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Thread: Can herpes be life-threatening?

  1. Default Can herpes be life-threatening?

    A friend just found out he has one, but refuses to get it treated. He says all he needs is Valtrex, but I don't want him taking meds left and right just like that. Any advice?


  2. #2
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    Herpes infection has several types. There are those which can be life-threatening. As for Valtrex, yes it is a medication for herpes but he can't self-medicate just like that. He should be seen by a doctor who can best determine what type of medication & how much would be best for him.
    Helpful riverstyx, naynay Rated helpful

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    Heres my advice. Go to a doctor or suffer the consequences.
    Helpful riverstyx Rated helpful

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
    A friend just found out he has one, but refuses to get it treated. He says all he needs is Valtrex, but I don't want him taking meds left and right just like that. Any advice?
    How can someone only have 1 herpe?

    Maybe it's something else.
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    Having diarrhea can be life threatening, just ask people in Africa who die from it. Having the flu can be life threatening. Most anything can be life threatening if left untreated.
    Helpful riverstyx, naynay Rated helpful

  6. #6
    Herpes can be misdiagnosed very easily. I'll do my best to help you out, but I'm in not a doctor. I read a lot, so all this information below is based off memory. If anything is incorrect, somebody please correct me.

    There are two type of Herpes, Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). In most cases HSV-1 appears in for the form of cold sores or fever blisters around the lips, mouth, and tongue, but it can also be spread to the genital region. HSV-2, in most cases, is found in the genital regions. However, it can also be spread to the mouth. When most people refer for HSV-2, they are talking about genital herpes, and HSV-1 as cold sores around the mouth. It is important to know that they are 2 different viruses. There are no cures for either HSV-1 or HSV-2.

    There is a extremely high percentage of Americans who carry HSV-1 (I've read somewhere near 40-45%). Some of these people don't even know that they have it because they've never had a breakout or the breakouts are so small and infrequent that they don't even notice them. HSV-1 can be contracted from birth, kissing someone who has HSV-1, sharing drinking glasses, etc. If someone has an HSV-1 outbreak, it's possible that they spread the HSV-1 virus to another person's genitals if oral sex is given. Outbreaks can occur monthly, yearly, or even more infrequently. It is hard to determine what causes an outbreak, but it can be related to stress, diet, medications, and a bunch of other factors. Usually the first outbreak is the worst, and each outbreak gets smaller after that. Some people never experience an outbreak after the first occurrence.

    A person infected with either HSV1 or HSV2 is most "contagious" when they have an outbreak, particularly the first few days before the physical symptoms show up. So just because a sore is not visible, does not mean it cannot be spread.

    Again, there is no cure for either form of the virus. Medicines like Valtrex help limit the frequency of occurrences and may lessen the severity of an outbreak.

    As far as herpes being life-threatening, yes and no. Herpes is most dangerous, and life threatening, when a women is delivering a baby and also having a HSV-1 or HSV-2 outbreak in the genital region. The virus can spread to the newborn and in some cases it can be fatal to the infant.

    Please provide us with as much information as possible. I learned most of this information because I once thought I had herpes. I went to the doctor and learned it was just a bad ingrown hair. He said that it is very common for people to misdiagnose herpes, since it looks very similar to a pimple or ingrown hair.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. If you provided more information, I would probably be able to assist you further. However, your friend does indeed need to see a doctor or a professional.
    Helpful riverstyx, qjumpa, Polynikes666 Rated helpful
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  7. #7
    Dbrent is offline Banned Reason: shilling for an email source
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    from what ive read and heard, people can live a long time with herpes, they will simply have "outbreaks" occasionally. And even those can be lessened with medication. Mostly Herpes is just a viral problem, not a death sentence. You can have a great life, however you must be cautious as it can spread to others very easily.

  8. #8
    cosmofixed1 is offline Banned Reason: repeated advertising within weeks of joining the forum
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    Definitely depends on what kind of herpes. Herpes itself is a pretty broad term. My advice would be to have your friend see the doctor.

  9. #9
    Also, just thought I would add that herpes can also spread to the eyes. So if you have an outbreak, make sure you wash you hands vigorously before touching your eyes. Herpes, when spread to the eye, can be very damaging and I believe in some cases can cause blindness.
    Helpful riverstyx Rated helpful

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    And don't share towels. If you use a towel on a lesion, it should go into the wash. Someone else could use the same towel which may have touched the lesion, and then the virus could spread to them. Of course this depends on how you and the other person used the towel. But herpes is nothing to mess with, that is for sure. Very contagious.

