008: Why An Outbreak Is Like Getting Your Period with Alexandra Harbushka

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Learning about a whole new world and how you and your herpes fit into it.


Welcome to Life With Herpes, I’m so glad you are here! Today we’re talking about being prepared for outbreaks and why it’s like what women go through with their monthly cycles. Gentlemen bear with me, this is relevant to you, too! On episode 8 of Life with Herpes I’ll share the whys and hows of preparing for outbreaks, plus some simple ways to take care of yourself before, during and after an outbreak. Join me to dig into those topics and more on today’s edition of Life With Herpes.


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I had this thought when I was in the shower recently (because that’s where I do my best thinking): an outbreak is like getting your period. I was remembering what it was like to have the puberty talk and to hear what it would be like to start my period.


I realized it was kind of like when you get herpes - once you get passed the angry, the why me and all of those feelings - you realize your life has changed. You now have to prepare for outbreaks, to know what to do to take care of yourself before, during, and after. Just like a woman, you have to track your cycles and be aware of your body and talk to your partner about what is happening with your body and your herpes virus.


And if you're on an anti-viral you now have to take pills and remember to take them daily or even twice a day, depending on the prescription you have. Some women have to take the pill every day to keep their menstrual cycle regular, and others take it for birth control.

You also have to be prepared if you are sexually active, you must use a condom every single time you have sex whether you have an outbreak or not.

Tweetable:  “Your life has changed: you have to be prepared for an outbreak.” - Alexandra Harbushka

Once you have the herpes virus you'll learn more about your body then you knew before you had it. You may find some foods cause outbreaks: some people have told me that whenever they eat peanuts or peanut butter they get an outbreak within a matter of hours!

For me, I know every time I travel internationally I get an outbreak. It’s the stress and the lack of sleep that goes along with travel that triggers my outbreaks - both things that trigger outbreaks for a lot of people so you’ll need to watch your stress levels and be sure you are resting and sleeping properly too.

These are all things you'll need to know and to be prepared for. I stay prepared by always carrying essential oils with me, I rub tea tree oil on the minute I feel an outbreak may be starting. Tea tree oil is something I’ve learned helps so I am always prepared.


But being prepared is something you can only do when you have gone through the initial shock/anger/sadness phase. If you are in that space and are feeling pissed off, scared, confused, etc the first thing to know is that it's natural to feel what you are feeling and completely understandable.

The next thing to know is something I created called a crisis toolkit. This is what I wish I had had when I was diagnosed, that’s why I have created it for you. If you want to know more about it go to my home page here after you listen to episode 8 of Life With Herpes.


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