A herpes outbreak is the appearance of one or more sores or blisters on or around the genitals, rectum, or mouth. Even after being diagnosed and fully treated, the outbreaks keep surfacing throughout an individual’s life.
It becomes all the more important for a woman with herpes to prevent these outbreaks during pregnancy to prevent passing on the infection to the baby.
Again, females may notice that they get these outbreaks more during the periods. This is due to the hormonal changes that take place during this time and the stress associated with it.
It is necessary to know that once infected, the herpes virus resides in your body for life and lodges itself in the sensory nerve endings. This is the reason, you keep getting a herpes outbreak about 4 to 6 times a year.
In the case of genital herpes, it lodges in the sensory nerve endings of the sacral nerve, while in the case of oral herpes or mouth herpes, it lodges itself in the sensory nerve endings of the trigeminal nerve.
When certain favorable conditions prevail, the herpes virus activates and you get a herpes outbreak with its presenting symptoms
Some individuals may have complications, but these are rare. The only factor that a patient with herpes yearns for is for the recurring genital herpes outbreaks to stop. The following steps will help you prevent herpes outbreaks and keep them from recurring.
Tips to prevent and stop herpes outbreaks
The following steps will help you control the recurrence of herpes infection outbreaks
- First, it is important to build up the immunity of the body. Immunity is the thing that can keep infection at bay whether bacterial or viral. Always have a rich and nutritious diet. Vitamin C is a great immunity-building vitamin. Have plenty of it every day by consuming citrus fruit juices. (Lime, Lemon, and Oranges). You may even take Vitamin C supplements every day. Building up your immunity is not an overnight affair and takes time. Make this a lifelong habit.
- Another requirement to build up immunity is to exercise regularly and have proper sleep.
Herpes is a lifelong infection. Fortunately, the signs and symptoms are often mild, and the illness does not cause too much harm and does not alter one’s lifestyle much. However, different people react differently to various triggers and respond to different treatments. For this reason, you must maintain a logbook to track your outbreaks. This will help you to determine what triggers your outbreaks, and how best and quickly you clear up these outbreaks.
- During an outbreak, always wash your hands well with soap and water after having touched the affected part. Do not touch any other part of your body, especially the eyes and the face without having washed your hands.
- Always keep your genitals clean and as much dry as possible. The moist environment promotes the growth of the herpes virus. Males should draw back the prepuce, wash and dry as explained below. Do this every day even when the infection is not present. Do not use soap on the infected part.
- Keeping the affected part very dry is important. Just drying with a cotton towel may not be enough. After washing, males should draw back the prepuce after dabbing with an absorbent towel and dry it under the fan or a drier with cool airflow. Dryness should be complete. Dabbing with a towel may not give you that complete dryness. You should do it every day even after an acute attack has subsided and herpes has healed and even thereafter. Only then recurrent attacks of herpes will be prevented. Urine should be passed after pulling back the prepuce of the penis, so the urine does not go back along the inside of the prepuce and wet the glans and the inner surface of the prepuce. After urination is complete, dab the penis tip on your underwear and then slide back the prepuce to prevent any last drop from sliding back inside the prepuce. See to it that your pubic hair does not get entangled in the glans after pushing the prepuce back as these hair strands can cut the prepuce and initiate an infection. Ladies too should dab the vagina with a cloth or the underwear itself, after passing urine.
- Avoid alcohol and fried spicy foods. These give rise to more frequent recurrences.
- In males, circumcision will help prevent recurrent or repeated genital herpes infection of the penis. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the prepuce or the sheath of skin covering the glans (foremost part of the skin) of the penis. It is done under local anesthesia and is a minor surgical procedure. The patient is sent home the same day.
- Always wear cotton loose-fitting underwear and clothes.
- Always keep your pubic hair trimmed.
- Learn how to manage stress. This will go a long way to prevent recurrent or repeated genital herpes infection. Learn how to meditate. This will increase your stress threshold.
- Have sex only after the infection has completed subsided. Using a condom is preferable.
- Avoid multiple partners.
- A small dose of anti-herpes medication every day can reduce the frequency of outbreaks by over 90%. You can take it for prolonged periods, or gradually decrease the dose.
- A person with herpes has to live with the fact that he or she has this herpes virus as an unnecessary companion all his or her life.
However, one should not worry as worrying is not going to solve the problem. It will only add to the stress, which again can trigger the herpes infection.
With time, you will get used to reality and stop worrying about it. There are millions and millions of people out there, some affluent and some not so affluent, who are carrying this virus.
The herpes virus will not kill you and herpes complications are very rare. Just try not to spread herpes. That is the least you can do!
However, the tips mentioned above will help you to prevent and stop herpes outbreaks. In addition, with time, these outbreaks are going to stop anyway. Moreover, with time, you too will accept and stop worrying about it.