Herpes | Self Help

A doctor walks into the room and says, "Your tests results show you have herpes simplex."

For tens of thousands of individuals every year, these words bring on a period of personal anguish and doubt. It causes depression over having an "incurable" disease, fear that sex will be ruined, and fear that important relationships may be destroyed. There is also a sense of lonelines. Many say they felt like a social and sexual outcast, when they were first diagnosed. With time, and with learning, most people are able to overcome these doubts and lead perfectly normal lives, in which herpes is only a minor and occasional aggravation. The transition is not always easy.

We will also keep you up to date about new drugs under study as treatments for genital herpes.

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Self-Help Do's and Don'ts for herpes

  • Don't use antibacterial creams or ointments without medical advice.
  • Don't break open vesicle (sores).
  • Do apply a soothing ice pack to the area during the prodromal warning stage.
  • Do bathe the sores in warm water to which a drying agent, such as Epsom salt or Borrows solution has been added.
  • Do wear loose-fitting clothing during an outbreak to prevent irritation and allow air to help dry the infection. Also, cotton underwear is a good idea, since it allows for ventilation and absorbs moisture in the area.
  • It is recommended that a woman with genital herpes have a Papa-nicolaou (Pap) smear annually or semi-annually.
  • Do tell your doctor if you are pregnant and suspect herpes, so you can avoid serious consequences to your baby.
  • Do increase your intake of lysine and limit your arginine.
  • Do stay hydrated and note alcohol can trigger an outbreak and it dehydrates your body.
  • Do use a different condom with each sexual act to help reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Do tell any prospective sexual partners before you have relations. Herpes is spread by direct skin to skin contact, and sometimes, even if there is no lesion (shedders).
  • Do speak to a therapist if you need help dealing with herpes.
  • Don't share toothbrushes, razors, drinking cups, or eating utensils if you have cold sores.

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