If you want to know how to prevent herpes outbreaks, you’ve come to the right place to get the information you need to avoid them forever.
Herpes is a disease caused by a virus that affects us physically and mentally.
The fact of knowing we are infected causes us psycho-emotional affections, even if we have not had any symptoms.
When the symptoms appear we are physically affected and the psycho-emotional affectations become more acute.
For this reason, if we manage to prevent herpes outbreaks, we benefit doubly.
I’ve divided the writing into several parts. You can select to read any of them, although I recommend you to read it completely because it contains very useful information for you.
|Start reading in any section
|Herpes and herpes outbreak|
|Herpes outbreak stages|
|How long does a herpes outbreak last?|
|How to prevent herpes outbreaks naturally?|
|How to prevent herpes outbreaks with drugs?|
Herpes and herpes outbreak [↑]
Herpes is the main disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. Anyone infected with the virus can develop it.
The most common signs and symptoms of herpes are redness of an area of the body and the appearance of painful blisters on this area which burst and turn into sores.
Herpes and herpes outbreak are two different concepts. The first concept refers to the disease, i.e. a disturbance in the normal functioning of the body caused by the herpes simplex virus. The second concept refers to the process of the appearance of signs and symptoms of the disease.
People who know they are infected with the virus and have never had an outbreak can transmit the virus and often suffer from psycho-emotional disorders associated with the disease.
These people are often concerned about the occurrence of an outbreak and the rejection they may receive from others.
Herpes outbreak stages [↑]
A herpes outbreak is a process that goes through six stages which vary from person to person.
The intensity of the outbreak depends on the area of the body where it occurs and other factors including whether it is the first outbreak or a recurrence.
Outbreaks start in the prodrome stage. In this stage, there is usually a lack of appetite and discomfort accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in the groin and muscle aches.
The prodrome stage is followed by the inflammation stage which is characterized by redness and swelling of the body area affected by the virus.
The reddened area develops blisters that are lighter in color than the rest of the skin and they contain the herpes simplex virus.
The blisters burst, emptying out the fluid inside and turning into very painful sores.
After a few days the ulcers begin to crust over; this is when the outbreak is in the crusting stage.
Eventually the scabs begin to fall off and the skin returns to its normal state without scarring. This is the healing stage.
In an investigation carried out at the University of Toledo, USA, on cold sores it was discovered that although the skin returns to its normal state, in the area of the outbreak there remains a viral population that can cause immediate recurrence, if we are exposed to sunlight for a long time.
How long does a herpes outbreak last? [↑]
The herpes outbreak duration depends on a combination of factors including patient characteristics, the area of the body affected, the type of virus causing the outbreak, and whether it is the first outbreak or a recurrence.
Genital herpes outbreak duration
The first genital herpes outbreak in people with normal immune systems can last up to four weeks if the patient is not treated.
This duration refers to cases where the outbreak is very intense, but in other cases the duration is less than four weeks. There are cases where the signs and symptoms are almost unnoticeable.
In recurrences, the sores can heal in 5-6 days without treatment because the immune system has produced antibodies to protect against the virus.
Outbreaks in immunosuppressed patients usually last longer than in individuals with normal immune systems and ulcers can take months to heal.
This condition makes them susceptible to infection with other sexually transmitted diseases as well as potential transmitters of the herpes virus.
Cold sore outbreak
The duration of cold sore outbreaks is mediated by a combination of several factors that can make them more or less long-lasting.
A cold sore outbreak can last up to three weeks if the patient is not treated and goes through the same stages as the genital herpes outbreak.
As with genital herpes, recurrences of cold sores are shorter than the first outbreak.
Outbreaks in immunosuppressed people are more intense and the sores take longer to heal.
How to prevent herpes outbreaks naturally? [↑]
Preventing herpes outbreaks without the use of drugs is based on controlling factors that are associated with their occurrence (triggers) or on strengthening the immune system.
These factors include the following:
- Chronic stress.
- Inadequate diet.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- High-intensity physical exercise.
- Steroid medication.
- Illnesses accompanied by fever.
- Surgical trauma.
In women, the menstruation period is added to these factors.
Wearing clothes that are too tight for the body or having too much sex can also trigger an outbreak of genital herpes.
Stress management is an important action to avoid herpes outbreaks. I’ve dedicated an article to herpes from stress, which I recommend you read.
