dealing with herpes

Tag: dealing with herpes

Tips to Avoid a Heat Triggered Herpes Outbreak

Tips to Avoid a Heat Triggered Herpes Outbreak

By: contributing author Stephanie Non toxic sun protection

For those of you who have read Dr. Kelly’s book, Live, Love and Thrive with Herpes, you are aware that heat, moisture, and sun can trigger outbreaks.  Here, I will go over the facts you need to minimize your risk of a sun or heat triggered herpes outbreak as well as provide some tips for non toxic sun protection.

According to an article on Livestrong.com, the reason that sun exposure activates the herpes virus is unknown.  However, the article informs us that using sunscreen before sun exposure will decrease the risk of an outbreak triggered by UV rays.  This mean that applying sunscreen prior to a day in the sun is especially important for those of us who experience outbreaks on our faces.  Choosing the right sunscreen with ingredients that won’t irritate your skin and possibly trigger outbreaks is also very important.

My favorite resource to use when buying any cosmetic products is the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.  For your convenience this website provides a tab on the top left of the page specifically for sun protection.  This database will provide you with a toxicity rating for almost any product you are debating purchasing.  The key for these ratings is pictured below in the Hazard Score Key.  If the product has a hazard score that is color coded green and numbered 0-2 it is in the lowest toxicity bracket.  Products with a score that is color coded red and numbered 7-10 is in the highest toxicity bracket.  Once you find a product that meets your own personal qualifications for a hazard rating you can click on the product to see what specific ingredients earned the rating.

Hazard score keyThe database also provides a helpful list of common toxic ingredients found in sunscreens.  Here is a list of the harmful active ingredients from highest toxicity to lowest toxicity found in many sunscreens provided by ewg.org: Common Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate)
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Avobenzone
  • Mexoryl SX

It may be hard to avoid all of these ingredients, so when choosing sunscreen I suggest you remember that although these ingredients may be harmful to our bodies, overexposure to the sun is also harmful.  Regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with the herpes virus or not, the sun is harmful and can irritate the skin. It is also important to get to know you own body in order to understand how the virus will react to heat triggers on your body specifically.  If you notice that you tend to get frequent outbreaks during constant heat exposure, take steps to avoid the heat.  Keep in mind that avoiding the heat does not necessarily mean that you need to avoid your favorite summer hobbies.Live Love and Thrive with Herpes  Get acquainted with your body’s limits and you may be surprised with what it can handle. With this information I hope you practice mindful sunscreen use and regulate your exposure to heat this summer.  Remember that we all have a unique experience with herpes, and one person’s trigger is not always the same as another’s.  Now, enjoy the last rays of summer!

Want to learn more about the herpes triggers your doctor never told you about? Check out Dr. Kelly’s Amazon bestseller.

About Stephanie

Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie.  I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old.  Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University.  I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis.  With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs.  I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.

Herpes Treatment: Lemon Balm for Herpes

Lemon balm remedies for herpesHerpes Treatment: Lemon Balm for Herpes
By Contributing Auther: Stephanie

One of my main concerns with herpes treatment is my ability to control the virus naturally without effecting other areas of my body.  Lemon balm is used in herpes treatment as a natural home remedy to reduce the replication of the herpes virus.  Here, you will learn many of the different ways you can use lemon balm for herpes outbreak treatment and prevention, in hopes that you will find the perfect remedy for your lifestyle!

Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, was shown in a 2004 study to effectively reduce the rate of of replication of both type 1 and 2 of the herpes virus (Allahverdiyev et. al 2004).  One precaution the article gives is using anything over a concentration of 100 micrograms per milliliter.  If the concentration is higher than this threshold there could be potential toxic side effects.  This being said, any lemon balm oil or supplement that you buy in the store should be safe for use, but I would suggest checking the dosage on the product just to be sure. As you can probably imagine, go organic whenever possible. While it is beneficial to discuss how this herb can potentially prevent outbreaks, help heal current outbreaks, and hinder the replication of the virus, we will also discuss some creative uses for the herb.  This herb can be used in many applications and it is my intent that each and every one of you will learn how it can benefit you, no matter what your unique situation with herpes is.

Different uses for lemon balm:

If you would like to grow the herb and use it in its most natural form, there are several ways to accomplish this.  The first, and likely most common, is to make lemon balm tea.  All you need to do is to place some herbs in hot boiling water for a few minutes (tea bag is optional), add some honey (raw is best), sip and relax. This tea also pairs well with black or mint tea. You can drink this hot or you can add ice to drink iced tea. This herb touts its ability to relax you and when you’ve sipped to your hearts content, re use the tea bag to sooth any sores by placing the bag directly on them.  If you do not want to grow the herb yourself, lemon balm tea is readily available for purchase.

Another creative and relaxing remedy is to take a lemon balm bath.  If you have the lemon balm plant you can use the leaves  in the bath by making a lemon balm leaf-filled bag and hanging it under the running water as you fill the bath.  This remedy will create a relaxing and healing environment for your herpes sores to heal. A word of caution though, do not take a bath that is too hot as very hot baths and hot tubs can trigger the herpes virus.

You can even eat fresh lemon balm leaves in a salad or with any other meal you have prepared.  Culinary nerds might want to add mint, anise, fennel or lemon verbena to mix with the lemon balm. Eating the leaves allows you to proactively begin to approach herpes treatment with more of a preventative approach.  Having lemon balm as a part of your regular diet could help to decrease the likelihood of having another outbreak.

Lemon balm salve or ointment is also available over the counter.  The salve can be applied directly to an outbreak site to help sooth and heal any bothersome sores.  This is a great option for those of us who might not have the time to get super creative with the herb.

You can also buy a lemon balm (or Melissa) supplement at your vitamin store to get the herb into your daily intake.  This is a great alternative to eating the leaves with your food, and will also act as a herpes treatment for outbreak prevention.

Lemon balm/Melissa essential oils are also available. You can use the oil in the area that you usually experience outbreaks to potentially prevent them.  You can also use the oil for its relaxing and calming properties in times of stress to help control your immune system’s response to hectic times.

These are just some of the many creative uses I have found while researching the lemon balm herb and its effect on the herpes virus.  I for one am planning to experiment with each of them to find which remedy works best for my mind and body.  I hope you all do the same, and successfully find a healing outlet in the herb!

Resources:
Allahverdiyev, A., Duran, N., Ozguven, M., & Koltas, S. 2004. “Antiviral activity of the volatile oils of Melissa officinalis L. against Herpes simplex virus type-2.” Phytomedicine 11(7):657-661.

 

About Stephanie

Hi Everyone! My name is Stephanie.  I was diagnosed with HSV-2 in April of 2014 when I was 22 years old. Right now, almost three years later, I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at Purdue University. I recently completed my MA in sociology at the University of Northern Colorado where I explored the role of stigma in the process of disclosing a genital herpes diagnosis.  With that said, if anyone is interested in reading what I discovered in my project, I am happy to share that with you! I plan to continue advocating for our community, as well as studying the social factors that influence sexual health in order to understand how we can create a world that is easier for people diagnosed with STIs.  I really enjoy writing for the Pink Tent community and am excited to be able to share some of my experiences and thoughts about living with genital herpes with you all.