Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is a viral infection that typically occurs in one of two forms – herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2. HSV-1 appears around and on lips, while HSV-2 appears around or on genitals.
Kissing is the most common way to transmit HSV-1, while sexual intercourse is the number one way to contract HSV-2. The most common symptoms for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are sores. Fever, pain, itching, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and swollen lymph nodes can accompany the sore outbreaks.
For now, there is no cure for either type of herpes, though there are numerous treatment options for both. The treatments can only ease the symptoms, make the sores heal faster, and prolong of the time between two outbreaks.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of herpes, read on. There are many OTC and home remedies, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes that can help treat the symptoms. Here’s a quick look at the basics.
The first line of defense against herpes and related outbreaks are antiviral OTC medications. They can’t cure herpes or remove the virus from your body, but they can speed up the healing of the sores and make outbreaks less frequent.
Also, they can lower the risk of transmission in between the outbreaks. Commonly, they are available in pill or cream forms. In severe cases, antiviral medications can be administered in the form of injections. The most commonly prescribed OTC meds are acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famcyclovir.
Along with over-the-counter medications, you can also use a wide range of home remedies to alleviate the discomfort associated with herpes outbreaks. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular options.
Cool compress is one of the most common home remedies for herpes sores, both oral and genital. Take a washcloth and fill it with ice cubes, then apply it to the area affected by the sores. Also, you can use a standard ice pack. Apply every four hours until the sores are gone.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Along with countless other applications, apple cider vinegar is also widely used to treat herpes sores. It is used due to its strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects. Mix it with water before use, as it may irritate your skin if used on its own. The mixture should be three parts water and one part vinegar.
There’s some scientific evidence that heat might be able to help with nascent herpes sores. In the case of already existing sores, a warm compress might help the skin heal faster. Making a dry variant of the warm compress can be done by microwaving a sock filled with rice for around a minute.
Baking soda can be used to treat the sores, as well. It will help you dry them out. Take a cotton cloth, dip it into pure baking soda and apply to the affected area. Repeat several times a day until the sores are gone.
Oils and Herbs
If you opt for home remedies prepared with topical oils and herbs, you should be careful not to burn your skin. Some oils can be too strong if used on their own, so you should always dilute essential oils with proper carrier oils. Make sure to test the mix on a small patch of unaffected skin.
Eucalyptus oil is an essential oils that has to be mixed with a carrier oil before use. It has strong soothing and antiviral properties and is one of the most popular topical options for treating herpes sores.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a tested and proven remedy for herpes sores. It has strong antiviral properties, among other benefits. However, it has to be diluted before application. Olive and sunflower oil are most commonly used for dilution.
Aloe vera is known around the world for its wide range of health benefits. In case of lip or genital sores, aloe vera is one of your best allies, as it has a strong antiviral effect. You can use it without diluting on any part of the body.
A healthy diet can help solve countless health issues and problems. While it won’t cure the herpes, a healthy diet will help boost your immune system and improve your overall health. Potentially, healthy food can help you postpone or even prevent outbreaks. Nevertheless, further research is needed on this topic.
Experts have found that vitamin C is good at fighting off herpes sores. Also, it may be able to lower the number of outbreaks, as well as reduce their severity. You can find it in oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, and other fruits and veggies. Papaya and mango are also known for the high vitamin C content.
Antioxidants are there to revitalize and reenergize you. They boost the immune system by dealing with free radicals. Also, they have great anti-inflammatory properties. Look for them in spinach, tomatoes, kale, and cauliflower. These four are also rich in lysine, a very important substance for dealing with herpes outbreaks.
Protein boosts the body’s defenses, which helps you fight the herpes simplex virus. You will find it in the highest concentrations in meat and meat products. Along with the increased intake of proteins, make sure to lower the intake of saturated fats.
A range of supplements can aid you in your fight against herpes outbreaks by boosting your immune system. Unlike OTC drugs, supplements are not regulated by FDA. Though freely available, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor before including supplements in your diet. Here’s a word or two on some of the most common supplements.
While its effects on the herpes simplex virus are still being researched, lysine is proven to help with cell growth and digestion. Some studies suggest that a daily intake of between 500 and 3,000mg can help with suppressing herpes outbreaks.
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex is among the most universally beneficial nutrients. Improved metabolism and energy are only some of the proven benefits of vitamin B complex supplements. They can also help you in the combat against herpes outbreaks.
On the whole, probiotics boost the immune system, while some types can also be useful allies when fighting herpes infections. Supplements rich in Lactobacillus rhamnosus are among the most efficient immune system boosters of all probiotics. They can also help with herpes simplex type 1 sores.
How to get rid of herpes? There is no way to expel the virus from your body. Once contracted, it stays in the body forever. However, the symptoms can be treated and brought under control.
Your best bet is a combined approach. You should use prescription antiviral drugs as primary therapy. Along with that, you can try a combination of standard home remedies and supplements. Adjustments to your diet and the introduction of healthy lifestyle habits can significantly boost your chances of success, as well.