How To Treat Cold Sores
There are many that you can do at home to soothe the sting of a cold sore, such as:
Ice. You can numb the pain if you apply a cold compress to the sore. Donât put ice directly on your skin — that could damage it.
Pain relievers. When a cold sore really stings, you may get some relief from an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen.
Over-the-counter creams. There are products available at the drugstore that can help reduce the pain of a cold sore or help keep the skin soft while it heals.
Prescription drugs. Because cold sores are caused by a virus, doctors may suggest an antiviral medication to help you heal more quickly. The antiviral drugs used to treat cold sores include acyclovir , valacyclovir , famciclovir , and penciclovir .
Aloe vera gel. The same gel used for sunburn may help a cold sore to heal. Lab research has shown the gel may help fight viruses, including herpes simplex.
Lysine. This supplement may be used sometimes to treat cold sores. It comes in a cream or in capsule form.
Propolis. This is a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees. It may be used like an ointment to treat cold sores.
Lemon balm. Some research has shown that lemon balm extract can help cold sores get better, too.
Tea tree oil. Some research has shown that this strong-smelling oil helps a cold sore heal more quickly.
Can Genital Herpes Cause Other Problems
For most women, genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems.
Women with HIV can have severe herpes outbreaks that are long-lasting. Herpes also may play a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes sores can make it easier for HIV to get into your body. Also, herpes can make people who are HIV-positive more likely to spread the infection to someone else.
What Effects Does Herpes Have During Pregnancy
ItÃ¢s really important to speak to a healthcare worker if you have herpes during pregnancy, especially if itâs your first outbreak. If you have herpes thereâs a risk that your baby can develop Ã¢neonatal herpesÃ¢. This can be very dangerous or even fatal for your baby. Your healthcare provider will be able to prescribe antiviral treatment to keep your baby safe and help you have a healthy pregnancy.
Speak to a healthcare worker for more information or if you have any concerns.
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How To Relieve The Pain And Discomfort
You can make herpes sores dry up faster and stop the tingling and burning sensation by applying DermburoTM compresses for ten minutes, three to four times a day, as soon as the sores appear. When the sores have scabbed over, use a lip balm to prevent the discomfort of split and cracked lips and promote healing.
In the case of severe pain, you can take ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. Ibuprofen and naproxen are thought to be more effective, as they reduce inflammation. Generally, topical analgesics are not recommended to soothe the pain of sores. Their effect is short-lived, and prolonged use can trigger an allergic reaction. Its better to relieve the pain by applying an ice pack for a few minutes, as often as necessary.
How Can You Avoid Genital Herpes
Most women get genital herpes through sexual contactwith a person who has herpes sores. You can get thevirus without having sex. To avoid infection:
- Avoid skin-to-skin and sexual contact.
- Have safer sex:
- Reduce the number of sexual partners.
- Condoms, when used correctly, can reduce therisk of getting genital herpes. Each time you have sexuse a condom :
- Before vaginal sex
- Before oral sex
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What Is The Usual Treatment For Genital Herpes
The doctor may prescribe antiviral tablets to speed up healing and reduce the severity of a first episode. Aciclovir is the most commonly used antiviral drug for treating genital herpes. You dont need the tablets if the first episode is mild, or if you have almost recovered before you see the doctor.If you get more episodes later on, you will be less likely to be offered with antiviral tablets as outbreaks clear up without treatment.To prevent a recurrent outbreak with antiviral tablets, you need to start taking them within 24 hours of noticing the beginning of the outbreak. When you start after 24 hours, it is unlikely that the tablets will have much effect. This is why you should have a prescription or tablets ready, so that you can start to take them as soon as possible see dosing information below. Members can ask for our antiviral drug fact sheet see subscription form. And we offer self-help suggestions too.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Diagnosis usually involves observation of your oral condition or laboratory tests. Your doctor may look around the mouth or inside to look for typical signs. If he or she is not satisfied, you may be asked to get to the lab for tests which may include viral culture, DNA test or Tzanck test.
Patients who suspect have the cold sore on their lips should see a doctor.
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When Should You Call For Help
or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your symptoms are painful and you want to try antiviral medicine.
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from a cold sore.
