Prevention and treatment

Prevention and Treatment of Herpes

Now you have read about the different types of herpes, cold sores and genital herpes being the most common, it is time to look at how you can avoid and treat those painful outbreaks. Here we will provide you with our advice and information on the alternative, natural treatments available, as we tend to avoid recommending medications, creams or patches as they can have negative side effects.

A cure for herpes

We cannot promise any of our methods will cure herpes and there are still no medical discoveries of a cure. You will carry the virus for the rest of your life, but we provide information and methods of making living with herpes easier, how to avoid frequent outbreaks of genital herpes and cold sores and how to treat outbreaks if they cannot be avoided.

Prevention

The best method of prevention of herpes outbreaks on the face or genitals is a healthy diet and lifestyle. Building a strong immune system should be a priority as this is the most common cause of outbreaks, this does not have to cost a lot of time or money just a conscious effort to listen to your body and what it needs. Healthy and varied diets, moderate exercise, getting enough sleep and maybe a few natural supplements and remedies, such as Lysine, Moringa, Aloe Vera and CBD oil will go a long way in preventing outbreaks of herpes.

The link between Herpes and Alcohol

Alcohol in moderation does not have much influence over outbreaks, if you have the occasional glass of wine or pint of beer you shouldn’t worry. However, excessive intake of alcohol for example at a big family occasion or on holiday with friends can provoke an outbreak of herpes, as the body will be concentrating on breaking down the toxins in the alcohol which requires a lot of energy. The body will therefore not be keeping the herpes virus at bay and so you can find outbreaks appear whilst you are recovering from that wedding, night out or holiday as well as battling that awful hangover.

The link between Herpes and smoking

It is safe to say smoking is not beneficial for your health in any circumstances, it weakens the immune system and therefore increases the likelihood of having frequent, recurring outbreaks.

Vaccinations used for herpes

To our knowledge, it is still not possible to this day to vaccinate against herpes, but there is a constant focus on herpes and treatments for it within the medical research community. There are many medical professionals around the world investigating new and better ways of preventing and treating outbreaks of herpes, including new antiviral medications. However, these treatments are still in their earlier trial dates and have not yet begun testing on humans. Read more about the benefits of these new medications here.

Treatment of cold sores and genital herpes

Some people can be unfortunate enough to still experience outbreaks even if they are ensuring they eat healthily, exercise and get enough sleep to maintain the strength of their immune system. These simple methods would usually be enough for most people but there are of course situations where you cannot avoid your immune system being weakened for example, if you have a cold, are going through a very stressful time or are a bit depressed. If you experience anything you feel may weaken your immune system and can start to feel those telltale signs of an outbreak coming on there is still plenty you can do to treat these outbreaks and minimise the pain and discomfort felt during an active outbreak. However, if you have any concerns or doubts about the outbreak you are experiencing always contact your doctor.

Medicines vs herbal remedies for herpes

There is a wealth of medical treatments and natural remedies for cold sores or genital herpes, that claim to relieve and heal the outbreaks faster than anything else. We will review a few of these products on offer, both at the pharmacy and ones you can prepare yourself from natural products.

It is important to remember that a treatment that works for one person may not work for another, you must find what works best for your body. Both nature and medical treatments can be used to help the body to recover from outbreaks, many common treatments include creams, patches, tablets, sprays and many more that can speed up the healing process and get rid of those nasty blisters and scabs.

How to get rid of herpes without medication

Do you feel as if you have tried every medication under the sun to get rid of your outbreaks and nothing seems to be working? You may have now got to the point of wanting to try alternative treatments other than medication. We have studied scientific papers and research as well as considering many people’s personal experience of dealing with herpes and using herbal treatments as an alternative to the common medications. We can confirm from this research that focusing on diet, sleep, exercise and reducing stress levels is a huge help when it comes to preventing and treating outbreaks. Below we have detailed the alternative treatments and methods of prevention of herpes.

Treating cold sores and herpes with food

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could prevent outbreaks of herpes through diet and natural supplements… Well then prepare to be amazed! You can in fact significantly reduce the frequency of outbreaks and in some cases, stop outbreaks altogether. Making some small changes to your normal, everyday life and following some simple dietary advice and changes you can see a real difference in the frequency of outbreaks. We feel it is best to fill the body and strengthen the immunes system through natural foods and supplements rather than medication that could case negative side effects. Just because you are changing your diet to incorporate foods that will prevent outbreaks and are high in natural vitamins, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your favourite snacks and meals. The key is balance!

