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Herpes: Understanding If You Can Be Exposed by Travis Lawrence
Herpes is one of those diseases that 'other people' get, right? Wrong. In fact, the sad truth is that many people will contract this disease without even realizing that they are at risk. Knowing what it is, what symptoms are, and how to seek out treatment is necessary. You need to understand, then, that anyone engaging in sex can be exposed to herpes.
Overview
First, you need to know what herpes is. There are two main forms that you are likely to come into contact with. The first type is oral herpes which effects the mouth and face. Then, there is genital herpes. There are two different viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2 that cause these conditions. The viruses live on nerves. They live in the nerves but travel up to the skin or mucous membrane to duplicate. This is called shedding. Then, it travels back down into the nerve and can remain there, dormant for a period of time.
The sad fact is that about 20 percent of all individuals living in the United States have HSV-2, which is the virus that causes genital herpes. But, HSV-1, the virus that causes oral herpes is present in upwards of 50-80 percent of adults! The sad part of this equation is that up to 90% of those who have herpes do not even know they have it.
It is spread from person to person. Oral herpes can be spread during kissing. Genital herpes is spread most often by vaginal sex and anal sex. But, it can be spread during oral sex as well. It is important to know, though, that herpes needs a living being to live off of. That means that you can not catch it from things others have touched.
Can You Prevent Genital Herpes?
So, if this many people can be carriers for the virus, how are you to protect yourself? This is no easy task but there are several things that you can do to help protect you from contracting genital herpes.
Whenever you engage in sex of any type, make sure that you take precautions against all sexually transmitted diseases. The use of a condom can help to reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus. But, this too is not a sure prevention of herpes. It is only useful to protect against herpes that is shedding in which the condom prevents contact with those areas.
The best way to prevent against contacting herpes is by not engaging in sexual acts whenever there are active sores on the genitals. Also, you should not engage in oral sex if either partner has the virus. Likewise, you should not allow anyone with oral herpes to give you oral sex either. The oral virus can become the genital herpes virus in this case.
Unfortunately, even this can be only partial coverage. The fact is that the viruses that cause herpes are contagious even when there are no visible signs of it. In this case, the only thing that can be done is to abstain from contact.
The Symptoms And What To Do
Knowing what the symptoms of the virus are will help you to take care of the problem if you should have it.
The most obvious sign of herpes is the sores that you will get. A cluster of small blisters that are fluid filled will form. They will then break and cause painful sores. These sores crust over and heal eventually. This process is likely to take several days for its full course.
A rash or small bumps is also an indication of an infection.
Painful urination can happen.
A fluid discharge from the vagina is also a sign of infection.
Flu like symptoms can be present when individuals first get the virus. Swollen lymph glands in the groin and a fever can accompany the flu like symptoms.
Prior to an outbreak, individuals may experience itching, burning or pain running up and down the leg.
Sometimes, there are no symptoms at all.
If you have any of these symptoms or fear that you may have been exposed to the herpes virus, you should seek medical attention. Tell your doctor your concerns. Antiviral drugs are often used to help those who have the virus. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the virus. Medications can make outbreaks less frequents and less painful, though. Zovirax, Famvir, and Valtrex are three commonly used drugs used to treat the virus. Seeking medical attention can help you to understand how you will live with the condition.
About the Author
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