Common Sense Living

It’s often been reported that patients benefit most from a "whole life" approach to managing genital herpes. First one should have an understanding of the virus, recurring outbreaks and finding the causes of those outbreaks plus taking this knowledge and using it to manage herpes in their everyday life.

Living with herpes begins with learning to watch and monitor symptoms and to treat them promptly. It will no doubt take a bit of experimenting to find a routine and treatment that works. Studies have shown that as many as 80% to 90% of people that are infected with HSV do not have outbreaks or any even “recognizable” symptoms. However, it has also been shown that 60% of these people without obvious outbreaks do have some symptoms; they are just not as obvious as the textbook symptoms we learned in health class.

Common sense tells us that those living with herpes to shower at least daily, maybe twice daily when symptoms are present, and to wear clean clothing, changing regularly, especially when symptoms are present.

Use a clean washcloth with warm soapy water. Once the washcloth has been used on the infected area, it should not be used on any other part of the body and should be placed in the dirty laundry to be washed with a hot water and detergent. During showers, it would be wise to wash the area of the outbreak last.

Once blisters are broken, they should be cleaned with soap and water. This will help kill some of the active viral fluid that may be seeping from the lesions and help promote healing.

Keeping the area as dry as possible and wearing lose clothing will allow air to reach the lesions and promote healing. Some have suggested using products such as cornstarch to increase dryness. Many have also chosen to use over-the-counter ointments to help ease some of the pain associated with their outbreaks.

Herpes virus cannot live off a human host for more than a few seconds. Transmitting the virus via inanimate objects such as toilet seats or sharing a bed is highly unlikely.

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