The Battle of the Amino Acids – Arginine vs Lysine.

Let’s get scientific! Any virus is made up of a core of DNA or genetic material surrounded by a protective layer of protein, this protein is made up of amino acids. Research has proven that the herpes simplex virus relies on a source of the Arginine amino acid to spread and ensure the continuation of the virus, whereas the amino acid Lysine counteracts the Arginine and inhibits the spread of the virus. Therefore, it is possible to change the protein balance in the protective layer of the herpes virus and this change can in fact, lower the production and progression of the virus.

Lysine, helping to prevent the spread of herpes

A normal human DNA cell contains approximately 3-4% arginine and 28% lysine, but the herpes virus cell contains 25+% arginine as this amino acid is essential to the reproduction of the virus. Lysine and arginine have a similar structure and appearance and therefore lysine can be mistaken by the protective protein layer of the herpes virus as arginine and be absorbed if the content of arginine in the body is low. If this is the case the protein layer of the herpes virus will absorb more and more lysine, preventing the spread and development of the virus.

Therefore, taking lysine supplements or changing your diet to avoid consuming as many foods containing arginine will help prevent outbreaks of herpes.

Where to find lysine in food

Many of the foods that contain lysine also have a content of arginine, we recommend finding a good balance in your diet between the two. There are foods that have a higher content of lysine than arginine for example bananas, avocados and other fruit and veg as well as some dairy products. For vegans beans, lentils and peas contain a good amount of lysine. Incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis if you want to avoid outbreaks of herpes.

However, if changing your diet is only making a small impact on the frequency or severity of outbreaks, taking a lysine supplement may give your body the boost it needs. Taking the supplement daily for a long period of time will increase the period in between outbreaks and can sometimes stop outbreaks altogether.

Having a store of lysine if you suffer with outbreaks is always advisable, for if you start to feel those first signs of an outbreak taking a lysine supplement can either slow down the progress of the outbreak or in some cases, prevent the outbreaks from taking full effect and send the virus back to sleep. Lysine supplements can be purchased in any large supermarket or pharmacy.

Where to find arginine in food

Arginine as an amino acid is very good for overall health of the body, but it seems to have a negative effect on the herpes virus for those that carry it. However, the body needs arginine so even if you suffer with herpes you shouldn’t avoid consuming this amino acid altogether, but should be conscious of consuming large amounts of shellfish, nuts, fish, eggs, soybeans, pork loin and gelatine as these could spark an outbreak. So think twice before you go back in for another bit of toast with peanut butter!

As we mentioned before it is all about finding a balance that works for your body. So, if you want that extra bit of toast, just remember to consume more foods containing lysine later in the day or take a lysine supplement.

Vitamins and minerals that can help prevent and treat outbreaks of herpes:

Blueberriesh

These berries are packed full of antioxidants and can significantly help the fight against outbreaks of herpes. Always make sure to consume organic blueberries as mass manufactured foods will have traces of pesticides, which can disrupt the balance in the body keeping the herpes virus at bay and can be harmful when ingested in large quantities. Blueberries also contain antiviral components and since herpes is a virus it seems like common sense to sprinkle some blueberries on your morning breakfast or have them in a delicious smoothie.

Aloe Vera

Even though Aloe Vera has been known for its medicinal properties for over 6,000 years there is still no scientific research to support its healing qualities. However, Aloe Vera’s benefits relating to skin care are well known. Aloe Vera works as an anti-inflammatory and helps heal and rebuild the skin after the scab from a cold sore has gone, preventing scarring. You can easily grow and care for an Aloe Vera plant at home, using the jelly that the plant produces, applied directly to a cold sore can help relief pain and redness as well as stimulate healing of the skin. There are also many lip balms, lotions and oils that contain Aloe Vera and these can be applied to either cold sores or outbreaks of genital herpes.

