What is The Longest a Herpes Outbreak can Last – When you hear the word “herpes,” the image that comes to mind is perhaps one of a sore at the edge of your lip that crops up every time you have a cold or a fever. But herpes is a little more difficult than that. Believe it or not, maximum people who have herpes have absolutely no idea.
That’s because, for the most part, the virus can be entirely asymptomatic. Typically, the initial infection when it comes to oral herpes occurs sometime during childhood and not from sexual contact, and the symptoms are a lot more like a cold.
In simple cases, the initial outbreak can involve fever, swollen lymph nodes, swollen gums, and sores in your mouth, throat, or on your tongue. An initial herpes outbreak persists for around 14 days but can take up to six weeks for sores to fully heal.
Later outbreaks aren’t re-infection with a similar virus. They’re the identical virus “waking up.” Herpes viruses persist in your body and park themselves in your nerves. For the maximum part, your immune system works to keep them inactive.
But if you catch a cold or another disease, or if you’re experiencing stress and your immune system is “distracted,” the virus can break free and cause a cold sore. Triggers differ and everyone is different, but on average, recurrent cold sores last from one to two weeks if you contain the tingling or burning sensation that appears before the outbreak occurs. Recurrent outbreaks are shorter and last one to two weeks. One learning found that discomfort from these outbreaks usually lasts about seven days without treatment.
While oral herpes is most usually caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), genital herpes is more often caused by the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2).
What is The Longest a Herpes Outbreak can Last?
Much like oral herpes, an early genital herpes infection can last a lot longer than subsequent outbreaks and might be accompanied by fever and other whole-body symptoms and some symptoms might continue for weeks. Recurrent genital herpes outbursts cause symptoms like itching, redness, and irritation in the genital area, but like oral herpes, genital herpes can also be asymptomatic.
A genital herpes outbreak might begin with pain in the genitals and shooting pains or tingling in your legs, hips, or butt. These indications naturally happen before you can see any blisters or lesions.
Unlike the initial infection, later outbreaks tend to cause less discomfort and heal much faster. Sores from a recurrent genital herpes outbreak can heal in 3–7 days. The number of outbreaks people experience with indications also declines naturally over time (CDC, 2021).
What are Herpes Outbreak Treatment Options?
Even without treatment, maximum herpes outbreaks go away on their own. There are treatments available, though, which have been established to shorten and even prevent future outbreaks. These antiviral medications work by stopping the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through your cells to cause an outbreak.
If you suffer from oral herpes, a healthcare provider might recommend a topical cream or ointment that you should apply at the initial sign of an outbreak. If you experience recurring genital herpes outbreaks, you might be offered oral herpes treatments which are medicines you take by mouth.
Instances of antiviral drugs include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. These are all normal options proven to support decreasing the severity and length of outbreaks from herpes (CDC, 2015).
Prescription antiviral treatments are typically very effective at preventing future outbreaks, reducing the chance of experiencing an outbreak by 70–80%. Numerous people on antiviral therapy report experiencing no herpes symptoms at all (CDC, 2015). Using medication within the first 24 hours of symptoms can shorten outbreaks by numerous hours or days, eventually dropping any discomfort in the long run (Albrecht, 2019).
What are the Alternative Treatment Options for Herpes?
There is some indication that low-level laser therapy might aid shorten the length of a herpes outbreak. While it hasn’t been shown to stop outbreaks, it likely won’t hurt. The procedure is naturally performed by a dermatologist.
LLLT uses mild lasers to excite healing and reduce inflammation and pain. There are LLLT devices designed for at-home use, but they’re classically used to stimulate hair growth. There also aren’t any on the market at this time that has been shown to shorten herpes outbreaks.
One learning found that using an LLLT device for three minutes a day for two days was sufficient to cut healing time by 2–3 days (Cauthen, 2018).
What Really Triggers a Herpes Outbreak?
As we have mentioned above, following your initial herpes infection, the virus lies dormant in your nerves. Your immune system typically keeps it at bay.
But your immune system can only contract with so much at once. That means if you have dormant herpes and your immune system needs to fend off another virus or bacteria, it might get “distracted,” permitting herpes to crop up. That’s why cold sores are called cold sores or fever blisters—they naturally appear when you catch another bug (Campbell, 2012).
Different kinds of stress can also trigger outbreaks. Psychological stress, especially the stress caused by extreme emotional upset, can main to an outbreak (Yan, 2020).
Things that reason physical stress can also contribute. Sunlight is a mutual trigger of oral herpes outbreaks, while friction from tight clothing or sex, and even hormone changes related to menstruation, are mutual triggers of genital herpes outbreaks (Lautenschlager, 2020).
Speak to a healthcare provider about your options and which treatments might be active for stopping or shortening your outbreaks.
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