Hi readers, always glad to see each and every one of you here. I know that some topics can be a tad awkward and uncomfortable for families to talk about, especially when you’re talking to teenagers and young adults. But there are times when a good heart to heart can literally be a lifesaver, know what I mean?
Now, young or old, it’s not uncommon for most of us to feel guilty, hurt and ashamed when diagnosed with STDs and other so-called sin ailments. However, Olivia is all about casting all that aside and looking for treatment and management options for the sake of your body. I’m sure you’ve heard about it from more than one source – HERPES.
Well, did you know that over 50% of the people in the United States of America have Type 1 Herpes? On top of that, another 15 % aged 14 to 49 have HSV-2 Herpes. This makes it one of the most widespread viruses in the country.
In today’s unique segment, we’ll be looking at what exactly Herpes is, how it presents itself and how it spreads from person to person. We’ll also be looking at the causes as well as all the risk factors associated with the disease.
As always, Olivia’s got all the different treatments and remedies that will help keep the condition in check as well as prevention measures to keep you and your loved ones safe. So don’t lose hope yet people, this in-depth and comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about herpes is just what the doctor ordered.
What Is Herpes?
Brought about by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Herpes is the name of a group of viruses that cause painful blisters and cold sores in different parts of the body. Generally, there are two types of herpes that are categorized based on the part of the body affected.
The first type is known as HSV-1 or Oral herpes which causes small fever blisters and cold sores in groups on the mouth and face.
The second is called HSV-2 and is generally responsible for most genital herpes outbreaks which form blisters that break open into small ulcers.
Herpes is transmitted by direct contact with lesions or body fluids of an infected individual. However, some transmissions can occur during childbirth. Typically people describe a shooting or tingling pain before the appearance of these sores and blisters. Herpes is characterized by cycles of active disease outbreaks followed by long periods without any substantial symptoms. Usually, the first episode is more severe and can be associated with an array of symptoms that decrease in severity and frequency with time. So, how do you know that it’s herpes and not just another infection?
Symptoms Of Herpes
First off, it is of the utmost importance to understand one thing. It’s all too possible to still be infected with herpes but not have any of the visible sores or symptoms. In fact, most people don’t even experience a single symptom for months or even years after being infected. However, HSV infections are known to cause several distinct medical disorders with infection of the mucosa and skin being most common. Some of the other primary infection symptoms include:
- Tingling pain or itching
- Blistering, ulcerations and sores in mouth and genitals
- High temperatures and fever
- Cold sores around the mouth
- Tender, enlarged lymph nodes
- Headaches and muscle pains
- Herpetic willow of the fingers
- Small red bumps and tiny while blisters on face and genitalia
- Malaise and headaches
- Pain when urinating
- Vaginal discharge
- Recurrent symptoms such as cold sores and blisters
Herpes is a life-long condition that can’t be entirely removed from the body by the immune system. However, there are plenty of ways to manage it. But before we get to the different treatments and remedies, what causes herpes?
Causes Of Herpes
As explained above, Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus which is a highly contagious virus that spreads from one person to another in a number of ways. However, this most likely happens when the HSV is present on the skin surface of an infected person and gets passed on to someone else through moist skin that lines the mouth, eyes, genitals, and anus. However, the cause will depend on the type of herpes.
HSV-1 is the most common and is spread from as early as during birth from mother to child. The virus spreads more quickly when an infected person is experiencing an outbreak such as an expecting mother with genital herpes and sores giving birth. However, HSV-1 infection can occur from general interactions like sharing lip balm, eating from the same utensils, kissing, and sexual contact.
HSV-2 on the other hand is contracted or passed on through various forms of sexual contact. This includes having unprotected vaginal or anal sex, oral sex with a person who gets cold sores, having any genital contact with an infected person and sharing sex toys with an infected person. Again, the virus is likely to be passed when the infected person is having an outbreak. That’s why it’s always recommended to tell your partner if you have herpes.
Prevention, Treatment And Management Of Herpes
i) Barrier Methods
Like most sexually transmitted infections, women are usually more susceptible to getting herpes than men. Without condoms, the risk of transmission from male to female is about 8 to 11% while female to male is 4-5%. This is largely believed to be as a result of the increased exposure of mucosal tissue to potential infection sites. Research shows that consistent use of condoms lowers the risk of getting herpes by at least 30%.
The herpes virus cannot pass through synthetic condoms, but male condoms tend to be less effective since they don’t cover the labia like the female condoms. However, neither condom helps prevent contact with the scrotum, buttocks, anus, upper thighs and other areas that could come in contact with the ulcers and other genital secretions. So while condoms and dental dams can help lower the risk of transmission, abstaining from sex at least until the ulcers and open sores are fully healed reduces the risk even more.
ii) Alternative Birthing Methods
The risk of transmitting herpes from mother to child is usually 50 % higher if the mother becomes infected or has an outbreak around the time of delivery. To prevent any neonatal infections, women are advised against oral and conventional sex with an infected partner during the last trimester of pregnancy. Likewise, mothers infected with herpes are advised to avoid birthing procedures that could cause trauma to the infant such as forceps, fetal electrodes, and vacuum extractors. A cesarean section is the best way to reduce exposure to infected secretions from mother to child in the birth canal, especially if any lesions and ulcers are present.
