Guide to Living, Loving and Dating with Herpes
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Living with herpes – The Secrets to Preventing Herpes Outbreaks
Herpes is a very common STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) that comes in two types, HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1) and HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2). Herpes is very common in the U.S. and in the U.K. among other places in the world. In the U.S., 1 in 5 people have herpes and 1 in 14 people have herpes worldwide. It’s a very common STD, yet many people don’t know they even have the virus.
Herpes can lie dormant in your nerve paths for weeks, months, and years. When the virus lies dormant you won’t experience symptoms, and even if it’s active you may not experience noticeable symptoms. Dealing with herpes can be a handful. So how can you know if you have herpes?
What are the Symptoms of Herpes?
You may or may not experience symptoms. The symptoms can vary in severity.
- Blisters around your mouth or inside of your mouth
- You may experience irritated, red, raw, and cracking skin around your vagina, penis, anal area, mouth, and thighs.
- You may experience itching around your mouth, vagina, penis, anal area, thighs, or butt.
- A tingling sensation around your mouth, vagina, penis, anal area, thighs, or butt.
- Burning when you pee due to urine passing over sensitive skin.
- Painful sores and blisters around your mouth, vagina, penis, anal area, butt, or thighs.
- Vaginal discharge
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Muscle aches
I Think I Have Herpes…What Do I Do?
If you experience some of the symptoms above, you should get checked out by a health care professional. The best way to get tested is to get a blood test to test for herpes antibodies. It’s important that you get tested when you see the first signs of any symptoms so you can get medication and know your status.
How Do I Treat Herpes?
Treatment for herpes can vary depending on the severity of your herpes. Usually the first outbreak is the worst, and usually over time the severity and number of outbreaks decrease. There are pills that you can take to help you deal with the discomfort of your outbreaks, and the number of outbreaks you have. These pills are called aciclovir, famciclovir, valacyclovir. The cheapest drug is aciclovir and it’s available in most parts of the world. Suppressive therapy can be used for people who experience painful outbreaks and people who experience outbreaks more often.
How Do I Prevent Outbreaks?
If you experience herpes outbreaks, there is no way to completely stop them from occurring. With medication, and over time, you will experience fewer outbreaks. You lower the chances of getting an outbreak by knowing what triggers your outbreaks, and what to do to avoid those triggers according to your lifestyle and type of herpes.
Some Triggers for Herpes Outbreaks are…
- Poor Diet
- Tight clothing
- Hormonal changes (like menstruation)
- Tight clothes
- Rough sex
- Weak immune system
- Some foods and drinks such as coffee, chocolate, nuts, popcorn, and alcohol.
5 Tips for Dealing with Outbreaks:
- Try to avoid spreading the virus. This means keeping the infected areas covered, and washing your hands after touching an infected area. Practicing abstinence during outbreaks with help to prevent transmission of the disease, as you are most contagious during an outbreak. Don’t share towels, toothbrushes, drinks, lip products, razors, or anything might come in contact with an infected area or your saliva.
- Avoid friction against the infected area such as rubbing.
- Keep your blisters and sores clean. Break open blisters using warm, soapy water and a wash cloth. If you have external blisters, put a
lcohol on it and then cover your blisters with a bandage. Change your bandages three to four times a day.
- Wear natural fibers such as cotton, and loose-fitting clothing if you have genital herpes.
- If your outbreak becomes too painful take medication or try an at-home remedy.
At-Home Remedies for Herpes
There have been claims that there that there are alternative ways to treat and prevent herpes other than medication, but there is no clear evidenc
e that these approaches are legitimate. When searching for alternative treatments, be careful for scams that promise cures and cheap treatments. Many herbal and dietary supplements have claimed to help prevent outbreaks by boosting the immune system with no real evidence of success. Herbs and dietary supplements can change the balance of chemicals and your body, and may produce harmful effects. You may find however, that there are things you can do to alleviate discomfort. Here are a few…
- Baking Soda: Baking soda can be used to dry out sores and relieve itching.
- Manuka Honey: It has been found to accelerate the healing process for lesions caused by an outbreak.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera helps to soothe itching skin and heal skin after an outbreak. Use pure inner aloe vera gel.
- Dry blisters with cornstarch
- Warm Baths
- Local application of icepacks
- Over the counter medicine: medicines such as Advil, Tylenol, and Motrin can help to reduce fever and local tenderness.