Herpes simplex is an infection that mainly affects the mouth resulting in cold sores or fever blisters. These appear as small and painful blisters that usually show up on or around a person’s lips and are caused by the (HSV-1) virus. They can also be found inside the mouth, face or inside the nasal passages.
Symptoms of Herpes Simplex 1
- A tingling or numbness to the lips may be experienced a few days before and outbreak.
- The formation of blister type lesions on and around the mouth, nasal passages or genital and anal regions
- Swelling of lymph nodes
Three different tests can be done to find out if you have herpes:
Herpes test are often done for sores in and around the genital areas, and not so much for oral herpes. Tests to determine if one has the herpes virus include:
- Drawing spinal fluid
- Performing a blood test
- Performing a urine test
- Cells from a fresh sore are scraped off and then smeared onto a microscope slide to identify if the herpes virus is present.
- A culture of the virus can also be performed to identify if the herpes virus is present.
Cold sores usually disappear on their own after 2 weeks. People who have prolonged or frequently recurrence may need to take antiviral medications such as:
- Acyclovir, Famciclovir and valacyclovir are all antiviral drugs which help prevent the herpes virus from multiplying thereby reducing the frequency of outbreaks. These are prescription drugs which have very few side effects, i.e. head pains/headaches and slight nausea can be experienced.
- Povidone-iodine is available in an ointment and helps herpes sores dry out quickly and weeping, thereby preventing the sores from becoming infected by bacteria. This product is also known as Betadine.
- Aciclovir cream is a treatment for cold sores as well as genital herpes. No prescription is required for this cream. Its other names include Zovirax, or Lovir. This cream needs to be applied regularly through out the day and may cause irritation to sensitive vaginal and anal area. Most cases are however mild and usually do not require any treatment.
Other medication to give one relief:
- Antiviral medications- prevent the herpes virus by stopping it from multiplying.
- A person’s diet and lifestyle can have a role to play in herpes outbreaks and should be looked as a way to help lessen outbreaks.
- Topical treatment such as aciclovir cream or povidone-iodide ointment. These treatments work on already present outbreaks, shortening their duration and severity.
- Complementary therapies such as herbal or natural products can provide effective and safe relief.
Preventing herpes simplex is difficult since people can spread the virus even when they don’t have any visible symptoms of an active outbreak
- One important factor to remember is that cold sores are very contagious. Avoiding direct contact with an open lesson will lower the risk of an infection
- People with genital herpes should avoid sexual contact when they have active lesions.
- Practice safe sex (use a condom)
- When one has active herpes lesions, avoid contact with newborns as children have low immune systems which may make them more susceptible to developing herpes.
The following are known triggers that can cause a recurrence of herpes:
- Emotional turmoil in ones life
- Monthly Menstruation
- Fever of feeling of hotness
- Exposure to ultraviolet light or sun tanning
- Nerve or tissue damage
- A suppressed or weakened immune system
- Body infections
- Anxiety and tension
- Physical stress and feeling run down emotionally as well as physically
- Fatigue and tiredness
There are no known cures for herpes but are several safe medications and treatments available to help reduce outbreaks for herpes.
Studies show people with a diet high in lysine and low in arginine helps them reduce the number of herpes outbreaks.
|Foods High in lysine foods||Foods Low in Arginine||Foods that should be avoided|
Other tips include:
- Eat regular meals
- Exercise regularly (get plenty of rest and maintain a healthy weight)
- Stop smoking
- There have also been some studies regarding the effectiveness of Honey, Zinc and Echinacea when treating herpes. Results have however not been finalized as of yet.
- A good multivitamin should be taken daily which contains vitamin C.
- Try avoiding citrus fruits as well as citrusy juices should you have the herpes virus.