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Treatment and Remedies for Herpes

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  • There are still ways that you can relieve pain and prevent future symptoms and infections from becoming severe
  • Follow the dosages prescribed by your physician as well to prevent negative side effects

Unfortunately, neither oral nor genital herpes can be cured, but this doesn’t mean you have to be subject to the pain of the infection for life. There are ways that you can relieve pain and prevent future symptoms and infections from becoming severe.

It’s important to consult a physician if you notice herpes symptoms, so you can get the right course of treatment for your case. Be sure to follow the dosages prescribed by your physician as doing so will help prevent negative side effects.

Common Treatment Protocols for Herpes Patients

These antiviral medications are usually prescribed to herpes patients by physicians: acyclovir (Zocirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex) or famciclovir (Famvir).1 For genital herpes patients, these three medicines can be used for two types of treatment:2

Your physician can also recommend over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) or aspirin to treat the fever that may come with herpes.3 However, be warned that these drugs come with a host of unpleasant side effects.

Acetaminophen, usually sold under the name Tylenol, has been associated with thousands of calls to Poison Control Centers and 150 deaths per year. Taking doses higher than the prescribed amounts has also resulted in numerous overdoses. This medicine can even affect your brain, as studies have shown that acetaminophen:

Decreased error recognition

Prompted study participants to make more errors

Lessened response to social rejection in brain regions linked with social and physical pain

Weakened emotional feedback to situations that are both negative and positive

Influenced the thinking process that people use to make moral judgments

Inhibited distress associated with abstract concepts

Meanwhile, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin have harmful side effects as well. Research has shown that NSAIDs lead to:

Stomach upsets

Nausea

Vomiting

Cardiovascular problems

Gastrointestinal bleeding

Kidney problems

Hypertension

Death

Topical ointments may also be suggested for oral herpes patients. These include penciclovir (Denavir), acyclovir cream (Zovirax) and docosanol cream (Abreva). Do take note that none of these can eliminate the herpes virus; they merely reduce symptom duration and healing time. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics may also be recommended by your physician to provide slight pain relief. Some examples include:4

Anbesol gel

Blistex lip ointment

Camphophenique

Herpecin-L

Viractin

Zilactin

Natural and Herbal Treatments Are the Way to Go

Natural herbs and supplements may help alleviate the pain caused by herpes, but without the additional health risks. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with herpes, these supplements might help them cope with this disease:5,6

Echinacea:7 It provides relief for pain and inflammation, contains antiviral and antioxidant properties and effectively treats slow-healing wounds.

Propolis: A bee-derived resin that’s high in antioxidants, it can assist in fighting infections and enhancing immune system function.

Different studies have highlighted its efficiency in preventing the reproduction of the HSV-1 and the HSV-2 viruses, treating lesions or sores faster than other ointments, and lessening the time and pain cold sores stay on patients. However, if you have asthma or are allergic to bee products, do not use this.

Lysine: Taking lysine supplements speeds up recovery and lessens your risk of having future herpes outbreaks. Research has also shown that lysine could decrease the amount of recurring outbreaks of cold sores.

People who have high cholesterol or triglyceride levels and/or heart disease should consult a physician before taking lysine. Animal studies have linked lysine to increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Moreover, high doses of calcium should also be avoided as lysine is able to raise calcium absorption in your body.

Zinc: Test tube studies have proven that zinc is potent against HSV-1 and HSV-2. Zinc oxide cream applied to cold sores made them heal faster. Like lysine, consult a physician on the ideal amount of zinc that you should take, as high amounts of it can lead to an overdose.

If you want to try herbal treatments instead, here are some of the best choices for herpes patients:8

Lemon balm:9 A member of the mint family, lemon balm treats cold sores when it’s added to a topical ointment, although it cannot heal pain and scabbing. Other studies have also found that lemon balm may help prevent future herpes outbreaks and decrease the healing time for sores caused by herpes.

Aloe vera: Its antioxidant properties and inflammation-lowering properties10 can be useful in treating herpes. Male patients who applied aloe vera cream on genital herpes sores reported faster healing time.

Siberian ginseng: More studies still have to be conducted on the impact of Siberian ginseng, although a six-month study recorded that it helped lower frequency, severity and duration of herpes outbreaks.

Siberian ginseng is associated with many side effects, however, so consult a physician first. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take Siberian ginseng, as well as people who have the following conditions:

High blood pressure levels

Heart conditions

Diabetes

Sleep apnea

Hormone-related cancer like breast, ovarian or uterine cancer

Narcolepsy

Mania


While they’re not well-known compared to some of the referenced over-the-counter medicines or some of the herbs or supplements mentioned, herpes patients can also give homeopathic remedies a try:11

Oral HerpesGenital HerpesBoth Oral and Genital Herpes
Thus toxicodendron (rhus tox or poison ivy)12Graphites (powdered form of pure graphite, a mineral in the form of carbon)13Sepia (comes from cuttlefish ink)15

Petroleum (purified crude oil)14Natrum muriaticum (sodium chloride or table salt)16

Simple Tips and Tricks to Relieve Pain-Causing Herpes

Certain household items, some of which may already be in your home, may also help in lessening the discomfort:17,18,19

There are also habits that you should incorporate into your lifestyle, especially if you or someone you know is diagnosed with herpes:21,22,23

MORE ABOUT HERPES

Herpes: Introduction

What Is Herpes?

Herpes Types

Herpes Causes

Herpes Stages

Herpes Symptoms

Herpes Prevention

Herpes Diagnosis

Herpes Treatment

Living With Herpes

Herpes FAQ


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[+] Sources and References [-] Sources and References

  • 1 “Genital Herpes In-Depth Report,” The New York Times
  • 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11 Ehrlich, “Herpes Simplex Vvirus,” University of Maryland Medical Center, September 29, 2015
  • 7 Ehrlich and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team, “Echinacea,” University of Maryland Medical Center, February 2, 2016
  • 9 Ehrlich, “Lemon balm,” University of Maryland Medical Center, January 2, 2015
  • 10 Pravel, “Aloe and Herpes,” Progressive Health
  • 12 Stang and Krucik, “Rhus Toxicodendron,” Healthline, June 20, 2013
  • 13 “Graphites,” Herbs2000
  • 14 “Petroleum/Petr,” Home Remedy Central
  • 15 Malevris, “Sepia: Homeopathy’s Wise Woman,” Vitality Magazine
  • 16 illey, “Nat Mur,” British Homeopathic Association
  • 17 “Genital herpes — Treatment,” NHS Choices, August 22, 2014
  • 18 “Home Remedies for Herpes,” Top 10 Home Remedies
  • 19, 21, 22, 23 “15 Effective Home Remedies for Herpes, “MyHealthTips, September 4, 2013
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