How to Treat Herpes
Ever wondered what is the oldest virus known to humankind? Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have been studying the herpes virus, and they believe that the genital herpes virus has been around for as long as humans. HSV-2, also known as genital herpes, was found to be more genetically similar to the chimpanzee herpes virus.
What Causes Herpes?
The herpes simplex virus is a sexually transmitted disease and is a virus, not a bacteria. The virus attaches within your body’s cells and can remain dormant for a long time. An outbreak of this virus is what is known as herpes.
Herpes can be a complex disease. It has two relatives within its viral family: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Most commonly, HSV-1 is seen as fever blisters or cold sores, while HSV-2 is seen in the genital areas. However, one of these can sometimes try to invade the other’s territory, meaning that both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can create sores in the genital and mouth area. The only way to know which type of virus you have is through testing.
How is Herpes Treated
Since herpes is a virus and viruses live within your body’s cells, the virus cannot be killed altogether, and there is not a cure for herpes. What is treatable is the outbreak of the virus. When the virus becomes triggered to grow, due to an illness, stress, or hormonal changes, is when it is most susceptible to antiviral medications.
A study done by the Alternative Medicine Review found that there are natural genital herpes treatments that may be helpful. Some of the treatments that people find useful are:
- Vitamin C
- Aloe Vera
- Vitamin E
- Essential oils
- Proper diet
Essential oils have become very popular in the last decade; they may be helpful to relieve the symptoms and slow the growth of the sore. The most popular essential oils for the herpes virus are Lemon Balm, peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Chamomile, Thyme. However, it is crucial to remember that some essential oils can burn the skin; make sure that you get the oil from a reputable supplier and dilute the oils as suggested. Be sure to discuss essential oil use with a doctor before starting.
You may be prescribed medicines, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex).. These medicines, while sounding similar, are very different in their dosage and strength. It is essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations exactly when prescribed a medication. The growth of the virus is slowed by medication, which can make the outbreak shorter.
For the first outbreak, your physician may recommend a longer treatment that can last up to ten days. After this treatment, a follow-up treatment decision will be made. Some physicians will treat the outbreaks as they appear, also known as an episodic treatment. For this, you would take medicine soon after you start feeling symptoms.
Suppression treatment is the second type of follow-up treatment that will require closer follow-up. Medication is taken daily for a one-year period at a lower dose, and this type of regimen is usually done for those who have frequent outbreaks.
Currently, there are no vaccines for the herpes simplex virus. While the Zostavax shot is for herpes zoster, also known as shingles, it is not the same as herpes simplex.
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are vigorously studying a possible herpes vaccine for humans. The animals that have been studied have had very low transmission rates. The scientists hope to soon start human studies to see if the vaccine is effective.
At Home Precautions
While having an outbreak, don’t forget that you are highly contagious. Viruses are tiny, and they can be spread easily. Wearing a condom will not always prevent the spread of the herpes virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Areas that do not have an active sore can still spread the virus, and not all lesions can be covered by a condom. This means you should avoid sexual intercourse until the wounds are completely healed over.
Other ways to help your body heal include wearing cotton underclothes and loose clothing. The sores can be painful and ooze at times, and cotton clothing will allow the ulcers to get some air, which will help them heal. Warm showers can help relieve pain; however, hot tubs and long hot baths should be avoided because the heat is too excessive for the sensitive genital area during an outbreak. You should also clear the genital area when you shower; it is best to use a gentle cleanser such as baby shampoo or unscented lotion-based soaps, as these will not irritate the skin.
If you have genital herpes or have symptoms that make you suspect that you may have these, you should consider seeking an online medical consultation. The telehealth technology used by Alpha Medical provides instant access to physicians online who can perform an online consultation directly from the comfort of your home and provide online prescriptions that can be shipped directly to your door. Set up a membership with us to start your treatment today.
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