What Does Herpes Look Like?

Because of the different stages of a herpes outbreak, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what herpes look like. In the initial stages, herpes can look like whitehead, or a zit, that you would find anywhere else on your body. Embarrassingly enough, the first time I encountered herpes was on my leg, and I thought I had poison oak. I began scratching it to the point where it bled, which just ultimately caused it to spread. In my case, it looked very similar to poison oak. Some cases of this virus look like small paper cuts, and when an outbreak is in full effect it looks like a series of mosquito bites. A herpes breakout starts with an irritating rash on the surface of the skin, and then it turns into larger, zit like blisters. The skin with the issues usually becomes tender at this point, and the blisters begin to grow until they potentially form one large blister. The insides of the blisters can be clear, white, green or yellow, and the overall look of the problem will depend on the person and where the herpes is on his or her body. Once the blister breaks, herpes at that point, looks like an open sore.

When the herpes outbreak starts to heal, the blisters will begin to crust, scab and will begin to look like normal skin again. Depending on how severe the outbreak is, scaring may occur, but generally it will not. The skin that remains underneath the herpes might be a different shade than the rest of the skin, but after healing, it does all look like the same texture at least. Future outbreaks should not look as bad, with less blisters forming and a quicker healing time. Again, that all depends on the severity of your case and the treatments you are undergoing. There’s very little distinction, if any, between what herpes looks like for HSV-1 and HSV-2, they’re just at different parts of the body. If you think you may have herpes, it’s always important and can’t be stressed enough to get tested and talk to your doctor to see what treatment may be right for you.

Here’s two pictures of HSV-1, Oral Herpes from the initial stage, where zit like blisters begin to form to the time when the blister has popped and has scabbed.
pictures of HSV-1oral herpes pictures

Are Cold Sores Actually Herpes?

As many as 80% of the U.S. population get cold sores, but many do not know, or equate that cold sores is also know as HSV-1, or oral herpes. In fact, many people contract HSV-1 in their childhood or teens, through social kissing from a family member or boyfriend/girlfriend and not think anything about it. Yes, cold sores is actually a type of herpes. In fact, HSV-1, oral herpes, shares very common, almost identical attributes of HSV-2, also known as genital herpes. There is certainly a stigma around herpes, but it’s usually around genital herpes. Gential herpes is labeled the “bad” herpes and oral herpes has adopted the name “Cold Sores” and is considered the “good” herpes. To those that actually knowledgeable in herpes, it’s quite comical at times to hear people talk this way. Although herpes is no joking matter, if you were unaware that cold sores were in fact a form of herpes, read below to find out exactly what is going on with your body.

Most people never see cold sores until they have a trigger, either stress related, perhaps an illness or a change in their diet that causes an outbreak. The reason that the cold sore shows up when you get a cold is because your body is fighting infection within itself. The herpes virus is then irritated and begins to come to the surface. Generally speaking, these cold sores are filled with fluid and are painful to those who get them. The infected areas tend to be the mouth region, more commonly residing around the lips. Though it’s not the most common place to find herpes, cold sores can be found anywhere from the bottom of the lip to the chin and from the top of the lip to the nose, showing up in clusters or just single sores.

One of the dangers of oral herpes, is that because of the “cold sores” name, people don’t treat it like they would if they had genital herpes, for example, and precautions are not taken against spreading it. Unless you’re just flat out irresponsible, with genital herpes, you’ll tell your partner that you have this condition. When have you ever heard of someone saying “I have oral herpes, or I get cold sores,” before kissing someone? The social acceptance around cold sores is that it’s not a big deal. Many people don’t even know, that not only can you spread HSV-1 from kissing, but that you can also spread it to the genital area through oral sex.

Even though your cold sore is a herpes infection, it can still be treated, but not cured. Make sure that you watch very closely for this type of virus as the sooner you find it, the better off you’ll be. Like genital herpes, a tingling sensation may occur before you have an outbreak. Your body will give you signs an outbreak is coming on. If you find it early enough, you can begin treatment on the sore and hopefully be rid of the infection within one to three days. Aside from Valtrex and Acyclovir, there are even a number of over the counter products that you can pick up at your local pharmacy that are solely for treating HSV-1. However, if the herpes virus is allowed to grow to its full strength, then treating this condition will take a longer time, approximately a week or even longer depending on the case.

