Herpes: Causes and Prevention


Many people know the situation which occurs preferably before important appointments: In the area of the lips it tingles, tightens and itches, a short time later small, aching blisters bloom on the reddened skin. A few days later they burst and dry out. After mostly a few days, the spookiness is over, the crusts heal. Until the next attack – days to years later. How does lip herpes develop, what helps against the blisters on the lips and how can you prevent them?

Causes and triggers of herpes simplex

The disease is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 and type 2. The name herpes is borrowed from the Greek and means “to duck”, “sneak”: Quite fitting for the typical characteristic of the herpes virus to hide in the body – usually without symptoms – at the nerve roots after the initial infection.
Only in certain situations does it suddenly leave its hiding place, crawling along the nerve tracts back to the skin and mucous membrane and attacking the upper layers there. Triggers for this can be stress, disgust, sunlight or, for example, a cold.

Where can you get herpes?
The herpes virus – mainly as type 1 – mostly attacks the lips (herpes labialis, lip herpes), less the nose or nasal mucous membrane and rarely the eyes (herpes corneae), but can also – mainly as type 2 – cause symptoms in the area of the anus and genitals (genital herpes or genital herpes).
By the way: the herpes viruses are a large family that can also cause other diseases – for example chickenpox and its secondary infection, shingles.

Preventing herpes – 3 tips
The herpes virus occurs everywhere – it is therefore almost impossible to protect oneself from infection. In addition, most people are already infected in their childhood. However, a strong immune system probably ensures that the viruses are activated less frequently.

These tips help to prevent an outbreak of herpes:

* It is recommended to keep the immune system on its toes with zinc, selenium and vitamins C and E.
* Even with sufficient sleep, exercise and a healthy diet, you can support your immune system in its work.
* If you are sensitive to sunlight, it helps to protect your lips with a sunblocker before going outdoors – there are even lipsticks with balm extract.

Avoid infection with acute herpes
If you have blisters on your lips, take care not to spread the virus further. Your cutlery, plates and glass are taboo for others during this time, as are your toothbrush and towels. You should also avoid kissing for a few days.
All remedies should be applied with a cotton swab, not with your fingers – this reduces the risk of spreading the viruses to other parts of the body.