Among many incurable diseases, Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 and Type-2 have also drawn scientists and healthcare providers’ attention. They are both contagious diseases, and currently, there is no cure. HSV-1 mainly spreads by mouth to mouth contact to cause oral herpes. It can spread if an infected person shares their accessories with others and can also spread by oral sex, causing genital herpes. The signs of HSV-1 are above the waist and generally formed around the mouth. These are most commonly known as cold sores. Blisters can also be found near the sex organs, causing genital herpes.
HSV-2 is an STD, and it usually spreads due to sexual intercourse or contact with an infected person’s fluid. It is called genital herpes because sores form around the sex organs. Other signs of genital herpes may include fever and body aches. Although there is no vaccine or medicine to cure herpes, scientists have developed some treatment guidelines to suppress and limit the virus.
Treatment of Herpes Simplex Type-1
HSV-1 mainly causes ulcers or blisters anywhere near the mouth or inside it. The blisters may heal entirely after a few weeks, but they may outbreak or re-appear anytime in future. The outbreak may be due to weakening of the immune system, stress or fever. The incubation period is generally from 2 days to 2 weeks. The doctors can diagnose herpes by seeing the appearance of blisters. In the absence of blisters, PCR tests or culture tests can be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
The infection can be healed in 2-3 weeks, and there are some home remedies to treat it. Lemon balm, L-lysine supplements, and vitamins have been recommended for the treatment of herpes simplex. However, L-lysine and Lemon balm have antiviral properties, but there are no confirmed studies to support it. Primary healthcare providers can treat cold sores, but a specialist is required in complicated cases, such as an eye specialist for a patient suffering from herpes keratitis. Abreva is one of the over the counter FDA approved medicines for the treatment of herpes.
Treatment of Herpes Simplex Type-2
Although there is no cure for Herpes Simplex, antiviral drugs can reduce the symptoms and outbreaks of herpes. It is not a cure, though, but it can ease the living conditions of a patient. The three main drugs commonly used to treat herpes are acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and Valacyclovir (Valtrex). They are taken in pill form, and severe cases can be treated with IV acyclovir. There are several phases of treatment given for herpes. In the initial treatment, if a patient is diagnosed with genital herpes, the doctor will usually provide a course (7-10 days) of these antiviral drugs to relieve the sores and prevent them from getting fatal or avoiding complications. The treatment may be longer if the sores don’t heal out.
After the initial treatment, there are two ways to take antiviral drugs. The option should be consulted with the doctor before starting treatment. First one is an intermittent treatment in which the doctor prescribes an antiviral medication if there’s a sign of sore or breakout. The pills should be taken for 2-5 days as soon as the patient realizes about the breakout.
The second option is the suppressive treatment which is for the patients who have frequent breakouts. Doctors advise these patients to take the drug every day, and this is called suppressive therapy. Many people who take it daily have no breakouts in a year. These treatments reduce the spread of the infection and shed the virus.