- Pus draining from a cold sore.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- The cold sore does not heal in 7 to 10 days.
- You get cold sores often.
How To Use Lemon Balm On A Cold Sore
Apply topical lemon balm cream directly to a cold sore to reduce irritation and improve its appearance. Or, soak 2 to 4 teaspoons of a crushed lemon balm leaf in a cup of boiling water. Allow the lemon balm water to cool. Using a cotton swab, apply a small amount directly to lesions several times a day.
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Myth: People With Herpes Must Be Promiscuous
The reality of any STI is you dont need to sleep around to get infected. This is especially true for herpes, considering theres such a large population of asymptomatic carriers, says Dr. Dardik. While having more partners obviously increases your risk of any kind of any kind of sexually transmitted infection, the reverse doesnt always hold, she points out. In other words, all it takes is one partner.
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What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
How To Avoid Getting Genital Herpes
The most effective way to avoid getting genital herpes is to abstain entirely from sex, or to maintain an exclusive sexual relationship with a long term partner who has been tested for and found to be free of herpes.
You can avoid contracting herpes from a new sexual partner by always using a latex condom or latex dental dam. Cold sores on the mouth are also caused by a type of herpes virus, and you can contract genital herpes by receiving oral sex from someone who has or gets cold sores. You can also get cold sores on your mouth from giving oral sex to someone who has herpes.
Genital herpes is always contagious, even when symptoms arent present. Always use protection with a new partner, and make sure you and your partner both get tested for STDs, including genital herpes, before you begin a monogamous relationship. If you know your partner has genital herpes, avoid all sexual contact during an outbreak, and always use condoms or dental dams to protect yourself from contracting herpes during sexual contact with your infected partner.
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What Is The Prognosis For Oral Herpes Can They Be Cured
Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for herpes simplex virus. Avoiding risk factors, such as sunburn and stress, can help prevent additional outbreaks. Cold sores will usually heal within 2 weeks without treatment. However, there are established cold sore treatments available to help decrease healing time, reduce pain, and in specific cases, suppress the recurrence of the virus.
Cold sores, if they recur, are most likely to do so during the first year after infection. They usually resolve on their own within 1-2 weeks. After the initial outbreak, cold sores may never appear again, or appear only when something triggers them. Usually people with cold sores lead normal lives and are not terribly affected by them unless they happen to recur very often .
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How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore
Healthcare providers use oral and topical cold sore treatments to ease your pain, slow the growth and spread of the virus, and speed up healing.
There are three ways to use antivirals to fight cold sores, explained Dr. Brodell. One is to treat the virus at the first sign of recurrence using a course of oral or topical medication.
The second is “suppressive therapy,” meaning you take oral antiviral medicine every day to prevent outbreaks. “Let’s say you’re having outbreaks once a month, every time you get a menstrual cycle or every time you feel stress,” said Dr. Brodell. “You can give that person a vacation from having their outbreaks with suppressive therapy.”
This daily oral antiviral therapy “is the most effective treatment” to prevent outbreaks, Benjamin Barankin, MD, a Toronto-based dermatologist and medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre, told Health.
A third option is “intermittent suppressive therapy” for people who can predict their outbreaks. You might get a lip full of blisters every time you go on vacation to sunny Florida, for example. You know you’re headed for trouble next time you visit, but you don’t want it to ruin your getaway.
The solution: Have your healthcare provider prescribe an antiviral medicine that you can take for the week that you’re away. Few healthcare providers educate their patients about using suppressive therapy intermittently, said Dr. Brodell, despite the fact that “it absolutely works,” said Dr. Brodell.
How Can I Stop Cold Sores From Forming
So you nipped your last cold sore flare-up in the bud , and it lasted less than a week but here you are, just a few months later, and the cold sores are back. There’s good news, and then there’s bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.
“Once a person is infected with herpes simplex virus, he or she is infected for life,” says Dr. Brown. “After a cold sore heals, the virus isn’t actually cleared from your body. Instead, the virus travels back into your nerves, where it can lie dormant for long periods of time. When the virus reemerges, it typically does so in the same spot as before.”
So what triggers the virus to reactivate and cause a flare-up?
