Herpes, the painful skin blisters, that once acquired, are with you for the rest of your life! It’s definitely not the best news and it can be emotionally and physically devastating. Having the virus is something that can be lived with but precautions need to be taken to prevent or minimize further outbreaks. As of this date there is no cure, and it’s doubtful that they will ever find a herpes cure, but there are many things you can do to control outbreaks and prevent spreading the disease to others.
There are three types of herpes virus that are the most common:
Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) is the typical cold sore variety that normally breaks out on the lips, mouth and face, although the virus can break out on the fingers, or in the eye causing “pink eye” or conjunctivitis. The virus can also (rarely) extend into the brain causing encephalitis or inflammation of the brain. The virus does spread by contact, either the sore or the fluid contained in the sore are highly contagious, although the virus can spread without any visible signs of a sore. It used to be thought that a person had to have an active case of herpes, but it was found not to be true. This virus can also cause genital herpes.
Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) is the virus that usually causes genital herpes and is spread by sexual intercourse. The blisters erupt in the genital area leaving an ulcerated open sore, but symptoms vary from person to person. Condoms can reduce the risk of infection but not eliminate it. Blood tests are available but the most positive way to find out if you have genital herpes is to be seen by a doctor at the time of an outbreak. A sample can then be taken from the sore and it will be diagnosed in a lab.
Herpes zoster is the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles. Shingles usually develop in the adult years with people who have had chicken pox as a child. The virus is dormant in the body after chicken pox has long gone and then suddenly shows its face years later when you are suffering extended stress, using corticosteroids or using a class of drugs called immunosuppressants. These types of blisters cause long-term nerve damage and are usually found around your mid-section, lower part of your body, stomach area, or lower body; they can however show up in other areas of the body.
There are other types of the herpes virus but they are not as common as herpes simplex type 1 and 2. There is no medication available that can actually kill the virus in the nerve cells. Research is being done and the only prescription drugs available are acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir, denavir, famvir, penciclovir, valtrex and zovirax. These drugs are not a herpes cure, but shorten the duration of the outbreak. The common drug side effects are upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, tiredness, agitation, joint pain, hair loss and vision changes. More severe side effects are hives, rashes or blisters, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, hoarseness, seizures, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, trouble sleeping, fever, sore throat, chills, cough, abnormal bruising or bleeding, blood in the urine, stomach pain or cramps, bloody diarrhea, decreased urination, headache, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that are not real), confusion, aggressive behavior, difficulty speaking, numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs, temporary inability to move parts of your body, and, last but not least, uncontrollable shaking.
Taking these types of medications is not a herpes cure and they have an abundance of side effects like every prescription drug. To top it off, these drugs have the same success rate natural herpes remedies do as far as controlling and lessening the time of outbreaks. Also, after you no longer take these drugs it does not stop future outbreaks, these are lifelong medications.
The best way to prevent an outbreak is to strengthen your immune system. There are many people giving recommendations on various message boards which are worth a try because many of them work. Just also remember that everyone is different so it may take you awhile to find your pre-herpes regime. Remember, your body is your temple! Treat it well, and it will treat you well.
Basically the top recommendations and the closest thing to a herpes cure:
Eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar, chemical sweeteners and alcohol. They suppress the immune system!
Take L-lysine 1000mg three times per day and eat foods high in lysine and low in arginine. Most vegetables and fruits, meats and fish are good choices. If too much arginine is consumed you most likely will have an outbreak. Foods highest in arginine which should be avoided are seeds, soy protein isolate and egg whites.
Reduce stress and anxiety. Many people feel a herpes attack coming on when they are very tired or stressed for a lengthy period, lowering your immune system functioning. As soon as you feel an outbreak coming, start the lysine, other supplements and a topical treatment. Try meditation, yogi, deep breathing, laughing, and listening to music, a massage, or a warm bath, before and during an outbreak.
Use herbal remedies topically which are antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in nature like tea tree oil, neem oil, and clove oil. If they seem too strong and sting when applied, mix a drop with neutral oils (like almond) or a q-tip soaked in water which will dilute the concentration enough so as not to irritate.
Corn starch will help dry the herpes sores, by absorbing moisture and stopping them from draining. Just dip a cotton swab into the corn starch and dab it on. Also, a warm epsom salt bath will soothe and dry the herpes sores. It can also help relieve itching and soreness.