Moringa

Nature created an amazing tree that produces this natural supplement, full of antioxidants, which has been used for thousands of years. The modern world is only just beginning to unlock its healing potential. You can find Moringa as a tea, power (to be used in smoothies or other drinks) or as an oil, that can be applied liberally to an active cold sore. Moringa boosts the immune system and prevents the frequency of herpes outbreaks of cold sores.

Lemon Balm

The ancient Roman’s commonly used this plant for treatment of wounds to speed up the healing process and since it has been proven through scientific research that lemon balm contains antibacterial substances. Using lemon balm on cold sores can in fact benefit the healing process of an active outbreak. This plant is most commonly used for cooking but it is also known for helping people sleep, battle stress and conquer grief due to its soothing properties.

Vitamin C

This commonly heard of vitamin boosts the immune system and helps fight off illness. Vitamin C is evident in many foods we consume but can be taken as a dietary supplement if you want to boost your immune system against the herpes virus. The body absorbs the required amount of vitamin C then excretes the rest, so there is no chance of overdosing on this vitamin. We recommend Vitamin C and Echinacea combined if you feel a cold coming on, along with lots of water and rest.

CBD oil

It is no longer a secret that CBD or Cannabidiol is an unbelievable medicine when it comes to rebalancing the body. You can liberally apply the CBD oil to an active outbreak of genital herpes or cold sores to effectively relieve the pain of an outbreak but also speed up the healing process. Consumed without an active outbreak CBD strengthens and boosts the immune system, which helps to keep the herpes virus dormant in the body, preventing outbreaks.

Echinacea

There are many ingredients contained in this plant that can be beneficial to the immune system and the human body. It is well known that Echinacea can be used to help heal common colds, but this plant can do much more and can in fact help the body fight against the herpes virus. The beneficial substances contained in this plant act as an anti-inflammatory in the body and can stimulate the immune system and therefore heal the ailment quicker. These substances are,:Polysaccharides, Glycoproteins, Alkamides and Caffeic acid. The juice of the entire Echinacea plant is used but also many of the beneficial substances of this plant are contained in the roots and so these are commonly used. Echinacea as a herbal remedy can be bought from most pharmacies and herbal alternative shops, such as Holland and Barrett. Most of the time 30 drops of Echinacea will be diluted in water and drunk once in the morning and once in the evening to feel the full benefits, but always read the directions of use before consuming.

Lysine

As we have previously mentioned this supplement can help inhibit the spread and progression of the herpes virus. Many people use it as a fast reaction to those first signs and symptoms of an imminent outbreak, taking a lysine tablet on first signs can help to stop the outbreak from taking full effect. However, taking 1000mg once or three times daily, depending on the frequency and severity of your outbreaks, can help prevent outbreaks of herpes. We also recommend taking lysine supplements consistently if you consume lots of foods high in arginine. It is always important to remember that everyone is different, some dosages can work for some but not for others, listen to your body and find the right balance, if unsure speak with your doctor. This supplement can be purchased from any large supermarket or pharmacy.

Medications that can help prevent and treat outbreaks of herpes

As 60% of the UK population carry the herpes simplex virus type 1 form or type 2, the pharmaceutical market for products to help with treatments and prevention of cold sores and herpes outbreaks is wide and varied. We understand it is reassuring for some to know there is a medical option out there for those who suffer from frequent and severe outbreaks. But from our experience and gathering other people’s experiences, over the counter treatments purchased at your local pharmacy usually will not deliver what they promise, but some prescription medications can positively affect the herpes outbreaks experienced. However, many of the prescription medications come with side effects that display themselves negatively. Therefore, we cannot and do not recommend any of these prescriptions or products, and instead recommend focusing on improving your overall health and boosting your immune system with natural supplements and diet change that we know do not have any negative side effects. But we respect that everyone’s situation is different and you may feel you have no choice but to try these medical methods.

