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Warning: This STD can be spread from Tanning Beds

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Tanning has been frowned upon for years, but new research has found that tanning beds are worse than previously thought. Tanning beds can harbor dangerous viruses, such as herpes. Read more about the danger below.

Herpes is a highly contagious virus that affects a large number of adults in the United States each year. According to data from the Center for Disease Control, about one out of every six adults in the United States have genital herpes (HSV-2). Oral herpes (HSV-1), is even more common with an infection rate of 50 percent in US adults.

According to some studies, HSV-1 can transform into HSV-2 in some cases, indicating that HSV-1 infections can be nearly as dangerous as HSV-2.

While in the past, researchers believed that genital herpes (HSV-2) could only be transmitted through sexual contact, new research has shown that it is possible to contract HSV-2 from other means, including transmission from HSV-1 and even through surface contact with contaminated surfaces.

Of particular note is the contagion risk from tanning beds. Read more about this danger and how to prevent the virus from spreading below:

The Dangers of Tanning Beds

According to dermatologist research, tanning beds often harbor unhealthy bacteria and viruses. According to research, if a person with an active herpes virus uses a tanning bed, the virus can live on the bed even though UV radiation is present. The level of UV radiation in tanning beds is not strong enough to kill the herpes virus.

In fact, dermatologists have determined that the heat from tanning beds may actually cause the herpes virus to spread and grow. Herpes is not the only risk from tanning beds. Infections such as staph infections, warts, and impetigo can also be transmitted through tanning beds.

According to an article by CBS News, tanning locations licensed through the state or city are more likely to be clean and sanitized.

Prevent Herpes Infection from Tanning Beds

There are three ways to avoid spreading herpes infection at tanning beds. If you have herpes, do not visit a tanning bed during an active outbreak. If you do not currently have herpes, only visit licensed and certified tanning companies and make sure to wipe down the tanning bed with a disinfecting cleaner before using the bed.

The best option to avoid the spread of herpes is to avoid tanning beds altogether. Dermatologists also warn that in some cases, the light and cleaners used in tanning beds can cause bacteria and viruses that are resistant to standard cleaners. Over time, if some of the virus is wiped out, but not all, the remaining virus is stronger and much harder to kill.

Symptoms of Herpes Infection

Herpes is often thought of as a sexually-transmitted disease, but there are other ways to become infected by the virus. Using a tanning bed is a high-risk practice for becoming infected with herpes and other bacterial or viral infections. If you note the following symptoms after visiting a tanning bed, you may have contracted herpes:

Herpes Symptoms
  • Small blisters that leave open sores behind.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Pain while urinating.
  • A general ill feeling, including muscle aches and flu-like symptoms.

It may be possible to have only a few herpes symptoms at a time, which can make spreading the virus easier. Someone infected by the virus may not even realize they have genital herpes.

What Causes Herpes Outbreaks?

Existing HSV-2 is triggered by a variety of conditions. The virus is always present in the body, but most of the time, the body is able to prevent outbreaks. However, certain triggers can cause outbreaks ranging from mild to severe. Common triggers include:

HSV-2 Triggers 
  • Stress
  • Binge drinking
  • Exposure to UV light (such as in a tanning bed)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Illness
  • Poor diet

Prevent the Spread of Herpes

Individuals with herpes can prevent the spread of herpes by taking care to reduce the number of outbreaks seen each year. While it is possible to spread the virus even without an active outbreak, it is less likely that the virus will spread to others if no active infection is present. Herpes outbreaks can be reduced by making the following changes:

Remove Stress

Stress is a huge trigger from both HSV-1 and HSV-2. When the body is stressed, the immune system is compromised, leading to painful herpes outbreaks. Remove as much stress as possible using the following methods:


Exercise is a huge stress reliever. Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. The type of exercise is not as important as the consistency and the amount of effort put in. Make exercise a priority and you will see an improvement in your overall health.

