How do I live with herpes? That's a tough question.
Just hearing the word "herpes" could make you feel a whole myriad of emotions that you never thought you’d feel all at once: anger, shame, confusion, guilt, nervousness, the list just goes on.
In some ways, living with any type of herpes, be it oral or genital herpes do have a reason to cause you some worry.
After all, these infections are not just transient infections that will leave your body once you're able to “ride out” the infection. The herpes virus will stay there, and will be there for life.
But there is good news! People with herpes have continued living their lives and even go on to love and get married. Why? Because herpes is manageable! Yes, it can cause minor inconveniences from time to time, but not enough to take over your life and define who you are.
That's why it's important to do some research about herpes. With the proper knowledge and management of this infection, you will be able to do just fine. You will be able to make wise and informed decisions health-wise.
By reading articles on this website, you are already taking the first step towards healing. But first...
It’s a virus. Herpes is an infection caused by a virus that is able to live in a state of dormancy inside your nerve cells for long periods of time.
There is currently no cure to eradicate it from the human body. Although there have been a lot of studies regarding herpes, there are still no available cure other than for controlling its symptoms. At the moment, humans are the only known natural reservoir for the herpes virus. It is unable to live outside the human body for long, which makes it difficult to grow them for study in the labs.
Close physical contact is needed to transmit the disease. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t be able to infect someone by simply touching him or her. You’d need to at least engage in skin to skin contact (as in sex) to transmit the disease.
Intensity and frequency of herpes outbreaks are never the same. Herpes outbreaks typically occur when your immune system is low, particularly after a bout of flu or fever. And the truth of the matter is, some people who live with herpes never get to experience an outbreak, while some may have as many frequent and painful outbreaks as they come.
If you’re infected, you can spread the infection even if you’re not showing any symptoms. This is otherwise known as the viral shedding phase in the virus’ life cycle. It is recommended to always practice safe sex so as to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to your non positive partner.
There are triggers that can cause a herpes outbreak. Herpes can be triggered by wind or sunburns as well as stress, fever, and virtually anything that can dampen the ability of your immune system to protect your body.
To live with herpes is not a death sentence. It should not stop you from living your life. Different people have different ways of dealing and coping up with the infection. Here's some starting advice about what you can do in order to live with herpes comfortably...
1. Live healthily. Always eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Greens and organic meats are good sources of anti-oxidants that will enable you to combat the virus and keep it at bay.
2. Keep your stresses to a minimum. You may not believe this, but even stress can cause a herpes outbreak, so it is important that you manage your stress well. Always take time to rest in between jobs, and you will find yourself having less and less time for a herpes outbreak to occur.
3. Join a support group. Whether you want to do this online or be part of an actual group that meets maybe once or twice a week, increasing social contact with others who have to live with herpes, just like you, is a good way of dealing with herpes. You will find that just talking with people will lessen the burden on how to live with herpes. You will be able to learn from others’ experiences with the infection too.
4. Take a personal development course. This might be a trivial thing to do, but a course on personal development will help you put things into perspective and will be able to help you deal with how to live with herpes in a more positive light.
5. Keep yourself away from extreme environments. As a person living with herpes, you should know (and keep in mind) that even the littlest of things could trigger you to have an outbreak. So to be in the cautious side, avoid exposing yourself to extreme conditions that may cause irritation and an outbreak. Protect yourself from sun and windburn.
6. Avoid irritating the infected area. Whether you have oral or genital herpes, living with herpes means that you get an outbreak every now and then. When you do, it is best to keep yourself from scratching or placing too much friction on the infected area. Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing to avoid further irritation.
7. For women: avoid using tampons. Using tampons can be an outbreak trigger because it uses a somewhat hard applicator. Use an all-natural and unbleached cotton hygiene product that will be healthier.
You won’t be able to rid yourself of the herpes virus. But the good news is that in time, through proper care and management of the infection, you will find that the number and intensity of your herpes outbreaks will decrease.
Keep in mind that to live with herpes does not equate to a death sentence, it is annoying to be sure, but it can be dealt with accordingly.