Herpes Outbreak

Dec 18, 2011 No Comments by

Herpes Simplex Type 1 and 2 are incurable viral infections which cycle through resting periods where there are no signs or symptoms of the disease, and flare-ups or outbreaks. Since there is no cure and you can be affected with outbreaks for the rest of your life, managing the outbreaks becomes a lifestyle if you want any control over your life and the disease.

Understanding Herpes Simplex Outbreaks

Herpes Simplex can go into a dormant or resting period where the organism attaches itself to the nerve cells. While resting there are no signs or symptoms. As herpes simplex can’t be cured, this dormant period doesn’t mean you no longer have the disease, it just means it isn’t currently active in your body. Not having symptoms or signs doesn’t mean you aren’t contagious; you can still spread herpes simplex even without visible signs of an outbreak. Some people can go for years without an outbreak and others may have them frequently.

Type 1 or HSV-1 Herpes Outbreaks

Oral herpes or Herpes Simplex type 1 is called this because the small fever blisters or sores typically form on the inside of the mouth, around the lips, or near the mouth. The outbreak can start with numbness or tingling in the area where small sores or blisters will develop. These blisters can develop into painful ulcers. They can ooze clear fluid, which is highly contagious, then will form a crust or scab and heal in about ten days. The ulcers are generally referred to as cold sores.

Other outward signs can be red and swollen gums, a white glaze on the tongue, as well as muscle aches, fever, general malaise or just not feeling well. You may also have swollen glands in your neck, be irritable, and have trouble eating. These signs of an outbreak can last for several weeks.

Illness like a cold or the flue, stress, hormonal changes in the body, and even things like getting a tooth taken out, can cause the virus to flare up and begin an outbreak.

Type 2 or HSV-2 Outbreaks

Herpes Simplex type 2 is also known as genital herpes. A genital herpes outbreak will generally start with an itchy feeling, tenderness, or pain in the genital area. The glands in the genital area can also be swollen and sore. You may experience a headache, fever, and generally feeling of sickness—kind of like coming down with the flu.

Men may get blisters on their penis. Women will generally have blisters around the vagina and in the cervix. You can also get blisters on the upper legs and the buttocks. These blisters will ooze a clear white fluid, form crusts or scabs and heal over within a couple weeks. Other, less common symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak include pain or burning while urinating and a clear discharge from the vagina or penis.

Just like HSV-1, the outbreaks may not have any recognizable symptoms. There are many people who have genital herpes and don’t realize they have it. The outbreaks may be so insignificant that the blisters or sores are mistaken for razor rash, ingrown hairs, or pimples. There may be no sign at all, or the symptoms may be severe during an outbreak.

Genital herpes cycles just like oral herpes, going through dormant and active cycles for the rest of your life. Typically the first outbreak of genital herpes is the most severe, however the signs, symptoms, and severity are very individual. When someone with herpes simplex type 2 is having an outbreak, they are very contagious.

For more pictures and more information on what a herpes outbreak might look like see here.

Lifestyle Changes to Decrease Frequency and Severity of Herpes Outbreaks

It is important to understand the role of your immune system and your body’s ability to fight stress which can lead to a herpes simplex outbreak. Stress and illness are the two main triggers for an outbreak.

If your body is healthy and you can handle stress without difficulty, you will find that you won’t have as many outbreaks. There are many things you can do to help your body handle outbreaks including:

  • Find a way to deal with stress. Whether it is deep breathing exercises, yoga, or a steady work out program, these activities can help you handle the stress in your life.
  • If you have painful or itchy genital herpes you can take a warm bath with Epsom salt. This can help you de-stress, as well as providing soothing relief.
  • You can apply ice directly to the area if it is sore or itchy.
  • Wear loose, cotton underwear during a genital herpes outbreak.
  • Wash the breakout area with lukewarm water and pat it dry. Keep your hands clean to keep the virus from spreading.

With an oral herpes outbreak you should refrain from kissing or any oral contact as you are contagious. With a genital herpes outbreak you should avoid sexual intercourse as you are contagious.

Effects, Signs

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