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How can I Prevent Herpes Outbreaks?

By Rachel Burkot
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of herpes viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Symptoms of herpes include cold sores and blisters around the genitals and/or rectum. Forty percent of herpes victims only experience one outbreak, but the majority deal with these painful sores five or more times per year. Herpes outbreaks can be prevented by controlling lifestyle and diet and by taking extra vitamins, minerals and herbs.

The herpes virus lies dormant in the nerve cells near the spine most of the time, but when it reappears, it brings blisters that fill with fluid and remain on the victim for around two weeks at a time. Stress and fatigue can bring about outbreaks, so regular exercise, including walking, running and biking, can be employed to prevent them. Foods with a lot of the amino acid lysine, such as fish, chicken and vegetables, should be consumed to ward off the sores. Foods like chocolate, nuts, and seeds are high in another amino acid called arginine, which brings on the outbreaks, so these should be avoided.

Stress-relieving herbs, vitamins and minerals can also provide extra nutrients that build up the immune system against herpes outbreaks. When too much stress weakens the immune system, the body’s defenses are lowered, and the patient becomes susceptible to more outbreaks. The herb Siberian ginseng helps the body fight against stress by contributing to the health of the adrenal glands, which produce the stress hormones. This herb also provides more energy and durability.

Supplements that contain a bovine thymus gland extract can lead to fewer and milder herpes outbreaks because the outbreaks are caused by the thymus gland failing to produce the blood cells that fight viruses. These supplements can be purchased in health food stores. Echinacea, another herb that helps prevent herpes outbreaks, contains antiviral ingredients that produce more white blood cells and properdin, a chemical that helps destroy viruses in the immune system. Echinacea also increases the amount of interferon in the body, which stops the herpes virus proteins from multiplying. The herb licorice also increases the body’s levels of interferon and strengthens immunity to the herpes virus by halting the process of viral replication.

Zinc and vitamin C are additional supplements that strengthen the immune system and speed the healing of the blisters resulting from herpes outbreaks. Vitamin A addresses the symptoms of the blisters and eases the pain. Vitamin E safeguards the white blood cells from other viruses and hastens the healing process. These vitamins, combined with herbs, the proper diet and a healthy amount of exercise, can prevent and/or shorten herpes outbreaks and hasten the healing process of the blisters and cold sores.

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Discussion Comments
By babyksay — On Sep 19, 2010

@Pimiento - Oops! I think you directed that at Kam. I am definitely in agreement with you on waiting and actually finding out what kind of person you are sleeping with before you go rolling in the hay so to speak. Genital herpes outbreaks come and go so you won't always know. It's pretty scary to think you could be living with this disease your entire life and all you did was love someone that couldn't be honest with you.

By empanadas — On Sep 19, 2010

@Pimiento - Definitely not questioning the honesty between lovers at all. The length of herpes outbreaks can vary from person to person so it's not always easy to tell if someone has it. The heat of the moment can make you do wild, unthinkable things so I think people should get back to the roots of dating and talking about things before jumping in the sack. Unfortunately, it rarely works this way anymore.

By Kamchatka — On Sep 19, 2010

@Pimiento - I think that the initial herpes outbreak comes as a shock to a lot of people and while they would like to mask what they have, the truth is that you should always be open about what's going on - even if you can't physically see it.

Gential herpes outbreaks can be painful, horrifying, and shockingto say the least and while it's great to "get rid" of it for a little while, you should always be honest about what you have with your partners.

By Pimiento — On Sep 19, 2010

There are several home remedies to treat recurrent herpes outbreaks. A lot of the medication on the market today that's available over the counter can help scale back constant herpes outbreaks, too.

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