Treatment for Herpes

Herpes is a virus, specifically “herpesvirus hominus”. The two main types of the virus are Simplex 1(HSV1) infects the mouth (cold sores) and Simplex 2 (HSV2) infects the genital tract.

It is estimated that a large majority of humans will experience oral or genital herpes. Herpes infects the nerve cells of the spinal cord (genital herpes) and the nerves at the base of the brain (oral herpes). The virus is contagious.

Anyone having symptoms of oral or genital herpes infections must not allow these areas to come into direct contact with another person. When the virus has been transmitted, the infection is permanent. Most people find treatment for herpes or some relief and recover more quickly from the first (primary) outbreak of genital herpes by taking antiviral medicines.

· Use medicines to relieve symptoms and speed healing of blisters and sores

. Antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex) are recommended for treating primary genital herpes outbreaks.

. Nonprescription medicines, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), may reduce the pain and fever from genital herpes.

· Use home treatment for herpes, such as taking warm sitz baths and wearing cotton underwear, to promote healing of herpes sores. For more information, see the Home Treatment section of this topic.

· Take steps to prevent the spread of genital herpes. These include avoiding any sexual contact if you or your partner have symptoms or are being treated for genital herpes. For more information, see the Prevention section of this topic.

Acyclovir – a breakthrough treatment for herpes

Acyclovir is a “nucleoside analogue” (it can insert itself into virus DNA during virus replication) and specifically targets virus infected cells. It prevents the production of new virus by stopping viral DNA from properly forming. For treatment for herpes, Famciclovir and valacyclovir work in a similar manner to acyclovir. Because of the way they act, these 3 drugs require the virus to reactivate in order to be effective. Therefore, they are only effective against virus that has escaped from the nerve cell and is replicating in other parts of the body. Thus, they do not cure a ‘dormant’ (latent) HSV infection, since the latent virus is not replicating. There is no antiviral treatment available that can eradicate latent HSV infection.

Pain Relief as a part of treatment for herpes

Here are some tips to help you deal with any discomfort you may experience during an outbreak:

· Place ice packs onto the affected area
· Take a warm bath
· Apply cool, non-herbal tea bags to the affected area
· If you’re experiencing any pains, aches or fever with the outbreak, you may want to take an ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen

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