who carry the herpes virus. There is also the danger of the infant catching herpes at birth, while passing through the cervix and the vagina. Such an infection increases the risk of brain or eyes damage by 50%.

Another serious potential problem is the apparent link between the Type 2 herpes virus and the cervical and vaginal cancers. These cancers are treatable only at the early stages; that's why it is highly recommended that all women who have genital herpes regularly visit their gynecologists – once every six month at least.

There is also a higher risk of contracting other STDs, such as the HIV for example.

Despite numerous efforts at trying to find a cure, there is still no reliable cure available. Acyclovir (Zovirax) is widely used to alleviate the symptoms of a herpes outbreak. Although it is usually used as an ointment, it can be taken orally during severe outbreaks. Taking acyclovir on a long-term basis (especially orally) is not recommended because of the risk of side effects.

Drug Info:
Acyclovir is a medication that is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lips and genitals, chicken pox and shingles. It comes in the form of ointments, tablets, capsules or liquids. It relieves pain and itchiness and promotes healing; however, it does not cure the condition. Possible (but not common) side effects include headaches, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe side effects, such as severe rash or itching, blood in the urine, stomach pain or fever are even less common, but require prompt medical attention.

Sometimes a doctor may prescribe Famciclovir (Famvir) or Valacyclovir (Valtrex) – these are similar to Acyclovir.

It is best to refrain from sexual activity for at least 10 days following the first herpes outbreak and for at least 2 days following the disappearance of symptoms of subsequent ones.

Unfortunately, a sizeable percentage of infected persons are actively shedding the virus regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms or are symptom-less. Hence, there is no guaranteed method of sexual contact that would insure against an infection. Using a condom helps, but not entirely, since the condom doesn't cover all areas that can be possibly involved in the transmission.

‹‹ Diagnosis of Herpes Links ››

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Random Useful Tip:
Epinephrine shot
If you are known to have a severe anaphylactic reaction, carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot with you at all times. Pay attention to expiration date and replace it regularly: upon expiration, it loses its effectiveness.

Random Drug Info:
Acyclovir
Acyclovir is a medication that is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lips and genitals, chicken pox and shingles. It comes in the form of ointments, tablets, capsules or liquids. It relieves pain and itchiness and promotes healing; however, it does not cure the condition. Possible (but not common) side effects include headaches, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe side effects, such as severe rash or itching, blood in the urine, stomach pain or fever are even less common, but require prompt medical attention.



 
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