The short answer is no – herpes antiviral medication will not help with flu. (This a question that we have been asked lately – of course!)
There are millions of different viruses in the world. Antiviral drugs that work to suppress herpes viruses (herpes simplex and herpes varicella – chickenpox) have no impact on any of these other viruses. And this includes those that cause colds, flu and Covid-19.
Will taking antivirals make any difference to getting Covid-19?
Taking antiviral pills will make no difference to your immune response – the pills work only on the virus, not on human cells at all.
– should people with herpes worry more about Covid-19?
The short answer is no. (This is the other question that has come up a lot!)
At least two thirds of adults carry herpes simplex infections (facial cold sores and/or genital herpes) by age 25 – all over the world. Herpes simplex may cause symptoms in people when they are ill or stressed. But its effect on the immune system of otherwise healthy people is minimal and having herpes is not likely to make any difference to people who catch Covid-19.
A single “tiny tube” is all they need. They are comparing antibodies in people with type 2 who do, and who don’t, get outbreaks. This could be helpful in future vaccine research. It is hoped that a vaccine could be used to treat people with too many outbreaks in order to give a “functional cure”. (This means to “take away the symptoms“.)
Interested? To help research: contact Dr Bret S. Palmer via e-mail at [email protected] to find out more and how you can take part in the study. (IRAS Project ID: 260102)
I was talking to a woman on the helpline. She told me that she was beating herself up for catching herpes – at young age – and it was caught from sex that she hadn’t wanted anyway… [Some call this ‘rape’!] And she was beating herself up for falling for the wrong guys. She felt that she was being punished… Later, she added that she was depressed as well.
This is what
I told her, over the course of the conversation:
the age of fifteen, one third of
us have herpes, so having it ‘young’
is not at all unusual. Obviously, at this
age most cases will be facial – and only one in three people will
be aware they have it. (The other two
out of three have such mild symptoms that
they are not diagnosed.)
one UK survey, half the women and 43% of the men felt that they had first had
sex before they felt ready. So
regret is common and normal.
Many people have been unlucky in love. It is a charming fault to fall for people too easily. Of course, breaking-up is painful – you can get your heart broken. But this is much better than being a hard-hearted person!!!!
Depression can be caused by a hormone imbalance. It is not a personality defect. Get the right
treatment and you will feel positive again.
My best friend had this problem. Now, at
last, she says “It’s great to wake up and
not feel like doom is about to happen”
Lastly, don’t be judgmental. Don’t hammer yourself for things that you’d forgive your friends for. Ask yourself for all the issues that you are beating yourself up over: “Would I blame a friend?!”
It is just bad luck if we catch it. No one deserves bad luck. Bad luck is not a punishment for anything. It happens – sometimes in far more devastating ways. I mean that ‘saintly individuals get killed in car crashes’ – bad luck can happen to anyone! Wonderful still people catch viruses. Sometimes that virus is cold sores on the genitals…
A shingles vaccine is offered to volunteers. Are over 50? And have you had shingles (herpes varicella)? If so, you might qualify for the trial to prove the effectiveness of the ‘other’ shingles vaccine. [Currently, the vaccine offered to people in their 70s is Zostavax. This is a single jab.]
This trial is about a two-jab shingles vaccine (immunisation). The manufacturer, GSK, is running a placebo-controlled trial. This means that you might get the real thing, or a sterile water (safe placebo) injection instead. You won’t know, and neither will the person who carries out the vaccination.
Doctors were glad to find materials to help their patients with all sorts of skin conditions. And the herpes information leaflet was appreciated. It offers treatment advice and also emotional support… Several doctors said things along the lines of “I didn’t know there was this kind of support for my patients and they can be very upset about it.” And a couple of doctors even thanked us for having the stand!!!
Get your head around herpes! Have you just been diagnosed with genital herpes or have you had it for ages? How do you feel? Do you think it changes anything, or everything? I’m here to tell you that you might have the wrong idea.
When I was diagnosed, I thought
my dating life was over.
I felt shame and guilt. I
thought I was a bad person, so bad things had happened to me. I thought nobody
would want me. I wasted two years in my thirties…
I could not have been more wrong.
You might feel the same way now.
If you do, read on and perhaps I will be able to persuade you to look at herpes
Believe me: herpes simplex is way more common than you think. If you’ve been carrying around this deep dark secret for years – or only just caught it – know this: you are not alone!
Learning more helps!
By age 25, we know that one in ten have type 2. And because of oral sex, many of the 6 in ten with type 1 may have it genitally. In fact, more than half new diagnoses of genital herpes are caused by type 1. [ref 1] [ref. 2]
Over 85% of women between 35-54 have type 1 and lots of the type 1 is genital – and over 18% have type 2. In men the figures are 8% – 10% lower than in women. [Ref. Cunningham]
Most of these people are carriers of herpes and don’t even know they have it and may pass it on when they have very mild, undiagnosed symptoms – an itchy spot or slight rash.
So, it’s time to clear up all the misconceptions about herpes. Read the full website… Herpes doesn’t have to be a life-long problem… It may just fade away.
