September 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm #1352
I was advised that I had HSV 2 in December 2013 after a very severe initial outbreak. Since this time I have had outbreaks every month. I initially started taking Valtrex at the time of outbreak but since they were occurring every month I then started taking 500 MG twice a day. For the past 4-5 weeks I have had symptoms every day. I do not believe that I have had blisters. If so that may have been during the 1st or 2nd week, but I have had tingling, numbness pain and burning in my buttocks and vaginal area every day. I recently went back to the doctor and my dosage for Valtrex was increased to 500 MG 3times per day for the next month to see if this helps.
I have been reading and trying to understand what this disease means for my life, but I have children at home and have become and emotional, nervous wreck over the possibility of infecting them. I have become obsessive about cleaning toilet seats, washing my hands, etc. One area that confuses me is the concept of viral shedding. Since I have had the tingling, burning etc. the past month does this mean that the virus is always shedding during the period of time? I have read that the virus can shed thru the skin. Does this mean that the virus lives on top of my skin and therefore my skin is contagious?
This past Saturday, during the time when I was experiencing symptoms my lower thigh was irritated. It felt as though I had been bitten by a bug. It never dawned on me that this might be herpes related. I scratched my thigh. Sometime later (this may have been 1 hour or even longer), my son came to me and with a pimple on his nose that was causing him some irritation. I popped the pimple and immediately thought about the possibility that the virus may have been on my hand from scratching my leg earlier. I immediately cleaned his wound and have been a nervous wreck every since.
I know that herpes lives in the “boxer short” area (just learned this). If I am experiencing tingling, burning, etc., ,but no blisters does this mean that the virus is present on top of my skin. If I scratch an area does this mean that the virus is now on my hands and if so how long would it live there? If I touch other people with it on my hand am I at risk of infecting others?
The other day my son fell and scraped his knee. I washed my hands at least 3 times before tending to his wound…again I have become obsessive. While I can accept what this disease means for my life, I need to protect my children. PLEASE HELP
September 12, 2014 at 7:11 pm #1353
It sounds like herpes is really making your life pretty miserable.
Can we step back just a minute and fill me in on how this happened to you? Have you recently had a new partner? How were you diagnosed with herpes?
You’ve had herpes for about nine months now and have been taking daily medication, I would expect that it would be settling down a little by now. Sometimes, people have nerve irritation that persists beyond the actual blisters and that’s what I think is going on with you. In addition, you have lots of worries about your children and infecting them, so let’s talk about that first.
This is a sexually transmitted infection. It is NOT transmissible through normal household contacts such as those that you have described. Also, when we think about viral shedding, that occurs in the genital area (including the anal area) only – the skin of the thigh and the buttocks and belly are too thick for virus to come off of them and be “shed” without an obvious lesion or sore. Shedding only occurs from skin that is very thin, like the labia is thin. The same thing that makes sex fun, lots of nerve endings close to the surface to the skin and easily stimulated, also allows for viral shedding.
The episode that you describe of thigh itching presented no risk to your child at all. Now it is possible to get lesions on the thigh, blisters, but if you have no blisters, you are not shedding virus from that area.
If you touch the genital area, and are worried about shedding, simply wash your hands before leaving the bathroom, and only once, not three times.
When you say you’ve had outbreaks every month but no blisters, that’s confusing, can you clarify that?
Is the 500 mg of Valtrex three times a day helping you?
In summary, just for now, you are no where near as infectious as you think you are. Your children are at no risk from you. I have never, in 32 years of practice, seen or heard of someone with genital herpes infecting their child.
If you could answer my questions, that would be great.
I’m out of the country lecturing, but I will try to answer you as soon as I can; we are on opposite time schedules from each other.
September 12, 2014 at 11:44 pm #1356
Thank you very much for your response. The answers to your questions are as follows:
I was married for 18 years and then separated from my husband. During this time he was involved with someone. Last year we attempted to reconcile, something I now deeply regret. Prior to reconciliation I mandated that he be tested for STDs. Unfortunately the Dr. tested for everything except herpes. When I questioned him about his status he realized that he had indeed had outbreaks..one or two blisters a couple of times a year, but no other symptoms. Because the symptoms were so mild he did not conclude that he may have an STD. He is pretty certain that the person who gave it to him was fully aware of her status and did not disclose her status. To this day she still denies knowing anything at all about the situation.
