There are 3 main strains of the Herpes Virus:
- Herpes Simplex Virus 1: HSV-1 Oral Herpes (Cold Sores or Fever Blisters)
- Herpes Simplex Virus 2: HSV-2 Genital Herpes
- Herpes Varicella-Zoster: Chicken Pox and Shingles
There are no cures for most the herpes viruses but many can be controlled with medication. Chicken pox and the shingles viruses both have vaccines that can prevent or help suppress an outbreak. Some good news is symptoms generally do decrease in intensity and frequency as time passes.
Research studies have found that 98% of healthy adults carry the HSV-1 virus and 25% of adult Americans have HSV-2. Many people are infected and don’t even know that they have it. The virus can remain dormant for long periods of time before it becomes active again and cause symptoms.
HSV-1 or Oral Herpes
Symptoms: Cold sores or blisters around the outside or inside of the mouth that are painful. Sores can last for 7 to 10 days.
Triggers: Chocolate, lack of rest, menstruation, colds/flu, illnesses, stress, caffeine consumption that over produces adrenalin, immune system compromised
- Avoid contact with blisters
- OTC pain medications
- Topical anesthetics
Cold sores can be spread from sharing cups, straws, lip balm, eating utensils, and kissing.
HSV-2 or Genital Herpes
Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is quite common and there is no cure. You can be infected and be asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms at all). It is spread through contact from one infected partner to another.
- Sores in the genital area that take a week or more to heal
- Flu-like symptoms
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Pain when urinating
Triggers: Stress or illness can activate the virus as your body’s immune system is compromised.
- No cure but symptoms can be managed. Symptoms do decrease in intensity and frequency as time passes but the virus never truly goes away.
- Prescription Anti-viral Drugs
- Ice Packs
- Wear Loose Clothing
The Good News about Caffeine:
A new study from the National Institute of Health has shown that topically applying a cream with 10% caffeine helped clear up HSV-1 outbreaks. Caffeine in the topical creams helped to reduce the numbness that goes along with herpes infections and also helped to reduce the number of times the herpes virus duplicated itself.
The Danger of Too Much Caffeine:
Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce adrenalin, lots of adrenalin can send your body into the fight or flight response. This high level of perceived stress from coffee consumption can compromise your body’s immune system allowing the herpes virus to reactivate.
These results from research have implications for the development of further medications to treat the symptoms of herpes simplex viral infections both orally and genitally.
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Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809669 https://www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/common-symptoms#4 https://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health-pictures/is-it-herpes-or-something-else.aspx
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