Don’t allow shame and worry to eat away and sap your self-esteem and self-confidence around potential new partners. Confide in someone you trust – or talk to one of our helpline volunteers who all have it themselves. Speaking about it to others before you get to the point of talking to a new partner is good – it will normalise it for you.
So, what happens when you finally meet that special person? Sooner or later you may want to have to have a conversation about it. You don’t have to, but if you feel as though you should, then you won’t relax until you do. We have a leaflet, “Talking to a New Partner” that is packed with good advice and tips – free to new members.
We have done the research and we can tell you that fewer than one in five partners will be put off. In spite of the hype, most people won’t take herpes nearly as seriously as you do. [Research by HVA found that only 17% of potential partners rejected one of our members when s/he talks about this…]
Learn to talk about it
One way to think about it is to
ask yourself how a person would behave if they got occasional facial cold
sores. Would they even consider mentioning it at all? Would anyone expect them
Lots more is discussed in our event “First Day of the Rest of Your Life” . There is a Saturday devoted to this every three months.
You may have seen articles in newspapers/online about ‘herpes in astronauts’. As usual they misrepresent. So if you haven’t, don’t bother to search – they are uniformly misleading. Not just in Metro which you might expect, but even the Independent got it wrong. As we have written before, journalists only know about one type of herpes and assume the scientists are writing about genital herpes, whether they are or not!
As you might expect, any condition that reactivates when a body is under stress is likely to show up in astronauts. Now, after 60 years of men-in-space, scientists decided to measure the amounts of 4 different herpes viruses in saliva and urine. In about half the astronauts, they found shingles and two kinds of glandular fever present during space flight. In conclusion, it is useful for the astronauts to know that they should not kiss vulnerable people when they land, as the glandular fever-like viruses will continue to be present in saliva for up to a month after a long flight.
the Frontiers in Microbiology, Feb 2019, reported:
“Currently, 47 out of the 89 (53%) astronauts from
shuttle-flights and 14 out of 23 (61%)
astronauts from ISS [longer] missions shed
one or more herpes viruses in saliva/urine samples.”
There are 8 herpes viruses that humans may have, including chickenpox/ shingles (VZV) and several glandular fever-like illnesses EBV and CMV.
Marian Nicholson (HVA director) and two members, Jess and Sylvia, were interviewed for 20 minutes by Jane Garvey. This was for Friday 22nd February’s Woman’s hour. Then the editing reduced this to 12 minutes. This shows that they liked it, because originally we were told we’d only have 7 minutes! Hear it on BBC Sounds – at the 6 minutes point. We did our best to destigmatise the issue. Sylvia and Jess were brilliant (thanks ladies) and talked about how their partners were OK with it. Marian talked about how very, very common it is. Listeners have told us the editor did a good job! If you would talk about your experience to help get rid of the stigma, let us know. It could be in print media, on radio or even TV! Email [email protected]
know exactly how you’re feeling. You’re 26, and you’ve just found out from the
doctor that you have herpes. You’ve just burst out crying in front of the
awkward-looking trainee GP. You feel like your whole world is over, you’re
damaged goods and no-one will ever want to have sex with you again.
going to spend the next week in the flat, crying, downing wine and despairing
at the terrible injustice – you only had sex with him one time! And you didn’t
even really like him!
Well I’m pleased to say that ten years’ later, you’re doing great! Yes, at the beginning it was difficult, and maybe you did avoid some romantic encounters because you felt insecure about having to tell someone you had herpes. But then, about a year later, you met Steve – such a great guy. You waited until you’d been out a few times, and you were about to get near to having sex, and then sort of blurted it out. And he was absolutely fine about it! You ended up dating for almost a year, and then after that you went on to have three more really happy relationships. No tears, no rejection – everyone you told basically shrugged their shoulders and never mentioned it again.
you met the person that you would end up marrying. You were really nervous,
because you knew she was someone special. Spent the whole meal trying to eat
your dinner and follow the conversation, with heart pumping at deafening
volume. Well that was an anti-climax – again -just a shoulder shrug and ‘oh, I
don’t know much about it but I’m not bothered at all’. Cut to 5 years later,
and we’re still going strong.
what I’d love to be able to do for you (and everyone who might be going through
something similar) is give you a giant hug and tell you that IT WILL BE OK! You
are the person who will be the most worried about things – not your future
partners. They will choose you because they fancy you and love you – as you
would for others, because why on earth would you not go out with someone
because of a skin condition? How ridiculous! And if you do come across someone
who judges you on the basis of that skin condition, do you want to waste your
time with someone like that? There are so many good ones out there.
the hardest thing you’ll have to get over are your own feelings of shame and
embarrassment – and you’re still working on it (that’s why I’m using a
pseudonym here). But there are people like Marian and Nigel trying to break
down that stigma, and in time maybe you’ll work up the courage to be 100% open.
in the meantime dry your tears, and try not to worry too much about the future,
because it’s a really really happy one.
of love, you +10
Another Useful Product
Lidocaine 5% is handed out in some Sexual Health Clinics. It is a topical anaesthetic – it numbs the pain or itch.