As anyone with herpes knows, dealing with herpes outbreaks can be debilitatingly painful, itchy, and embarrassing, and once an outbreak happens, it is hard to treat and control. The golden rule of living with herpes is that prevention is the best medicine; while the illness cannot be cured, it can often be managed in such a way that painful outbreaks happen very infrequently. In order to prevent herpes outbreaks, try the following practices:
1. Reduce stress. Stress plays havoc on the immune system, making those who have herpes more prone to outbreaks. Make time to relax, meditate, and exercise daily.
2. Get your sleep. Sleep deprivation raises our levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to herpes outbreaks. Likewise, those who are not getting a proper 6-8 hours a night tend to have impaired immune systems.
3. Consume less sugar. Sugar causes an inflammatory response in the body, which aggravates a wide range of conditions and impairs immune function.
4. Drink black tea. Black tea is an effective anti-viral and anti-inflammatory substance; consuming it regularly can help to keep herpes outbreaks at bay. If you do have an outbreak, you can apply the lukewarm teabag directly to the herpes sore for extra relief.
5. Eat nutritious foods. There is no better thing one can do for one’s body and immune system than eat well. Stick to a diet that is high in nutrients derived from whole foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and fruit. Avoid processed foods as much as possible, and try to eat your fruit and vegetables raw rather than cooked, as this preserves more of their nutrients.
6. Take an antiviral medication. Oral antiviral medications such as Zovirax, Valtrex, and Famvir have been proven quite effective at preventing herpes outbreaks. They also ensure that any outbreaks that do occur are less intense and last shorter than they would be otherwise. Antiviral medications slow down how fast the herpes virus can reproduce itself, allowing the body more time to fight it, thereby keeping its visible effects at bay.
7. Take Lysine. Lysine is an amino acid which has been proven effective in treating the intensity and frequency of herpes outbreaks. Lysine directly combats the effects of argenine, another amino acid which is believed to help the herpes virus replicate within the body. One can further combat argentine’s effects by avoiding foods that are high in it (such as chocolate, coffee, nuts, seeds, raisins, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, lentils, brown rice, and coconut) and eating more foods that contain significant levels of lysine (cheese, eggs, chicken, fish, beef, milk, yogurt, brewer’s yeast, mango, papaya, apricot, avocado, apple, and sprouts).