Frequently Asked Questions About Herpes

Frequently Asked Questions About Herpes

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  • Those with genital herpes feel tingling, burning, itching or even pain on the genital areas or other locations where the first blisters will appear
  • Oral herpes patients may notice blisters or rashes forming on their gums, lips, mouth or throat, while those with genital herpes may have rashes, cracked skin or another skin disorder on their genitals, instead of the usual blisters

Q: What does herpes look like?

A: Herpes typically manifests as blisters that appear in various body parts. Oral herpes patients usually develop cold sores, appearing as:1

  • Red blisters that leak and crack
  • Small blisters containing clear and yellowish fluidNo
  • Numerous small blisters that can clump together and form a larger blister
  • Yellow blisters that crust as they heal and turn into pink-colored skin

Meanwhile, genital herpes patients have small, painful blisters that are filled with clear or straw-colored fluid.2,3

Q: Does herpes spread to the anal area? Can your eyes become affected by herpes, too?

A: Yes, if the patient has genital herpes that prompts small, painful sores to appear around the genitals — usually on the penis or scrotum, or on the vagina and labia (outer vaginal lips). However, the virus could also cause sores to grow on the anus, eyes, mouth, lips, gums or tongue.4,5

Q: Does herpes itch?

A: Itching is a symptom linked to both oral and genital herpes. Patients with oral herpes experience itching, burning or tingling sensations near the lips or mouth.6 Meanwhile, those with genital herpes feel tingling, burning, itching or even pain on the genital areas or other locations where the first blisters will appear.7

Q: Will you experience rashes if you have herpes?

A: Yes, herpes patients may unfortunately develop rashes. Oral herpes patients may notice blisters or rashes forming on their gums, lips, mouth or throat,8 while those with genital herpes may have rashes, cracked skin or another skin disorder on their genitals, instead of the usual blisters.9

Q: Is herpes curable?

A: Sadly, herpes cannot be fully cured. However, natural herbal treatments such as lemon balm,10 aloe vera and Siberian ginseng11 can alleviate the pain caused by this sexually transmitted infection (STI). Herbal supplements like Echinacea,12 propolis, lysine and zinc13 may also work. Plus, common household items like ice packs, wet and non-herbal tea bags,14 petroleum jelly, apple cider vinegar and baking soda could assist in reducing herpes-caused pain.15,16,17

Q: Can you get herpes from a toilet seat?

A: No. You cannot become infected with herpes virus when you touch a washbasin or a working surface (such as a toilet seat), or wipe on a towel that was used or touched by someone with herpes. Common methods of transmission for this STI are unprotected vaginal or anal sex, sharing of infected sex toys, having oral sex with a person who has cold sores and/or touching the genitals of an infected person.18

Q: What should you do if you have herpes or are dating someone with herpes?

A: Honesty is the best policy, and this applies if you or your partner has herpes. If you have herpes, communicate and be open about your condition and feelings. Listen carefully to whatever your partner has to say and do not assign blame on anyone.19

When you will tell your partner about a herpes diagnosis is a choice you’ll have to make on your own, since there is no specific time or date for this. However, it is your obligation to tell him or her before continuing the relationship.20 Once your partner is informed and has agreed to go on with the relationship, consider other ways to induce sexual intimacy, such as non-genital forms of sexual contact.21

On the other hand, if it’s your partner who has herpes, do not place extra pressure if he or she does not want to pursue the relationship.22

Q: Can you die from herpes?

A: No, but people with genital herpes, because of an infection caused by the herpes type 2 virus, may have an increased risk of acquiring HIV.23 HIV is a dangerous condition that if left untreated, can result in complications like candidiasis, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus and tuberculosis (TB). In particular, TB is the leading cause of death among HIV patients.24

Some may also have an extremely rare complication called herpesviral encephalitis, wherein the virus infects the central nervous system. This leads to significant brain damage, inhibiting proper brain function and triggering severe pressure that could stop vital functions and lead to death.25 However, cases like these are rare.26

MORE ABOUT HERPES

Herpes: Introduction

What Is Herpes?

Herpes Types

Herpes Causes

Herpes Stages

Herpes Symptoms

Herpes Prevention

Herpes Diagnosis

Herpes Treatment

Living With Herpes

Herpes FAQ


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