Herpes is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S. More than 45 million people in the U.S. -- one in five adults and adolescents -- carry the virus.
It's highly contagious and incurable, but with education and medical treatment, you can reduce or prevent outbreaks and transmission to your sexual partner.
Genital herpes can cause serious or fatal infections in newborns if the mother is shedding the virus at the time of vaginal delivery. The virus also makes it easier for a person...
The herpes virus stays in your body for the
rest of your life. After the first outbreak, it becomes
inactive. Then, in most people, it gets active again from
time to time, causing blisters and sores.
Some people have many outbreaks each year, while others have only a few
or none at all. People
who have symptoms average 5 outbreaks a year during the first few years.
Most have fewer outbreaks after that.
People report that certain things may trigger outbreaks, such as:
infections, such as a cold or the flu.
Physical injury, such as
irritation, of the genital area.
New sex partners.
Any condition that weakens the immune system.
half of the people who have repeated outbreaks can feel one coming a few hours to a couple of days before it happens. They may
feel tingling, burning, itching, numbness, tenderness, or pain where the
blisters are about to appear.
People who have an
impaired immune system are more likely to have longer
and/or more severe outbreaks of genital herpes than people whose immune systems
Although it's rare, genital herpes can cause other health problems—some of them serious—if the virus travels to other parts of the body.
In rare cases, a newborn is infected with the herpes
virus during delivery. Because their
immune systems aren't fully developed,
newborns with herpes infection can have serious health
problems affecting many body systems. It may take up to 3 weeks after a newborn
is infected before he or she becomes ill.
If the mother has a genital herpes blister or sore at the time of labor and delivery, a
cesarean section is usually done. Cesarean section may be recommended if a woman has tingling or pain suggesting an impending outbreak.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 14, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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