You’d be surprised to know medical researchers have been unable to find a cure for herpes till date! Now, isn’t this an unsettling thought? But before you start fearing the worst, know that not all get afflicted with this condition and those who do, generally recover. Let’s see what this disease is all about.
Herpes is a viral infection that commonly affects the mouth and genital regions. In US alone, fifty to eighty percent of the adult population carries oral herpes and twenty percent or over fifty million people, genital herpes. And the majority of these remain ignorant about it!
Both oral herpes, which manifests itself as cold sores or fever blisters, and genital herpes that appears as genital sores or sores below the waist, is caused by herpes simplex virus. Since this virus weakens the immune system, it’s important to keep herpes in check at all times.
The good news is herpes doesn’t spread through air, but the bad news is it does through skin contact. A mere touch is enough, especially if the skin has sores. So, be careful with strangers, while kissing or having oral sex or intercourse. An uninfected individual has about seventy-five percent chances of contracting herpes during intimate contact. Even if you don’t see anything on your skin, but experience itching or other sensations, be warned it may be herpes. The first outbreak is usually painful and may cause itching, burning or tingling. It may also display flu-like symptoms of swollen glands, headache, muscle ache and fever.
The best defense against herpes is to avoid it in the first place. The best possible preventive measure is to maintain general good health and keep stress to a minimum. However, if you are infected, there are things you can do to minimize its effect:
a. Take care of the affected skin area by keeping it clean and dry during outbreaks to help healing.
b. Avoid physical contact with the affected area from the time the skin starts tingling, itching or burning until all sores get completely healed and not just scabbed-over.
c. Always wash hands with soap and water, if you happen to touch a sore. It kills herpes virus.
d. Those with genital herpes should use latex condoms during intercourse to prevent spreading.
e. See your physician while the symptoms are still present. This will help in securing virus for specific virus culture.
Although there are no medical cures yet for herpes, there are certain effective home remedies that can be used successfully in controlling the outbreak and even curing herpes. However, before you try anything, consult your physician first.
a. Avoid diet products containing the synthetic sweetener, aspartame. This ingredient is known to trigger herpes outbreak.
b. Increase the intake of diet high in lysine and low in arginine. This means, eat more fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast and most fruits and vegetables, and avoid chocolate, coconut, oats, whole wheat, white flour, peanuts, soybeans and wheat germ.
c. Amongst herbal remedies, use of the medicinal herb Prunella vulgaris. It’s known to prevent herpes. Acyclovir, another natural product, also helps, but overuse is known to cause renal toxicity. Tea Tree Oil, another common product, has been successfully used in controlling herpes outbreak.
d. Stress is known to contribute in frequent outbreaks of herpes. So, adopting natural treatments and alternative therapies, like yoga, meditation can help manage stress.
Herpes is here to stay and with people carrying it around on person, it may be difficult to avoid! But, if you do get it, don’t panic, using natural cures can help you contain this menace. But whatever you do, don’t forget to consult your physician first.