2. Treating and Managing Herpes
As mentioned above, the herpes simplex virus can never be really removed from the body by your immune system. Herpes is a long-term condition without any known medical cure up to date. So once you get infected with the HSV virus, you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel guys. While no method completely eradicates herpes from your body, there are plenty of ways to manage and live with the condition. I’ve compiled the most effective methods below.
Antiviral medications are the most common prescriptions for dealing with herpes. Not only do they significantly reduce the duration and frequency of the outbreaks, antiviral drugs also reduce the severity and intensity. Some of the commonly used antiviral meds include acyclovir, valacyclovir, famciclovir, and penciclovir. However, they come with a lengthy list of side effects.
Most of the symptoms associated with herpes tend to be painful and uncomfortable. That’s why doctors will recommend several analgesic medications designed to help offer relief from pain, fever, and general discomfort. The most common pain relief meds include ibuprofen and paracetamol. However, topical anesthetic treatments such as lidocaine, benzocaine, prilocaine, and tetracaine can also come in real handy for relieving the incessant itching and pain.
Essential Oils For Herpes
When it comes to dealing with the early stages and symptoms of the HSV, nothing beats Mother Nature’s very own essential oils. These extremely concentrated oils are packed with an unbelievably long list of compounds with tremendous medicinal benefits.
Packed with anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and cicatrizant properties, essential oils have been helping millions of people manage the symptoms of herpes without any of the side effects associated with pharmaceuticals. What’s more, their aromatherapeutic properties and calming effects help reduce stress which is a massive trigger for herpes outbreaks.
From those awful little painful blisters and characteristically annoying cold sores to the aching muscles and swollen lymph nodes, there’s literally an oil for everything. I’d love nothing more than to tell you all about the hundreds of recommended essential oils for dealing with each aspect of the HSV.
But as always, I’ve listed a few of the most effective and recommended essential oils for herpes. These include popular oils such as Geranium, Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree, Chamomile, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Bergamot, Oregano, Frankincense, among others. And as always, Olivia’s got your back with some of the most effective, age-old recipes that will have your herpes dormant and under control.
6 Best Essential Oil Recipes For Herpes
Recipe 1: Simple Geranium Q-Tip Action for Outbreaks
- 2 drops Geranium essential oil
- 2 drops Coconut oil
Widely known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-aging properties, geranium has already carved out a niche in the cosmetic industry. It can heal a wide range of skin ailments such as acne as well as the cold sores and blisters associated with the herpes simplex virus.
To make use of this recipe, place 3 drops of geranium essential oil on one side of a Q-tip and line the other with some coconut oil. Dab the geranium on your cold sores and blisters and then coat them with the coconut oil on the other side to prevent any irritation. Repeat twice a day until the cold sores start disappearing. The recipe works best f you can catch the blister and lesions as soon as they start appearing. You can usually tell by that tell-tale, itchy and tingling feeling.
Recipe 2: Quick Herpes Fix Astringent Lotion
- 3 drops Lavender essential oil
- 2 drops Tea Tree essential oil
- 2 drops Melissa EO
- Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
For this recipe, you’ll need to mix all your essential oils in a glass bottle and top it off with the indicated amount of cider vinegar. Shake the bottle well to mix your ingredients. Apply your lotion directly to the affected area until the inflammation, cold sores and blisters disappear.
Lavender is widely known as an effective disinfectant that works great when dealing with outbreaks. In addition to eliminating harmful bacteria, it also gives your immune system a much-needed boost to hasten the recovery. Similarly, Melissa essential oil boasts of potent antiviral properties that are capable of rendering the herpes simplex virus inactive.
Recipe 3: Protective EO Lip Gloss for Herpes Cold Sores
- 10 drops Geranium essential oil
- 8 drops Tea tree EO
- 5 drops German Chamomile EO
- 6 drops Lavender essential oil
- 3 drops Lemon EO
- 2 tablespoons Jojoba carrier oil
- 6 drops Carrot seed oil
- Ounce of white beeswax
- 2 tablespoons of Sweet almond carrier oil
Ask anyone about the most common symptom of herpes and they’ll probably tell you that it’s the cold sores on the face and lips. Apart from being annoying and unsightly, the sores can be very painful and irritating. This DIY lip gloss will not only help clear current outbreak as soon as they appear, but it also protects your lips from future outbreaks and infections.
Essential oils like Tea tree and chamomile have been proven to possess potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial compounds that not only kill bacteria on the sore, but incorporating the lemon EO also reduces instances of future infection.
To make use of this lip gloss recipe, combine all the essential oils in a nonreactive bowl and mix them all together. Next, proceed to melt the beeswax in a boiler and add in your almond carrier oil as soon as the wax is good and melted. Keep stirring as you add in your Carrot seed and Jojoba carrier oils. These carrier oils will not only help hold the medical properties in the oils for much longer, but they’ll allow the gloss to be gentle on your lips. Now’s the time to add in the essential oil base blend you had made earlier. Combine thoroughly and then allow to cool before transferring to a small glass container. Apply three times a day for optimum protection.
