Herpes Simplex

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Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex, also called cold sores, is one of the most unpleasant diseases. Herpes simplex virus may affect various human organs. Still, herpes of the internal organs occurs quite rarely. Herpes is caused by different forms of the same virus.

Perhaps the most dangerous is herpes of the eyes, which can cause very serious consequences, even blindness. Herpes virus type II causes genital herpes. The most common is lips herpes, or cold sores, caused by herpes virus type I.

When lips are infected with herpes, the skin gets itchy, warm, red and swollen, and soon one or more painful blisters appear. Later they enlarge and expand to weeping ulcers.

After a few days an ulcer starts to dry out and covers with a scab. A scab must not be removed, because it contains white blood cells, which fight the virus and help the ulcer to heal.

Very often the herpes simplex virus is caught in childhood, but it hides in the body without causing any discomfort. It is activated only under certain circumstances, usually when the immunity gets weakened: during infections, fatigue, frequent lack of sleep, stress, as well as sudden weather changes, before menstruations or during them.

In autumn and winter the virus can be awakened by cold, in summer - by an exposure to the sun and heat.

Avoiding the virus is almost impossible, because it is transferred through the air, spreads through dishes, towels, door handles and bus handrails very easily.

How to fight against the herpes virus?

Once in the body, the herpes virus becomes a loyal, albeit undesirable companion of a human life. But it is also possible that the infected person will never get ill and will become a virus carrier.

Some people experience the 'pleasures' of herpes once or twice a year, others - every few years, but there are those who are attacked by the virus almost every month.

To avoid frequent relapses of the disease, it is mostly important to boost the immunity. It is necessary to avoid fatigue and stress, also, to sleep well. A balanced diet is also very important.

It is recommended to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, especially those rich in vitamin C (citrus, kiwi, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, spinach or onions). They enhance the body's resistance and promote the production of antibodies that inhibit the activity of the herpes virus and, what is more, accelerate mucosal healing.

B group vitamins, especially B6 and B12 also protect the body against herpes. When the body is weakened for some reasons, it is advisable to use products rich in zinc (meat, fish, wheat shoots and sunflowers seeds) and selenium (seafood, eggs, nuts).

The immunity can also be enhanced by drugs (immunomodulators), containing Echinacea or ginseng. Rosehip tea increases the body's resistance but it should not be abused as it might affect the kidneys.

Do not forget the fact that the immunity is highly dependent on the gastro-intestinal condition, so any gastrointestinal complaints should be treated timely.

Having cold sores

Medicine is still unable to completely cure cold sores. But it is possible to mitigate the consequences and prevent from frequent recurrences.

First of all, you need to know that someone infected with herpes may not only infect surrounding people, but also accidentally transmit the virus to other parts of the body during a flare. Therefore the vesicles on lips cannot be touched. It is necessary to especially protect the eyes, since the outcomes of infecting the cornea can be very sad.

If nevertheless you have touched your lips with herpes, you should immediately wash your hands with soap and warm water. During the flare you should eat only from your individual dishes, prevent everyone from using your towel and not to use others.

Certainly, kissing is forbidden as well. Following personal hygiene is especially necessary when any of the family members has herpes.

Anti-viral and anti-inflammatory drugs will help the blisters to heal faster. The treatment should be started as soon as the first symptoms of the disease appear. Medications should be used several times a day, every 2-4 hours.

Medications for the treatment of herpes are usually in the form of cream or ointment. To ensure that the vesicles are less visible and to avoid any spread of the infection, it is advisable to apply a special plaster on the affected area.

Sometimes when the lips get tingled and itchy, there are no special therapeutic measures at hand. To stop the infection from spreading a tablet of aspirin or paracetamol moistened with water will be useful - it must be applied on the affected area.

The unpleasant feeling can be eased by pieces of cotton wool dipped in a solution of salt (1 teaspoon salt to 0.5 cups of water) and applied on the blisters. A cold compress of chamomile or calendula decoction can be also put on the vesicles.

The herpes virus activity call also be inhibited by aromatic oils. A healing mixture can be made at home - mix 4 drops of bergamot, geranium, and eucalyptus oil with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. This treatment method is not suitable for allergic patients.


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