Practice Stress Relief

Stress builds up over time, which damages the immune system. Try to have targeted relaxation each day before bedtime, with practices such as yoga, meditation or prayer, warm baths, hot beverages, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Avoid stimulating activities like exercise, watching TV, or checking e-mail right before bed. These can push stress levels high, interfering with peaceful sleep.

Sleep Well

Sleep is important for reducing stress levels. Try to have a set sleep and wake time each day to regulate your biological clock. Remove blue lights from the bedroom, which can interfere with healthy sleep patterns. Do not use electronics in the bedroom. Keep the room as cool and dark as possible to promote healthy, restful sleep. Going outside in the sunlight around sunrise, noon, and sunset can also help regulate your sleep cycle.

Eat a Healthy Diet

What you eat is important for building the immune system. You don’t have to make drastic diet changes to see results. Just try to exchange unhealthy foods with healthy foods. Eat vegetables and fruit with every meal. Avoid fried foods and trans fats. Eat protein from healthy sources, such as pasture-raised animals and wild-caught fish. Reduce sugar consumption as much as possible by avoiding sugary drinks and foods with added sugars. A diet with 9 or fewer teaspoons of sugar daily can make a huge difference in your overall health.

Build the Immune System

A few herbs and vitamins have been shown to be effective at boosting the immune system and specifically healing or preventing the spread of the herpes virus. Try adding the following supplements to your supplement routine:

Vitamin A and E: These two vitamins are essential for immune system health. Studies show that individuals with reduced levels of these vitamins are more likely to spread the virus and have stronger infections.

Zinc: Zinc is highly effective at boosting the immune system. Zinc supplements given to patients with herpes infections found that the number of episodes and the recovery time from outbreaks were reduced.

Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is a strong anti-viral herb with many uses. In studies, lemon balm was shown to reduce the replication of the HSV virus (both HSV-1 and HSV-2). Oral supplementation and topical application during outbreaks can help heal and prevent the spread of herpes.

Olive leaf: Olive leaf is also a strong anti-viral and can cause a reduction in herpes symptoms as well as the spread of herpes.

Propolis Extract: Propolis comes from beehives and contains flavonoids that can fight the spread of the herpes virus. Studies show that propolis may work by adhering to viral host cells and preventing the spread of the virus. In one study, propolis worked better than acyclovir and placebo ointments in healing genital herpes infections.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are a breeding ground for herpes and other infections. In addition to the possibility of transmitting the virus to others, the UV light in tanning beds may also trigger outbreaks in a person already infected with the virus. The safest option is to avoid tanning beds altogether.

Sunlight is much healthier for the body than synthetic UV radiation. A healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun can help improve the immune system, which may help reduce the chances of a herpes outbreak.

Protocol for Herpes Outbreaks

When you do have an outbreak, take special care to treat the outbreak and prevent further spread of the virus. Avoid all forms of sexual contact and actions such as kissing, sweating, and other exchanges of body fluids to protect your loved ones. Use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain during an outbreak. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and take frequent showers. Drink plenty of water and avoid touching the sores to prevent transmission of the virus. Use a topical cream containing olive leaf extract or lemon balm to soothe and heal the sores. Both materials contain antiviral ingredients that will speed the healing process.

Stop Tanning-Related Herpes Infections

Tanning beds are a serious risk for the spread of the herpes virus. Today, herpes is spreading faster than ever before, making it even more important to reduce risk. Individuals without herpes infections should take care that tanning beds used are clean and licensed with local government to reduce infection risk. Individuals with herpes should avoid the use of tanning beds altogether to reduce the risk of infecting others and to reduce the chances of seeing another outbreak.

Tanning beds trigger herpes outbreaks, which is a serious health risk for individuals with any form of the HSV virus and for individuals not infected by the virus. You can reduce your risk by taking immune-boosting supplements, reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, and caring for outbreaks as they occur. These steps will reduce the risk of spreading herpes to others and reduce the number of outbreaks seen each year.





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