Living With Herpes

Feb 18, 2012 No Comments by

Living with herpes means managing your stress, anxiety, fatigue, all while strengthening your immune system so you can manage the virus. Knowledge is key. The more you know about herpes, the more you can lesson its effects on your life.

You want to know how you might control herpes outbreaks or flare ups, keep the disease from spreading to other parts of your body, keep your family members and partner from catching the virus, and find some level of peace with the condition.

Stress is Your Enemy

Stress is a definite trigger for herpes flare ups. Whether you are stressed about the disease, you job, a relationship, or anything…stress can cause outbreaks of herpes. This is true whether you have oral or genital herpes. Typically with herpes, the less stress you have in your life, the fewer outbreaks you will have and they will decrease in severity.

For this age can be a definite benefit. Generally as we grow older our lives settle or calm down. Relationships are usually solid, kids grow up, debt is reduced, and we generally get happier with where we are in life. This natural progression and lowering of stress has a definite effect on reducing the number and severity of herpes outbreaks. The virus stays dormant longer as the stressful triggers in our life melt away.

For those of you who don’t want to wait for years or decades for this to happen, take a proactive role in handling stress. A yoga class may be a great idea for some, but if the thought of taking a yoga class makes you hyperventilate it probably isn’t the answer for you. Stress reduction is a very individual thing. The trick to living with herpes is finding what works for you, minimizing the things that cause you stress, and ensuring you get enough sleep so you are better equipped to deal with all the daily issues.

Avoiding Herpes Triggers

Living with herpes means learning to avoid the triggers that can cause a recurrence or outbreak of your symptoms. While we know that stress and fatigue are pretty universal triggers, there are some additional things that can trigger herpes in many of those who have it, and there will be triggers that are specific to you.

It is important that in learning to live with herpes you pay attention to your body and think about the foods you eat, the things you do, and the effects that these elements have on prompting an outbreak.

Another universal trigger seems to be overexposure to the sun. If you have oral herpes getting sunburned on your face or lips can trigger an episode. If you have genital herpes getting sunburned over much of your body can lower your immune system and cause a flare up. In order to avoid this trigger you need to be very conscious of using sun screens and staying out of the sun when you can.

Any stress to the weakened area (the area of primary herpes infection) can trigger a recurrence. The chapping and wind burn of lips for oral herpes, the rubbing of clothes on genitals or chaffing from enthusiastic sex for genital herpes, may cause a flare up.

Diet Triggers

While some diet triggers may be individual, in other words they are specific to you, there are some universal diet triggers. Foods high in Arginine will actually feed the herpes simplex virus. You need some Arginine, an amino acid, to be healthy, but you can limit the amount that you get. It is also important to know that Lysine, another amino acid, will interfere with your body’s absorption of Arginine. This means that if you do eat something high in Arginine, you can balance it out by eating a food high in Lysine.

The foods with high levels of Arginine include:

  • Chocolate
  • Nuts – including coconut, and nut butters like peanut butter
  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Brown rice

Foods high in Lysine include meats, milk, cheese, yogurt, and most fruits and vegetables.

Clean and Dry

Managing herpes and learning to live with it means staying clean and dry. Shower daily, and probably more often when you have an outbreak. Pat the area dry, don’t rub. Or use a blow dryer to keep the outbreak area dry. Wash your hands throughout the day and especially after any contact with the outbreak area to keep the viral infection from spreading to other parts of your body or to other individuals.

If you have an outbreak with blisters you should shower, take a clean wash rag with lots of soapy warm water and scrub the outbreak to break the blisters. Don’t use the wash rag on the rest of your body as the fluid from the blisters is highly contagious and it can be spread to other parts of your body. Wash the rag in the washing machine on a hot cycle, add a small amount of bleach to the water.

If the broken blisters are external you should clean them with alcohol. This should be done once a day for the first two days. It will probably sting, but the alcohol will sterilize the wound, kill the fresh virus, and keep you from getting a secondary bacterial infection. Once you’ve cleaned the lesions you should cover genital herpes with a sanitary pad, or a small amount of toilet paper or gauze. The intent is to absorb any fluid from the wound to keep it from spreading anywhere else. Change this dressing a couple times a day.

For more tips and information on living with herpes, see here.

Basics, Information

About the author

The author didnt add any Information to his profile yet
No Responses to “Living With Herpes”

Leave a Reply