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Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Herpes simplex

Synonyms: cold sores, fever blisters, herpes simplex

Overview

Herpes simplex, a common viral disease, is caused by two strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The strains are referred to as herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1) and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV2). HSV can infect all areas of the body but most commonly the cavity of the mouth and the genital area. HSV1 causes most breakouts around the mouth and HSV2 causes the majority of genital or buttock lesions. The signs and symptoms of HSV differ between oral and genital infections.

Oral Herpes

Herpes treatment

The initial infection (primary stage) of oral herpes is generally asymptomatic and is acquired through person-to-person contact such as kissing. The virus then lies dormant in a nerve root. Reactivation of the virus may be caused by a number of events such as a fever, intense sunlight, intense cold, or stress.

In the active (secondary) stage, individuals with oral herpes have "cold sores" around the mouth or on the face that may become painful ulcers. The early period immediately before the outbreak is referred to as the prodromal period and from this time to the end of the outbreak, the virus can be transmitted to another person by direct contact.

Genital Herpes

The stages of genital herpes are very similar to oral herpes with an initial stage that manifests with few symptoms and is less contagious. The secondary stage, which can occur unpredictably but is usually mediated by stress or sickness, shows lesions on the vulva or penis.

The lesions are often painful and itchy may also be accompanied by difficulty urinating, lymph node enlargement with tenderness, and puss-like discharge. The herpes virus is most contagious during the active periods but can spread immediately before the outbreak occurs.

For both genital and oral herpes, the dormancy period involves the virus "resting" within the nervous tissue around the initially infected area.

Diagnosis

Herpes is commonly diagnosed based upon the symptoms described above paired with frequent recurrence in the same area. Rapid tests have been developed to detect antibodies to the herpes virus. Positive results reveal that you have been exposed to HSV1 or HSV2 in the past.

However, 90% of inner-city populations carry HSV1 antibodies and about 35% carry HSV2. The presence of antibodies does not diagnose a current outbreak. In some instances, samples of representative lesions are taken and tested for the presence of the HSV1 or HSV2 virus.

Management

Once diagnosed with herpes, managing the disease includes caring for sores during outbreaks as well as preventing their recurrence. Several medications and dietary guidelines are outlined below as well as advice on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

Treatment and Medication

While there is no cure for herpes, a few medications are available for control. Famvir™, Valtrex™, and Acyclovir are currently used to treat and prevent cold sores and genital herpes. None of these drugs cure the disease but all help alleviate or prevent symptoms. In addition to medication, you should keep lesions as dry as possible to speed healing.

Your diet can also play an important role since the amino acid lysine, found in fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, and beans, has been shown to reduce the recurrence of outbreaks. Some people feel that they can stop outbreaks by daily lysine supplementation. Condoms help prevent the spread of herpes among individuals.

Coping

Remember, if you have been infected with herpes, you are not alone. The disease affects many people who live normal lives. Especially with genital herpes, the ulcers are concealed and do not affect any daily activities. Open communication with partners is important so that both of you can practice safe intercourse. In the middle of an outbreak, you should avoid contact, and medications can mitigate symptoms.

Support Groups and References

Since genital and oral herpes is extremely common in the United States, with an estimate of 45 million people or one out of every five infected, there are many places to turn for support.

The website: http://www.herpes.com contains more information regarding the disease. A list of support groups organized by state is found on http://www.herpes.com/supportgroups.shtml. The Center for Disease control also contains information on herpes and other genital diseases at http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes. If you think you have genital herpes speak to your physician about treatment options.

How can we help you?

SKIN

# of surveys: 4187
Last updated: 1/02/2024 11:10 AM

PATIENT RATINGS

Would you recommend us?

definitely
93.1%
probably
6.16%
maybe
0.58%
not likely
0.08%
no
0.02%

Compare our service to other similar practices

excellent
87.9%
very good
10.1%
good
1.8%
poor
0.06%
very poor
0%

Overall doctor performance

excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
good
0.80%
poor
0.03%
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The doctor listened to you attentively

excellent
93.9%
very good
4.97%
good
1.05%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

The doctor took time to answer your questions

excellent
94.0%
very good
4.66%
good
1.27%
poor
0.02%
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0%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
94.3%
very good
4.16%
good
1.25%
poor
0.14%
very poor
0.02%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
92.0%
very good
5.69%
good
2.18%
poor
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Front desk performance

excellent
85.6%
very good
10.2%
good
3.66%
poor
0.31%
very poor
0.08%

Aesthetician performance

excellent
88.6%
very good
7.61%
good
3.39%
poor
0.24%
very poor
0.08%

Office comfort

excellent
90.9%
very good
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good
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Parking

excellent
66.4%
very good
14.4%
good
15.7%
poor
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very poor
0.9%

Friendliness of the staff during appointment

excellent
90.9%
very good
7.23%
good
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poor
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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

I am very impressed with Dr. Ringpfeil. She took the time to answer all my questions. I never felt rushed. I would recommend her to everyone I know.

#12023-12-09

Doctor was very knowledgable.

#22024-04-20

Pleasant staff

#32023-11-03

My visit was very professional. I walked in and was assisted with emmediately. I am very happy with the service that was given to me today. I will gladly return.

#42024-04-18

I was extremely impressioned with the professionalism of the entire staff and the uplifing atmosphere of the office as it made me feel relaxed and welcomed. I love the color scheme of the office too!

#52023-06-24

Definitely the best overall dermatology practice I've seen (I've seen a lot). Very well run and obviously the Dr. is extremely expert and knowledgeable.

#62011-06-09 11:41:32

The doctor was extremely attentive and I did not feel rushed at all. This is by far the best experience I have had at the dermatologist

#72024-04-27

Friendliness of everyone.

#82024-02-02

Excellent explanations by Dr. Ringpfeil along with knowledge and treatment. The option to fill out the form on the computer was great.

#92023-12-08

The friendliness of the staff, their attitude, their orange uniform..yessssss.

#102023-08-20

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Service was fantastic. No suggestions.

#12011-11-29 13:58:45

Can't everything was excellent!!!

#22011-12-06 11:22:30

i was completely satisfies with everything and everyone. Even my lateness was not held against me.

#32024-02-11

I did not have any issues. The service was great.

#42023-08-06

Everything was excellent.

#52023-08-27

I had problems with my insurance. Since you took my insurance information over the phone it might have been nice to know that before I came in so I could have fixed it.

#62011-05-19 10:14:50

more than adequate service!

#72024-04-16

I was very pleased!!

#82024-05-02

Everything was great

#92023-11-16

I had an appointment for a consulation for sun damage. Unfortunately, I need to see either a doctor or PA for my issue and this was not included in my appointment, so I need to make another trip. It is difficult for me to carve time out of my work day to take care of personal needs, so this is creating an inconvenience for me. I would have preferred to had the complete consultation done in one appointment.

#102011-02-14 14:14:53

Customer Rating : 4.6

Based on 537 ratings
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