Dr. Brown says that a cold sore outbreak can be triggered by:
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How To Prevent Herpes
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Windham is a board certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Tennessee. She attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and completed her residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2010, where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, and Most Outstanding Resident Overall. This article has been viewed 259,261 times.
Herpes is an infection caused by two virus types, and it appears in two forms, as either oral or genital herpes. Many prevention tips are valuable for both oral and genital herpes, but the latter will be the primary focus of this article. By recognizing and treating symptoms, protecting yourself properly during sexual activity, and being honest and open with your partner, you can do a great deal towards preventing the spread of herpes either to or from yourself.
Care And Treatment Of Tongue Herpes
Herpes on the tongue typically doesnt require medical care, but the sores can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Taking Ibuprofen can relieve the pain and help reduce any fever or inflammation that might arise.
If needed, contact a medical or dental professional for further care. Ask your doctor to prescribe an anti-viral medication or a topical anesthetic like lidocaine to provide pain relief. And contact your dentist to ask about medicated rinses and about toothpaste ingredients to avoid.
If the pain is severe enough to interfere with eating and drinking, be careful to avoid dehydration. Sip cold water in tiny amounts throughout the day, or try using a straw for drinking enough fluids. Also, soft food or nutritious beverages, such as smoothies, might be on your menu until healing occurs. And, of course, avoid spicy or salty foods.
We sympathize with the pain, annoyance, and embarrassment herpes outbreaks can cause. But by giving yourself some tender loving care when an outbreak occurs, youll have the fortitude to ride it out until the healing starts. And you now have the information to be aware of triggers and early symptoms so you can seek treatment asap to minimize this viral infections effects and live your life to the fullest.
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
Genital herpes doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women with a diagnosis of herpes genitalis are recommended to start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent outbreaks during time of delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.
Early Stage Cold Sore Treatments
Though it is not always possible to avoid cold sores, people should aim to begin cold sore treatment as soon as symptoms develop. Treating a cold sore in its earliest stage can result in a smaller sore that heals quickly. In some cases, it may stop the cold sore from developing at all.
Below are some methods to help prevent a cold sore or minimize the outbreak.
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Recognize The Early Symptoms
You might not be able to stop an outbreak, but you might be able to reduce the severity and length of it. Many people have warning signs of an outbreak, including itching, tingling, genital pain, or shooting pain in the legs, hips, or buttocks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . These signs can occur hours or days before the outbreak, so knowing them gives you the chance to treat the outbreak before it happens.
How To Prevent Herpes Outbreak
Herpes is a viral infection. It has two main types, genital herpes and oral herpes. The virus that causes these infections is known as the herpes simplex virus. Both genital and oral herpes are sexually transmitted infections however, an individual can acquire oral herpes through non-sexual activities as well.
There are several methods that an individual can follow to prevent herpes infection. These methods inhibit outbreaks from happening if an infection has already occurred in the past. Some of these include using condoms, abstaining from unsafe sexual activities, and taking antiviral drugs.
Learn more about these approaches and how you can manage your condition to avoid recurrence of infection.
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Foods To Avoid During A Herpes Outbreak
If youre one of the millions of people who have herpes, youre constantly on the hunt to find ways to alleviate symptoms and avoid outbreaks. Outbreaks can be caused by many different things, but one of the most common culprits is stress.
If youre experiencing frequent outbreaks, some people say there are foods to avoid, certain activities to avoid, and even supplements to take that can help reduce stress and help keep outbreaks at bay.
But are there really foods that you should avoid in order to prevent herpes outbreaks?
The answer to that question is a little bit complicated. Some people believe that certain foods can actually trigger outbreaks, while others say that certain foods can help reduce symptoms and prevent outbreaks. Lets dive into the bulk of it!
What is a Trigger Behavior for Herpes?
When someone talks about a trigger, it means something that sets off an action or reaction. Triggers for herpes can be anything from thinking about the virus to being in the sun for too long, or even something as simple as smelling a particular scent. Its important to keep in mind that everyone is different, so what might be a trigger for one person might not be a trigger for another. Its always best to talk to a healthcare provider about what might be triggering your symptoms.
What Triggers Herpes Outbreaks?
However, some common triggers include:
Which Foods Should You Avoid During a Herpes Outbreak?
Foods High in Arginine