Diet is an important factor in managing if you want to avoid herpes outbreaks. You should eat foods that are high in lysine and low in arginine.
Lysine and arginine are amino acids involved in metabolism. Studies have concluded that lysine prevents herpes outbreaks, while arginine contributes to them.
This book also outlines a protocol for preventing herpes outbreaks and eliminating the virus that causes them.
The Ultimate Herpes Protocol has been used by thousands of people who recommend it for its benefits.
Diet is a very important factor in herpes outbreaks. For this reason, I have dedicated an article to the anti-herpes diet in which I explain which foods and drinks you should consume and which you should avoid.
How to prevent herpes outbreaks with drugs? [↑]
Using an oral antiviral agent before herpes outbreaks occur can prevent them or reduce their intensity and frequency.
The duration of treatment is determined by the physician, but suppressive therapy usually lasts 6-12 months.
Suppressive therapy can be applied in the following situations:
- You have very frequent recurrences of herpes.
- The outbreaks cause you post-herpetic neuralgia.
- You don’t have outbreaks very often, but they do occur in important situations such as during exams or on vacation.
- The outbreaks are very severe.
- You usually have outbreaks when you are starting a new relationship and have met someone you are thinking of partnering with.
- You are suffering from another disease that causes herpes outbreaks.
A single antiviral agent is used in suppressive therapy and it must be prescribed by a physician. Studies have shown that it is advisable not to use several antiviral agents simultaneously.
The most effective antiviral agents are acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir.
Acyclovir suppressive therapy
Acyclovir is marketed under the name Zovirax and in suppressive therapy two 400 mg tablets daily every 12 hours or four 200 mg tablets four times a day are indicated.
Your doctor may tell you to stop treatment for a while and assess whether or not to restart it.
Other less common side effects of acyclovir are tremors, hallucinations, hives, unusual bleeding or bruising, skin irritations, mental confusion, seizures, sore throat, chills, and fever.
In addition to all these harmful side effects, prolonged use of acyclovir can cause kidney failure and cardiovascular problems.
Valacyclovir suppressive therapy
Another possible antiviral agent to use in suppressive therapy is valacyclovir whose trade name is Valtrex.
This drug is transformed into acyclovir by the body, is only recommended for patients over 12 years old and it is more effective in women.
Doctors usually prescribe one 500 mg tablet of Valtrex a day during herpes outbreak suppressive therapy.
Valacyclovir may also less frequently cause constipation, diarrhea, fever, headache, yellowing of the skin, chest pain, shortness of breath, and decreased urine output.
Herpes outbreak prevention with Famciclovir
Famciclovir is an antiviral agent whose trade name is Famvir and is transformed into penciclovir in the body.
This medicine is very effective against genital herpes and beneficial in immunosuppressed patients.
Famvir suppressive therapy consists of two daily doses of 250 mg each for a period of time determined by your doctor.
This medicine can damage the kidneys. This is why your doctor will order tests to check your creatinine during treatment.
Less common adverse effects are skin redness, flatulence, fatigue, mood swings, hallucinations, anxiety, and restlessness.
Overview of suppressive therapies
The table summarizes options for suppressive therapy with an antiviral agent to prevent herpes outbreaks.
|Options for preventing herpes outbreaks
|Drug||Trade name||Daily dose||Duration|
|Aciclovir||Zovirax||Two 400 mg tablets or four 200 mg tablets||The duration is determined by the doctor who is prescribing the treatment. Usually the duration is 6-12 months.|
|Valaciclovir||Valtrex||One 500 mg tablet.|
|Famciclovir||Famvir||Two 250 mg tablets.|
Final notes [↑]
If you have been looking for an answer on how to prevent herpes outbreaks, I hope that by reading this article you have found it.
I’ve offered you two options. The first is prevention using natural methods and the second is based on suppressive therapy with antiviral agents.
Since antiviral agents are harmful to health and often expensive, it is best to use natural methods.
If you are pregnant and have contracted the herpes simplex virus, tell your doctor about it because genital herpes outbreaks in late pregnancy are dangerous to your baby’s life.
1. ↑ Gaishauser, K.L. & Burkhart, C.G (2019). Bimodal Temporal Distribution of Herpes Explains Resistant Cases to Oral Antiviral Agents. The Open Dermatology Journal. https://benthamopen.com/FULLTEXT/TODJ-13-1
2. ↑ Famciclovir. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famciclovir
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