    And I agree w/the poster who questioned the friend having one lesion. That sounds unusual to me and means it could be some other type of virus which may need a different med. The friend needs at least one initial official diagnosis to be sure of what s/he has.
    Last edited by SpaceMatters; 04-23-2011 at 06:43 PM.
    Helpful Jolie Rated helpful

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Fireplaces View Post
    And don't share towels
    I cant help but remember the old joke How can you tell if you're staying over at the wrong girl's apartment? The towels in her bathroom are labeled "His" and "Herpes."

    Sorry I could not resist.

    I get the cold sore every year like clock work. If I leave it alone it goes away in a few days. Last time I had a public engagement and tried everything to conceal it and just made it last longer.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
    Can herpes be life-threatening?
    St. Peter is standing at the gates:
    "Cause of Death?"
    "Herpes"
    "That's odd... Herpes isn't lethal."
    "It is if you give it to Leroy!"
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    fredtatem is offline Banned Reason: Shill reviews. Vendor in disguise.
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    I know that genital herpes in women if left untreated by medication such as valtrex can cause cervical cancer later in life. This isn't meant to scare you. Your boyfriend needs to be on valtrex as soon as possible and you should get the HPV vaccine. (However HSV and HPV are different and I am not a doctor, Im just typing things that I have knowledge of)

  14. Apparently it increases depression and suicidal thoughts, does that count? Seriously though, it's not gonna kill him. He doesn't NEED Valtrex, and it won't cure him, it just helps control symptoms.

  15. #15
    if you have a good immune system it shouldn't be, but i'm no doctor. More of an annoyance than anything.

  16. When I was pregnant with my first child my husband's bum broke out in a rash that looked just like herpes. The doctor even diagnosed it as herpes but made him take a blood test. His test came back negative so we deduced that it was a stress rash. I did a little research and found that there are at least 2 different blood tests that can be done but you could still get a false negative...maybe things have changed since then. When I was pregnant with our second his head broke out in a rash...what i do to this poor man!!

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    I have never heard of it affecting an adult that way, although it certainly could happen I suppose. Inevitably Herpes could certainly make one quite miserable if not treated.

    But I HAVE heard of it killing an infant - child born vaginally to mother who had Herpes. I think I saw that on DR G (FL medical examiner) show where she (Dr G) talks about unusual deaths. In the case she featured, the baby died from herpes because their immune system is not fully developed at child birth. Also if my memory is correct, there is not much one can do about except if the Mother knows she has Herpes, she should get a C Section, otherwise the child may die from it.

    Really a sad outdome.
    Last edited by fnh; 05-24-2011 at 08:34 PM.

  18. Probably it is more contagious if you don't take the antiviral meds. That's not fair to others. How sick you get also depends what part of your body is infected. Babies who catch it during birth from a mother can become blind if not treated. If it somehow got in your brain, it could kill you for sure.

    And this is not relavant, but it is interesting--there is another type of herpes virus: Check out this article on the CDC website: B Virus (herpes B, monkey B virus, herpesvirus simiae, and herpesvirus B)

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    In regards to the one lesion, yes, I would doublecheck and get diagnosed. I don't mind getting personal so I'll share my scare.

    I had one lesion on my vagina and as it was something I've never seen before, it scared me. Although I had no reason to suspect catching herpes, I friend of mine was recently diagnosed and I was hyper aware. I am also someone who believes in regular testing and HIV testing even if you aren't high-risk. Social responsibility you know? I still get tested even though I've been in a 3 1/2 year very monogamous relationship in which I have no doubt my man is faithful (he's a godsend!)

    Anyways, I went to Planned Parenthood as I was too embarrassed to see my regular PCP (she's more like a family friend than a doc), silly I know, but I was only 21 and scared. The gynecologist at PP's first instinct was herpes, even though it was just one lesion. She did a culture and it came back negative. Turns out, if you have high stress levels, it can cause such lesions (I don't deal with stress so well - law school stress plus flu = serious autoimmune disease for me and lead to my chronic pain).

    It was also suggested, as I had previously had chicken pocks as a child and there was some itchy bump under my eyes on the same side as the lesion, it could have been a minor case of shingles. When you get shingles, all the physical manifestations tend to manifest on one side of the body. Kinda in the same family as herpes, but not contagious or as severe or sexually transmitted.

    Hope this helps and good luck to your friend.
    Helpful riverstyx, naynay Rated helpful
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    "Life is your right, so don't give up the fight!" - Bob Marley

  20. I agree that testing is smart whether you are high risk or not. And even if it's not a life threatening virus, it's still inconvenient and something that can be passed to others.

    Heck, HIV is not life threatening anymore with medication but it certainly is the responsible thing to get testing regularly to make sure you aren't passing it to others.
    Helpful Jolie Rated helpful
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