045: The Eggplant Outbreak! With Alexandra Harbushka

Outbreaks, Triggers and Dealing With It

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Life With Herpes Podcast

Welcome to episode 45 of Life With Herpes. I’m so thrilled to be here with you. It's amazing to me that wherever you are in the world we can connect through this podcast! This technology mind-boggling, thanks for being a part of it!


Today we're talking about my most recent outbreak, I have one right now as I'm recording this. I hadn't had one in forever, and I got one. I know exactly why and how I got it: it was a certain food that triggered it. Hear all the details on the 45th episode of Life With Herpes.



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We've talked about specific outbreak triggers before: some people I know have certain things that trigger an outbreak. I know people who will have an outbreak every time they eat peanuts, and other people who have an outbreak of HSV-1 from spending too much time in the sun.  

When I was on an anti-viral medication, I didn't have an outbreak for three years. I never had an issue with any foods. But when I went off my anti-viral my doctor told me to watch for triggers in my diet. He gave me a few of the common culprits, and eggplant was on it. I was so disappointed when I heard that because I love eggplant, and I eat it a few times a week!


So for a year I didn't have eggplant - even though I LOVE it! But I was meeting a friend for lunch and we went to Tender Greens (it's a farm to table cafe type place). Every day they have fresh seasonal veggies on the menu, when I was there I didn't look at the ones they had when I ordered a side of them.

As I sat down I was so excited to see eggplant on my plate! I did a quick scan of my body and felt good, I felt strong and healthy so I decided to have it. It was delicious!


Then that night we had a Blue Apron meal, one of the meal delivery services. Our delicious recipe that night had eggplant in it. I decided to eat it again, and see what would happen. I really didn’t think eggplant would be a problem, I mean it’s a vegetable and it’s healthy, right?!


I was wrong. It wasn't even 24 hours when I felt the telltale tingle signal of an outbreak coming on. And because I didn’t rest and take care of myself, I had an outbreak complete with a mild fever, swollen lymph nodes and general overall exhaustion.


Tweetable: “Eggplant is a common trigger for a herpes outbreak.” - Alexandra Harbushka



And having this outbreak reminded me that here are specific ways I properly care for my body so I don’t pass the virus on to any other part of me; I am extra careful with the affected areas. It's important to keep that area clean, something that is hard to do with genital herpes.

When you have a genital herpes outbreak it's important to clean that area after using the restroom or after getting sweaty. It's also critical to clean your hands after you have cleaned the areas with an outbreak because you can pass the virus to another part of your body if you do not clean your hands thoroughly. For example, you could pass HSV-2 to your mouth or even your eyes if you don't clean your hands well enough.

Here's my protocol when I have an outbreak or I feel one coming on: I clean my body in the shower. First, I clean my hands thoroughly and then I clean my face. Then I clean my body from top to bottom.


Then when my hair is clean and when everything else is clean, I clean my genitals with my bare hands and a lot of soap. I do that area last because I don't want to have any of the virus from my genitals to any other part of my body.

After, I clean my hands again with a lot of soap. I sing happy birthday to myself twice while I am washing my hands so I know they are as clean as possible. But if you only sing it once while you wash your hands with soap you will be fine! Ladies if you have long fingernails be sure to clean under your nails and get everything out of there.


I'm telling you all of this because I don't want you to be afraid to touch your genitals! All you have to do is be extra careful to wash your hands thoroughly during an outbreak, and watch where you put them. Do you have any special ways you care for your body when you have an outbreak? Does eggplant trigger an outbreak for you too? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you about this topic from episode 45 of Life With Herpes.

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