Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. It is a fairly common condition that affects about 20 percent of the adult US population. Herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus (also called HSV). If you have sex with someone who carries the virus, your chances of contracting the infection are pretty high.
The HSV virus has two forms – HSV-1 & HSV-2. Of the two, HSV-1 causes oral herpes and HSV-2 gives rise to genital herpes. Transmission of both viruses is through the exchange of bodily fluids. You can contract the HSV-1 virus through something as simple as a kiss. HSV-2 is transmitted through more intimate physical contact such as oral sex or intercourse.
Many people who carry the herpes simplex virus are not even aware that they are infected. They could be infecting others without wanting to. Herpes outbreaks are not always visible. Here are the common symptoms.
Someone having herpes outbreaks will most probably have blisters inside the mouth, around the lips or around the genitals. In the case of genital herpes, it is common to experience pain during urination. Other symptoms include pain, itching, and redness around the sores. These symptoms will be much more pronounced during the first outbreak and may last up to 10 days. Subsequent outbreaks are less severe with smaller sores that clear up in a few days. During the first outbreak, it is also common to have fever, headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite and swollen lymph nodes. Many people, however, exhibit no outward symptoms during an outbreak. They are more likely to spread the disease to others.
The herpes infection has no cure. Once you get infected, you will carry the virus for as long as you live. While the virus usually remains dormant, it causes frequent outbreaks. A herpes outbreak cannot be predicted. Several factors such as stress, excessive exposure to the sun, illness, and menstrual cycles may trigger the outbreaks.
Here are some tips for managing a herpes outbreak. Since you are more likely to spread the infection during an outbreak, it is also important to take some measures to protect your partner from contracting the illness.
Avoid physical contact
As soon as you notice the symptoms, refrain from any kind of physical contact with your partner. It is also important to resist the urge to touch the sores. Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water.
If you are healthy, your immune system will be able to control most outbreaks. Having a balanced diet is crucial to staying healthy. Limit your consumption of sugar. Also, stay away from alcohol.
Drink lots of water
Water helps remove toxins from the body and also improves your overall health.
Even if you eat a balanced diet, sometimes it is not possible to get all the nutrients you need. Take dietary supplements to ensure that you are getting all the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants you need.
Get enough sleep
Sleep reenergizes your body so make sure that you are getting enough of it.
Both mental and physical stress can trigger herpes outbreaks. Regular physical exercise is a great way to reduce stress and build stamina.
While it is true that herpes does not have a cure, medicines are available to control and treat the symptoms. You will need a prescription from a certified doctor to buy herpes medication.
Optimistic people have healthier immune systems. They are also less likely to have frequent herpes outbreaks.
By following the above tips, it is possible to lead a healthy and rewarding life in spite of having herpes. There are also several online support sites for people suffering from herpes. Join them for more tips.