In regards to my outbreaks, the first was very bad. Lots of lesions, swollen glands, tremendous pain, etc. Since this time I do have monthly outbreaks but they are not as severe. Typically I have the tingling, burning, and a few small blisters. I was concerned because for the past month I have had the constant, tingling, burning, etc. This started as a typical outbreak and I do believe I had a couple of blisters, but the tingling, numbness and burning has not subsided at all. I have never had blisters on my thighs. They are always in the genital/buttocks area.
I have only been taking the Valtrex 3x per day for the 3 days and I still feel the same. It is quite possible that it’s just nerve sensitivity…I simply do not know. I went to the Dr. this week and he was not able to answer some of these questions but did increase my medication.
I am very diligent about washing my hands when leaving the bathroom…actually very obsessive about that. However, I feel the need to wash my hands anytime I touch my child or I immediately get concerned if I forget to wash my hands. In addition, I grow concerned if he ever climbs in my bed or lays next to me.
Sadly, yes this has made my life quite miserable, but hopefully by getting answers to some of these questions I can start to feel better both emotionally and physically.
Thank you again for your help.
September 13, 2014 at 5:59 am #1357
OK thanks for answering my questions. When you were diagnosed with herpes, did you find out if you have type 1 or type 2?
It’s good that you are diligent about washing your hands, but I would strongly urge you to only wash as you always have. Sometimes people can get into a pattern of truly being obsessive about herpes, and I fear this could be happening to you. You do NOT need to wash your hands prior to touching your children if you’ve washed your hands after using the bathroom. You do NOT need to worry about your children getting into your bed and contracting herpes, that just isn’t how this is transmitted.
I have a saying – don’t have two problems for the price of one. You have herpes. Don’t have herpes AND develop obsessive compulsive disorder AND possibly impact your children for the rest of their lives with you behaving differently towards them because you fear infecting them. Just have herpes. Period. Keep trying to manage the outbreaks and believe in your heart that you are not going to infect your children that you clearly love very much.
You have one more question that you’ve paid for so feel free to ask more if you want to do that.
September 14, 2014 at 12:06 am #1360
I have HSV2 which was diagnosed after a swab test during my initial outbreak.
After reviewing your answers I am starting to feel better about my primary concern…infecting my children. I think it is going to take
some time to be able to fully relax and be more comfortable, but I am starting to feel better and that’s a start.
I did want to ask one last question just because I’ve read so many conflicting things. How long does herpes live outside the body (i.e. if it were on your hands or an object). I have read that it dies very quickly once exposed to air and/or it does not live very long outside the body.
Lastly, I want to thank you for your work. I have read your book and some of your work on other sites, which ultimately led me here.
Dealing with herpes is very difficult and having to sort thru all of the information that is available can be quite difficult. Working with someone who is both knowledgeable and understanding is really helpful in dealing with this. Thank you again
September 14, 2014 at 5:12 am #1361
I’m glad you are starting to be feel more relaxed about infecting your children. This concern is not unique to you – I’ve certainly had people, both men and women, concerned about this in the past.
Herpes can live off the body a very short time. And when it does, it is likely not to be able to be infectious to other given it’ very small quantity and the fact that it takes a substantial quantity of virus to infect another person. Again, in 32 years, I have never seen or heard of anyone getting herpes from something other than another person through a sexual contact. Now there are people who want to THINK that’s how they got it, but all of them have been sexually active adults and have a sexual experience at some point consistent with risk for herpes.
I can only imagine how sad you must be to have gotten herpes from a husband with whom you are no longer connected, while trying to get reconnected. Please continue to live fully and let this become a background issue in your life rather than a focus. It sounds like you have some small ones around that will be a wonderful focus.
September 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm #1368
I have a follow-up question and believe I need to pay, but don’t see an option to do that. Please let me know how do I pay for the follow-up questions
My question is as follows:
Ironically a week after my thigh scratching incident which had me worried that I had infected my son, he now has flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, swollen glands in the neck, etc.). The rational side of me says it’s typical child illness. The irrational worrisome me says its a result of the incident a week ago. My question is during an initial outbreak if there are flu-like symptoms would this also include blisters/sores or could you just have the flu symptoms? Additionally does the herpes sores always present themselves in the area where the initial infection take place (i.e. on the nose in this case).
I’m really trying to get better with this and was actually starting to feel better, but this illness, especially given the timing has me worried all over again.
September 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm #1374Westover HeightsKeymaster
Hi Lost and Confused. Thanks for the input. You may change your membership level by logging in. The back end has changed so once you log in- you will be presented with the option of changing your membership level at the bottom of the page.
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