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Explain the difference between genital herpes and shingles?

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Explain the difference between genital herpes and shingles, can they be one in the same? Are there any OTC options to reduce pain? Thank you.
Posted Tue, 21 May 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 32 minutes later
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus 2 and in some persons due to oral intercourse, herpes simplex virus 1. Herpes simplex 1 and 2 are associated with genital herpes and also mouth sores that persons have, they do not affect any other part of the body.

Shingles is caused by varicella virus.

These viruses are in the same family of viruses but are different.

Varicella causes chicken pox. After a person has been infected with this virus ( had chicken pox) , the virus remains in the system and at some point can present as shingles. So shingles occurs in persons who have been previously infected with chicken pox.
Shingles would present with pain in a particular area of the body, this pain can be intense. It is usually associated with a rash at the time.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Explain the difference between genital herpes and shingles? 1 hour later
I understand the differences you mention, thank you. However is it possible to have both herpes and shingles active at the same time? And is there any kind of over-the-counter ointment or cream to speed up the healing process - or at least alleiviate the pain and itch? Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 59 minutes later
If a person was previously infected with chickenpox and has a history herpes then it is possible to have both infections concurrently . The herpes would be confined to the oral or genital region and the shingles would occur on the other aspects of the body though it mainly occurs on the trunk.

The older drowsy anti histamines may help relieve itching for example benadryl, in addition there are mild topical steroids that may also help such as hydrocortisone. These are both available over the counter.
There are some stronger oral antihistamines for intense itching but these require a prescription.

The use of antiviral oral medication can help with either condition but this would require a prescription.

Please feel to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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