Genital herpes is communicable infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2). Sometimes, HSV1 leads to the infection. When the virus enters your body, it can be reactivated often. Thus, you may suffer many outbreaks during your lifetime. Understanding how long genital herpes lasts can help you seek proper treatments and reduce the regular of the infection.
How long does genital herpes last?
The virus can be spread through skin contact during sexual acts such as oral, vaginal or anal sex. In addition, kissing or touching blisters increase your risk of contracting the infection. When you get the initial infection, it’s called primary infection. During the primary infection, a cluster of painful blisters tend to develop within 1- 2 weeks. You also experience burning, tingling and itching sensations. The blisters can last up to 10- 20 days. This may be the most painful and serious outbreak you’ll suffer.
After the primary infection, the virus can be reactivated by certain triggers such as stress, poor diet, and hormonal changes. During that outbreak, the HSV is activated and travels to the nerve fibers to the position of the original infection. That’s why redness and blisters of the secondary outbreak are at the same place with the first infection. Some people suffer many herpes outbreaks in a year whereas others may experience a few recurrences. Luckily, the symptoms of recurrences are less severe and shorter than the first attack. They last within 7- 10 days, unlike 10- 20 days during the primary infection. The frequency of herpes outbreaks tends to decrease over time. However, if you suffer more than 5 recurrences a year, see your doctor to have proper treatments.
How long does it take herpes to show symptoms?
As the virus doesn’t show up any symptoms in some people, they even don’t know they’ve had the virus. But, herpes symptoms generally show up between 2 to 7 days after the infectious agent exposure. For first time infection, symptoms often occur on the infected area. You may experience symptoms via different stages:
- Tingling, burning and itching sensations at affected are
- Sores begin to appear in the genitals (on the penis, scrotum, in the vulva or cervix)
- These blisters break open with fulfill of fluid
- They become crusted and can be healed automatically
However, the severity of the infection is depending on the immune system. If you have strong immune system, it helps you to fight against the recurrences. Otherwise, children, adults or pregnant women tend to increase herpes symptoms and outbreaks.
How to deal with genital herpes?
Although herpes isn’t curable, treatment is helpful. Using herpes treatment may help to speed up the healing time and control the regular of further outbreaks.
1. Use antiviral medications
If you have genital herpes, your doctor often prescribe Acyclovir, Valtrex or Famvir to deal with the infection. These antiviral drugs don’t treat herpes completely. They only help relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of an outbreak. Side effects don’t often occur, but you may have headache, itchiness, fatigue or nausea. Besides, you can use antiviral creams to treat genital herpes. ProsurX is one of the best antiviral creams for genital herpes. The cream contains powerful antiviral ingredients approved by FDA. So, it helps clear active outbreak fast and stop herpes recurrences before they start. Unlike traditional cream, ProsurX destroys the virus both on the surface and in lower skin layers. Thus, genital herpes is healed completely without recurrences.
2. Ease your symptoms
Herpes symptoms are annoying, they cause itching, tingling and burning sensations. You can treat herpes by reducing its symptoms. Take OTC pain reliever or can help relieve pain, swelling and discomfort. In addition, you can apply a cold compress to ease pain. Wrap an ice pack in a cloth and keep it to the affected area about 20 minutes. Besides, wearing loose clothing is an effective way to cope with herpes outbreaks. This avoids blocked air to the affected area and helps reduce irritation fast.
3. Use home remedies
Home remedies are effective and cheap to cure genital herpes. Coconut oil and aloe vera are rich in antiviral, antifungal and anti- inflammatory properties. These help ease the activity of herpes. You can apply them directly to the affected area. Also, tea tree oil is great to treat herpes, but you should dilute it with water before using to avoid reaction. It’s better when you drink tea Echinacea tea daily as it helps ease itching, redness and inflammation.
4. Eat lysine foods
Lysine is an amino acid that shortens the duration of a genital herpes outbreak. You should follow your diet to reduce arginine and increase lysine. Arginine is also an amino acid but it worsens the infection and triggers recurrences. Beans, fish, fruits, green vegetables and yogurts are rich in lysine that should be added. In addition, you can take lysine supplement to prevent outbreak. But, if you have heart disease, high cholesterol, you should consult your doctor before taking the supplement.
Related: Herpes and How to Diet With It
5. Take rest
To help your immune system fight against the virus, you should take rest. Take a nap when you feel tired. You also need to get enough sleep, try to sleep 8-9 hours per day. This helps you reduce stress and gain more energy.
Genital herpes is a highly contagious infection. All people who are sexually active also have risk of getting the infection. Though genital herpes can be reactivated many times, it tends to be less severe than the primary infection. Understanding how long genital herpes lasts may keep your mind out of worry and help you deal with it fast.