Having herpes of the mouth can be very irritating as doing simple everyday tasks are affected by it. You will have trouble eating and even sleeping when you have this painful sore on your face. Even considering taking a shower will put you in pain as water only seems to irritate the facial herpes. If your herpes outbreak is severe enough, it’s advisible that you see a doctor as they can offer you antiviral meds to help reduce the outbreak time. As always, keeping your body both healthy, clean with a healthy diet will help fight off infection and reduce the number of outbreaks.

What Are The Symptoms of a Herpes Outbreak?

The symptoms for a herpes outbreak may depend on the type. The herpes virus comes in two strains, HSV-1, which is oral herpes, aka coldsores, and HSV-2, which is gential herpes. As we know, herpes is contracted by skin to skin contact. In most people infected with the herpes virus, their first outbreak usually happens anywhere from two days up to almost three weeks after coming into contact with someone that had herpes. Because your immune system has never experienced the virus, there are no anti-bodies to help fight it off, so the first outbreak may be the worst you’ll ever experience. Initial symptoms can include:

– Swollen lymph nodes in your genital region or throat
– Inflamed blisters on the infected area
– Flu like symptoms, such a fever, sneezing, headaches etc
– Burning/tingling sensation in the infect area
– Pain in the lower back, back of legs or buttocks
– Small red bumps in the genital area that develop into blisters, which burst, then form a scab

It’s important that you do not self-diagnose these symptoms, but immediately speak with your doctor and get tested. Many times, people misdiagnosis themselves, thinking the blisters or red bumps are just an insect bite, pimple, jock itch, ingrown hair, etc. It’s very easy to make the mistake, especially if herpes is totally brand new to you.

After an outbreak happens, the physical signs of herpes could last for one to two weeks. During this time though, you should make sure to keep the infected area clean with warm water and dry it completely. Make sure that after you touch any of the infected areas that you wash your hands as you could spread your virus to different parts of your body if you are not careful.

Some people, however, are not like others and their case of herpes is generally mild in comparison. This is mainly due to the fact that these people have already dealt with a mild case of herpes before (i.e. having oral herpes and contracting genital herpes) and their immune system has fought back against this infectious disease. Sometimes you may or may not even notice the herpes outbreak if your body has fought this type of infection before. In general, mild cases can last about two to three weeks. They are usually far less severe from the first outbreak.

If you think that you have have contracted herpes, it’s important to immediately talk to your doctor and get tested ASAP. You want to make sure that you receive a professional diagnosis. You will have many questions, and you may be totally scared, and that’s completely normal. What’s important is to find out for sure if you do in fact have herpes, then work with your doctor to figure out what treatment may work best for you.

Help My Herpes Outbreaks Don’t Stop

Have you ever had herpes outbreaks that just seem to pop up one after another and never go away? Generally speaking, herpes outbreaks occur 4 times a year and as time goes on, our immune system builds up a resistance and that number may go down. However, there are many things that can trigger an outbreak, and if you have had a lot of reoccurrences with your herpes symptoms, chances are you just want them to stop. While there is no permanent cure for herpes, there are certain things you can do to treat or prevent an outbreak in the future. Chronic outbreaks may be a sign of a more serious issue at hand, so be sure to talk to your doctor if your herpes symptoms don’t go away easily after treatment. Listed below are some tips to keep the outbreaks to a minimum without using antiviral medication.

To treat herpes outbreaks you need to understand what starts them. If you get sick, you may be subject to an outbreak because your immune system is less tolerant. Thus it is important to stay as healthy as you can. Changes in your diet may also impact the outbreaks you get, so make sure to mention your diet to your doctor to determine if there is something you need to add to or subtract from it. Nutrition will be the key to a healthy lifestyle overall, so it won’t hurt for you to spend some time getting on a better food regimen. Eating well is also a major factor to helping you manage outbreaks. Eating foods that are rich in Lysine, such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, chicken are greatly beneficial. Stay away from foods that are high in Arginine like chocolate, nuts and even caffeine, which are all known to trigger outbreaks. Drinking has also been known to cause outbreaks, so it’s advised that you lower, if not completely cut out, your alcohol intake.

