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There's Nothing Simple About Herpes Simplex

Dr. Rita Louise -- Spread through direct contact, herpes is a very contagious virus that affects millions of Americans and which has no cure. Yet, it is often not discussed because of its negative social stigma.

Herpes simplex is a viral infection caused by one of two Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV). HSV appear as clusters of small blisters on the lip, outer edge of the mouth or in the genital area. Blisters caused by HSV-1 form on the face, around the mouth or on the lips. They are often referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. HSV-2 or genital herpes refers to blisters that form on the genitals and around the anus.

Herpes manifests itself through a characteristic series of symptoms and phases. The first symptom of a herpes outbreak is unpleasant tingling or burning feeling of the skin in the affected area. After two to three days, fluid filled blisters begin to appear. This is called the ulcer stage.

By day four, the blisters can begin to rupture causing them to weep (weeping stage). Between days five through eight, a brownish crust or scab begins to cover the blisters (crusting stage). This stage is typically accompanied by itching and burning of the tissue. The healing stage begins around days eight thru ten. Here the skin beneath the crust has healed and scabs fall off.

With exposure this virus will lie dormant on the localized nerve cells until it is triggered. Once activated, an outbreak will often recur in the same general area of the body as earlier occurrences.

If you think you have herpes it is important to realize that this disorder is very contagious -– especially during the weeping state, but it can still be spread after that. Transmission is through direct contact, such as kissing or sexual contact (in the case of HSV-2). It can also be spread if you touch an infected area and then touch another mucus membrane such as the nose, eyes, mouth, or genital area on yourself or on someone else.

An outbreak of herpes can happen at any time. Most commonly found causes of reactivation are due to infections, emotional stress, toxicity, sunburns, cold weather or dramatic weather changes, hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, immune system deficiencies, and even certain foods. Basically they can become active again when faced with situations that overwhelm the body and lower our immune system.

While there is no cure for herpes, there are a number of natural and alternative health remedies you can try to reduce or eliminate outbreaks and support the body's ability to heal when they do.

Recommendations For Wellness

-- Find ways to reduce stress in your life. Take the time each day to relax or meditate to help keep your stress under control.

-- Consume a diet made up of foods high in lysine and low in arginine or supplement with lysine capsules. Foods rich in lysine include beef, turkey, cheese, vegetables, fruits, beans, mung bean sprouts, brewer's yeast, legumes, fish, chicken, and lamb. Foods high in arginine include peanuts and peanut butter, chocolate, coconut, soybeans, oats, almonds, carob, gelatin, seeds, wheat germ, whole-wheat and white flour. Lysine has been shown to be important in the prevention and treatment of herpes outbreaks.

-- Drink plenty of water.

-- Avoiding sugar, alcohol, and caffeine can help to minimize outbreaks as they have a suppressing effect on the body's own natural immune system.

-- Blisters or sores should be kept clean and dry with an agent such as cornstarch.

-- Avoid touching the sores. Wash hands frequently during the day. Fingernails should be scrubbed daily. Keep the body clean.

-- Some people report that drying the genital area with a blow dryer on the cool setting offers relief.

-- Void tight-fitting clothing, which restricts air circulation and slows healing of the sores.

-- Choose cotton underwear, rather than synthetic materials.

-- Local application of ice packs may alleviate the pain and help reduce recurrences by suppressing the virus.

-- Warm sitz bathes three to four times a day (sitting in a bath with your knees up). Add baking soda to help reduce any itching or pain.

-- Zinc has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes outbreaks.

-- Aloe vera can be applied topically to lesions and also taken internally for its antiviral effect.

-- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has been shown in research to have antiviral effects against the herpes virus. Applying it to initial herpes outbreaks can prevent recurrence or can speed healing.

-- Try applying a single drop of tea tree oil directly to herpes lesions once a day after showering. Tea tree oil is gentle to the skin and helps any kind of external sore heal faster.

-- Boost your immune system. Take Echinacea, pau d'arco, red clover, olive leaf extract, or vitamin C daily.

Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Rita Louise, Ph.D. is the author of the books Avoiding the Cosmic 2x4 and The Power Within. It is her unique gift as a medical intuitive and clairvoyant that illuminates and enlivens her work. Let Dr. Louise help you bring health healing and wholeness back into your life. Visit or listen live online to Dr. Rita on

© 2007 Dr. Rita Louise

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