Self-care for Herpes

22/01/2013 SWH About Us

Self-care for Herpes at home:

Once you have genital herpes, you have it for life [source: NLM]. Luckily, it spends most of its life, and yours, dormant. But, like cold sores, genital herpes recurs, often up to four or five times a year. There are a few home remedies that can help you through an episode

1,Warm Bath

First on the list is a simple act that brings comfort to any ailing body: a warm bath.Soaking in a bath of warm water can alleviate the pain associated with the sores brought on by a bout of genital herpes [source: NLM].One caveat: Soaking in a tub promotes shedding of the virus, thus increasing the chance of spreading it. While a warm shower is a good alternative, you should take care to clean shower or tub if you share it with someone who doesn’t have the virus.Following a bath, make sure to dry the affected area thoroughly, as moisture prolongs symptomatic sores [source: NLM].

2,Soap and Warm Water.

Another home remedy for genital herpes, similar to No. 10, is consistent use of soap and warm water on the affected area [source: NLM].Keeping an area that’s covered with sores clean and free of infection is one step closer to healing the sores. Though herpes outbreaks are different for each person infected and involve a number of factors, mild disinfectants like soap are encouraged in every case.Run warm water through a cloth and apply soap directly to the area. This can have the same alleviating sensation as taking a warm bath without taking as much time.And like our previous remedy, remember to thoroughly dry off after washing down

3,Baking Soda/Cornstarch

Powders have long been used for their drying properties. Two such – baking soda and cornstarch — serve a variety of around-the-house purposes, from brushing teeth to drying out oily hair. They also work great on the sores that come from genital herpes [source: Grayson].Either remedy, both of which are common, inexpensive and available at your local supermarket, can be applied to open sores. The idea is to keep the area as dry as possible to promote faster healing Using a cotton ball, pat baking soda or cornstarch on the sores to dry them out and decrease itching.Though it should be common sense, just be careful not to double dip: You don’t want to contaminate the unused baking soda/cornstarch [source: Grayson].


The next home remedy on our list is a natural supplement found in vitamin and health food stores: lysine, or L-lysine.

Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning it’s needed for life but not naturally produced by the body [source: UMMC]. Most humans consume lysine through meat or legumes, but over-the-counter supplements are also widely available to increase that amount.

Though studies differ on its efficacy, lysine is thought to better prevent an outbreak than cure one. Regardless, it’s a home remedy that many people who suffer from herpes simplex virus Type I or Type II use [source: UMMC].

Note: Before taking lysine or any other dietary supplement, consult your physician [source: ASHA]. Lysine has been known to interact with some medications, and it’s generally not recommended in higher doses for people with kidney or liver disease.

5,Tea Bags
There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day or an ice-cold glass of tea in summer’s heat. But there’s also a little-known use for the tea bag that can help those suffering from genital herpes.

Placing a cold, wet black tea bag directly to the sores has been known as an alternative treatment to flare-ups. Some think the tannins found naturally in tea leaves are part of the secret [source: Grayson].

Regardless, heat water long enough to douse a tea bag, then cool it down immediately. Place the cooled tea bag right on the sores.

When finished, throw the bag away and dry the area thoroughly [source: ASHA].


One of the best ways to relieve pain and itching associated with an outbreak is one of nature’s most basic miracles: ice.

To reduce symptoms, apply ice to the affected area [source: Grayson]. Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice, wrapping the bag in material the thickness of a sheet. Apply for 10 or 15 minutes, and repeat several times a day. Make sure and discard any plastic bags after one use.

As a precaution, take care with the amount of time applied, because prolonged exposure to ice can cause tissue damage, not to mention the overall sensitivity of the genital area.


For pain relief and to promote healing, soak cotton balls in milk and apply to the area.

8,Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s and Don’ts for treating genital herpes at home:

  • Don’t depend on a condom to protect you or your partner. They help, but they may not cover the entire area. Viral shedding may also occur in the infected area, making the spread of the disease to a sexual partner easy, even if protection is used. Be sure to use a latex or vinyl condom between outbreaks.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting pants or underwear.
  • Shower, don’t soak in the tub. Shedding virus can escape into the water.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.


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