One of the biggest factors that I’ve personally found to trigger an outbreak is stress. If you have been having a lot of stress in your life lately, the sudden mood changes and headaches could be causing some of your outbreaks. Feeling run down and fatigued will increase your chances of getting a herpes outbreak, and so will prolonged periods of anxiety or stress. Eliminating stress as much as possible will greatly affect triggering an outbreak. When it seems that life’s troubles are too much, take a few moments each day, meditate or pray and try to calm you mind. It will ultimately greatly benefit, not only your overall health, your outbreaks from recurring.

You also need to make sure that you avoid direct sunlight on areas that often get outbreaks because the UV rays could trigger the blistering. For women, pregnancy and periods also affect a woman’s chances of getting a herpes breakout because of the imbalanced hormones in the body. The same might be said for a woman who has a thyroid disorder or who is already suffering from menopause.

The longer you live with herpes, the more you’ll get to know your body and how herpes reacts to it. Using some of these tips above will greatly help you and over time, you’ll get to know what works for you and what doesn’t. It’s important that you control this virus and not let the virus control you!

How to Tell Your Potential Partners You Have Herpes

One of the single most difficult things that a person with herpes can face in a relationship is “The Talk.” In fact, I personally know a few individuals that have genital herpes that almost avoid relationships altogether, because they don’t want to have to divulge it. Personally, I don’t think anyone needs to go to that extreme. If you have herpes, then you know that herpes is extremely contagious and when you’re in a relationship, it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed before things get intimate. I hear time and time again about how individuals caught herpes because their partners willingly never told them. I don’t believe there’s any excuse for that. Everyone deserves the choice whether or not to be intimate with someone that possesses herpes. It would not be fair for them if they didn’t know something that would affect their life if they caught it. Most people are scared of telling their partner because of how he or she will react. Here are a few simple guidelines that may help you get through “The Talk.”

First and foremost, you never want to tell someone that you have herpes when you’re already under the sheets. When you think your relationship is to the point where you might become sexually active, that’s a good time to start discussing it. Some people like to tell people right away, so they feel there’s nothing to hide going into the relationship. I believe potential partners should get to know you a bit, before you give out this personal information.

One of the keys is that you’ll want to make sure that you don’t frighten your potential partner when explaining to them that you have herpes. Make sure that you think of how they might respond so that you can best prepare yourself with the information that they might need. Being knowledge about about the virus is extremely helpful to answer any initial immediate questions they may have. Try to avoid telling them that you have a problem that you need to talk to them about as this might already set panic in on them. You need to be straight forward and honest with the person before considering sexual intercourse. They deserve that much from you with this kind of commitment.

You may start off with “There is something I need to tell you. A few years ago, I contracted herpes from my boyfriend/girlfriend,” etc. Calmly explain to them what herpes is and maybe telling them that one in five people suffer from this condition or that even as high as 80% of the HSV-1, oral herpes and may not even know it. You may also want to tell them about ways that you can avoid passing it and how you can both lead healthy, active sex lives without ever infecting your partner. However, mentioning that herpes is a disease might not be in your best interest when trying to keep the conversation calm. Most people tend to freak out when they hear the word disease. Mentioning that herpes is common might help ease some of their concerns and make swallowing this news a lot easier on them and you.

Find the perfect time to tell your partner this news. Don’t force the action on someone by calling them at work or walking into their home before a date and saying that you need to talk about something. Wait for the perfect time, like over a romantic dinner or something. Don’t become defensive when talking about your herpes as the other person will more than likely have questions concerning it. Even if you have herpes, it might still be in your best interest to politely ask if your potential partner has any sexually transmitted diseases as well. This might protect you from further discomfort. The news might be hard for your partner to deal with at first, but time should help heal this problem. You and your partner will grow from this and have a better relationship because of the honesty.