Below we have provided a list of prescription and over-the-counter treatments for herpes and cold sores:

Aciclovir

is the standard prescription medication for the HSV virus (HSV-1 & HSV-2) but can also be used to treat outbreaks of Chickenpox and Shingles. According to research Aciclovir is the most clinically effective antiviral drug available.
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These tablets can be used not only to treat active outbreaks but also as a preventative method to avoid outbreaks. Of course, the dosage of these tablets is dependent on the person taking them, for example if your child of 3 is displaying signs and symptoms of an outbreak of cold sores on the lips you could give them a 100mg tablet 5 times a day usually for 5 days but it can be longer if the outbreak of cold sores does not clear up. For further information on the dosages recommended follow this link.
For those that are prescribed Aciclovir, it is always good to be aware of what side effects can accompany taking this medication, common side effects include, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, headaches, fatigue, skin reactions, vomiting and sensitivity to bright lights and screens, in 2018, less than 1 in 100 cases of these side effects were reported. It is reported that more than 1 patient in 1000 that is prescribed Aciclovir experiences anaphylaxis, commonly known as anaphylactic shock, an acute allergic reaction. There are more severe side effects that are associated with this prescription medication used to battle the herpes simplex virus, such as, anemia, hepatitis, jaundice, acute renal failure but more worryingly there are negative side effects that can affect the mental health of the patient, potentially resulting in hallucinations, confusion, and psychotic symptoms cases of this are more than 1 in every 10,000-people prescribed.
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Valaciclovir

is mainly used to treat and prevent outbreaks of herpes Zoster or Shingles and HSV-2 or genital herpes. The usual dosage for this prescription for adults suffering from shingles is 1000mg tablet taken 3 times a day for seven days and for genital herpes is 500mg tablets taken twice daily for 3-5 days depending if the outbreak is the patients first or if they suffer from recurring outbreaks. For more information on the appropriate dosage read here . The side effects experienced by patients that receive this prescription are similar to that of Aciclovir, from the more commonly seen side effects to the more severe. Valaciclovir takers can experience neurological disorders such as ataxia, convulsions, hallucinations, decreased consciousness, delirium, tremors and even comas. However with intervention from a doctor these effects can be reversible and are usually seen in patients that suffer with renal problems.
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Famciclovir

is used to treat herpes zoster (shingles) and genital herpes (HSV-2) whether this is recurring outbreaks or if the patient is experiencing their first outbreak, famciclovir is used to suppress the virus and prevent recurring outbreaks. Famciclovir is the active ingredient in the prescribed antiviral drug Famvir and is most commonly taken in tablet form. The possible side effects for patient who is prescribed Famciclovir are most commonly, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rashes and abnormal liver function of which 1 in 10 patients can expect to experience at least one of these symptoms. The more severe reactions to famciclovir include, hallucinations, jaundice and heart palpitations of which 1 patient in every 10,000 will experience. Furthermore, there is evidence to support a link between taking famciclovir and experiencing anaphylactic shock, having a serious skin reaction or suffering from seizures. For more information read here.

Penciclovir

This treatment differs from the previously discussed prescriptions as this takes the form of a cream (Fenistil Cold Sore Cream) rather than a tablet and is primarily used to treat active outbreaks of cold sores of HSV-1. The recommended usage of this cream for adults is to apply the cream every 2 hours during the day for 4 days. For children, the use of this cream has not had enough research to know if it is safe or effective treatment for children experiencing an outbreak of cold sores. The use of this cream is limited to outbreaks of cold sores on the lips or mouth, it is not recommended for outbreaks of cold sores in the nose, eyes or on the genitals.
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Zovir

Also known as Zovirax Cold Sore Cream, the main ingredient of this cream is aciclovir so the associated risks and side effects of taking this medication are the same as taking tablets that contain aciclovir. This cream can be used by adults and children suffering from outbreaks of cold sores on the mouth or lips. The cream should be applied 5 times daily at approximately 4 hour intervals, use of this cream should begin as soon as an outbreak appears and no later than 24 hours after the outbreak is active (blisters have appeared). Whilst using this treatment extra care must be taken to avoid contact with the eyes, this cream is also not a suitable treatment for HSV-2 or genital herpes. The link between Zovirax cream and negative effects during pregnancy are unknown and Zovirax should only be used when the benefits outweigh the possibility of unknown risks to the foetus, if you are pregnant.
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Compeed

Compeed provides an invisible cold sore patch that covers the entire affected area and the patch supplies the outbreak with 12 hour’s worth of treatment speeding up the healing process. But the most attractive feature of this treatment is that is contains the virus and helps to prevent transmission of the virus, however, contact should be avoided during an outbreak even if you are using any of the above treatments until the outbreak has completely healed.