Recipe 4: EO Gel Capsules for Herpes
- 4 drops Oregano essential oil
- 2 drops Bergamot EO
- 3 drops Peppermint EO
- Fractionated coconut oil
- Pack of 20 empty gel capsules
Some of the symptoms that come with herpes such as fever, malaise, muscle aches and others can’t be solved using topical blends alone. In this case, internal EO medication is called for. To make use of this capsule recipe, simply mix all your essential oils together and add in the carrier oil. Next, split your capsules and fill; them up with as much of the mixture as you can then close it. Take one capsule in the morning and another at night before you sleep for a period of 5 days to get relief from most of the symptoms associated with the herpes simplex virus. As always, consult with your doctor prior to ingesting any essential oils due to underlying health conditions.
Recipe 5: Ideal HSV blend for Babies
- 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops of Lavender EO
- 2 drops Tea tree EO
- 1 ounce of Olive oil
- Q-tip to apply blend
When it comes to Type 1 herpes, most babies acquire it from their mother during birth. Being highly concentrated, you are advised to use heavily diluted blends for your toddlers and babies with herpes. To make use of this blend, mix all the ingredients above in a bottle and shake well. As soon as you see a cold sore or blister forming on your child, just dip a Q tip in the jar and apply on the impacted area. The tea tree essential oil and lavender will help reduce the pain and itching which can give your baby sleepless nights. Likewise, the peppermint offers a cooling and relaxing effect from the irritation.
Recipe 6: Complete EO Infused Healing Massage Cream
- 4 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 3 drops Myrrh EO
- 3 drops Tea tree EO
- 5 teaspoons of Calendula infused cream
If there’s one symptom of herpes that most people can’t seem to evade, it has to be achy muscles, inflamed lymph nodes, and general fatigue. The massage cream is exactly what the doctor ordered to help you deal with aches, pains, and general fatigue. Simply combine all your ingredients in a nonreactive owl and top off the essential oils with either calendula or hypericum. Massage all over your whole body at the end of the day focusing particularly on the face and neck areas. Massage gently as you enjoy all the relaxing and calming benefits of Tea tree, Myrrh, and Bergamot essential oils.
4 Best Home Remedies For Herpes
1. Dietary Recommendations
If you hope to keep the herpes simplex virus from causing painful, frequent, and intense outbreaks, then the first obvious step is to improve the nutrient intake. I’ve compiled a list of healing foods that should not only boost your immune system, but also keep the herpes virus as dormant as possible.
Top Foods for Herpes
- L-Lysine rich foods have been shown to prevent the replication of the herpes simplex virus. These foods include fish, legumes, turkey, whole milk. Kefir, yogurt, white meats among others.
- Red and orange vegetables have also been proven to possess potent antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and bioflavonoids. These components not only help in raising the overall immunity of the body, but also in healing wounds and sores caused by herpes.
- Zinc is also vital for helping the body through a range of chemical reactions. Zinc-rich foods such as organ meats, grass fed beef, nuts, pumpkin seed and spinach can all help prolong the remission of herpes simplex virus.
Foods to Avoid
Likewise, there are certain foods that can make skin irritation worse, raise inflammation and significantly weaken the immune system. That’s why doctors recommend that people with herpes avoid the following foods.
- Added sugar tops the list as one of the most immunosuppressive foods of all time. Added sugar has also been shown to make inflammation worse and increase the intensity of herpes outbreaks.
- High alcohol intake and smoking tobacco products can also suppress the immune system and enhance unwanted symptoms such as aches, pains, fatigue and inflammation.
2. Ice Packs and Cold Compression
If you’re looking to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by herpes outbreaks, nothing beats the cooling and healing effects of cold compresses. An ice pack can help reduce swelling, inflammation, pains, aches, fatigue, and blisters brought about by herpes. Simply wrap ice in a cloth or use a pack of frozen beans and apply the cold compress over the affected area for about half an hour.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Packed with a ton of astringent, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, there’s no shortage of the miracles that apple cider vinegar can perform. All these properties make it the ideal solution for dealing with the initial onset of blisters and cold sores. Just dip a cotton ball in the vinegar and dab on the affected areas and cold sores about three times a day. Likewise, you can also add two teaspoons of cider vinegar to a cup of water and drink twice daily to control flare-ups.
4. Licorice Root
Licorice root has been proven to improve the immune system and boost your body’s ability to fight off herpes outbreaks. Mix one part licorice root powder with half a part of water and dab it on the affected area and leave it for a couple hours. Repeat three times a day until all blisters and cold sores are gone.
There you have it my loyal readers. We’ve managed to touch on everything you need to know about the herpes simplex virus. With this information, I hope you’ll be able to protect yourself and prevent getting infected with herpes in the first place.
If you’re already struggling with the virus, don’t you dare give up hope. You’ve seen all the different treatments as well as management methods that will help you live with the condition without experiencing any significant flare-ups. But most importantly, remember to keep your mind in a stress-free atmosphere and make sure you keep the ones you love safe from infection. Till next time, I wish you a quick and positive recovery.