Is Herpes Considered A Pre-Existing Condition?

If you currently have herpes and are looking to buy health insurance, you do need to know that depending on the type, HSV-1 or HSV-2, a health provider may turn you down. Insurance companies have a list of what is considered pre-existing conditions, and they may down coverage because they feel it will cost more to cover you than they will make in premiums you pay. There are a number of different illnesses that make the list for coverage denial, and most of them will depend on severity. If you have been diagnosed with gential herpes, you may find it hard to get health insurance because many carriers do in fact consider that a pre-existing condition.

The fact is that 80-90% of Americans have oral herpes type HSV-1 and may not even know they have it. The problem remains dormant throughout their lives, and thus they never get tested for it. In these cases, your health insurance will likely not deny your coverage because you don’t even realize that you have a pre-existing condition. If you see no signs of breakout, they likely won’t question the results. Thus there are cases when you can have herpes and still have coverage. Genital herpes, or HSV-2, on the other hand is considered a pre-existing condition that needs to be stated when applying for health insurance and unfortunately, more often than not, insurance companies have been known to deny applications with applicants that have genital herpes.

If you get herpes while you have insurance, then the insurance provider will continue to cover you. The problems usually only occur when you have received the diagnosis before you apply for the insurance. There are exceptions for everything though, so you may very well find a provider that will work with your situation. This may be because your herpes is not severe or because you have gone through enough treatment to make medical costs at a minimal. You might not be able to get full coverage for your medical needs, but you should be able to work out something with your carrier.

So what are your options if you have genital herpes and want insurance? Fortunately, because you have herpes, you can still get health insurance. Insurance companies have what is called a rider, or an exclusion that will enable you to carry health insurance, but your insurance will not cover your pre-exisiting condition for 6 months or a pre-determined time which the contract states. Unless you rely heavily on antiviral medication, like Valtrex or Acyclovir, this time period is usually sufficient. Although, that’s not to say the Insurance company won’t deny you flat out for your pre-existing condition, it will completely depend on your full medical and medication history, rest assured there are many companies willing to accept you with the riders in place.

Is There A Cure For Herpes?

Regardless of the claims that companies may have, unfortunately, at this time, there is no known cure for HSV, aka herpes. Most people with the condition are tired of suffering with the outbreaks that it causes. There are simple procedures that you do help the healing process of herpes, but there is no definite cure for the disease. In recent years, the biotech industry has grown by leaps and bounds, and there are some vaccines in the works to help prevent herpes in the first place, but nothing has gone into development to help cure patients who already have the virus. However, if you have herpes, there are so many things you can do to help manage your outbreaks so that you live a worry free life. Here are some suggestions to help you do just that.

One of the reasons herpes is so difficult to treat is because only a small percentage of the infected cells show themselves when you outbreak. The rest of the cells lay dormant until you break out again, so you never have all the infected cells appearing at the same time. While you can use creams and other temporary aids to get rid of the pain and itching, you are only masking up the problem by doing that. These medications are not a permanent fix to your herpes, but they can help relieve some of the discomfort you may get from the outbreaks.

When your herpes breaks out and you begin to get blisters all over your infected area, there are some things that you can do to help with the discomfort. Depending on what type of herpes you have, HSV-1 or HSV-2, using even over the counter medications can help ease your pain. It might be the best answer that you can find at the time. Never forget though that your body will always try to fight back against the virus, so maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet might be a key to helping your immune system fight back infection.

The last thing that most people tend to forget when looking at trying to cure their herpes is to keep the virus from spreading elsewhere on your own body. This means keeping the infected area very clean. Taking a warm shower or bath tends to lessen the pain as well. Make sure that you keep the area dry and you avoid wearing tight uncomfortable undergarments as these could prove to a nuisance to you. Remember that there is no cure for herpes yet, but by doing what you can and keeping physical contact away from others until your outbreak is completely healed, you can help stop the spread of herpes and help ease your discomfort with it. It’s best to speak with a medical doctor to find out what treatments will work best for you.