As of 2007, there is no cure or prevention vaccine for the herpes simplex virus or HSV. There are medical treatments out there that were created to help with the symptoms of herpetic outbreaks.
Medical Treatments for HSV
There are topical over the counter treatments that help with relief from symptoms, but they don't decrease healing time. Most of these medications contain benzocaine, lidocaine or dibucaine. They help with relief of burning, itching and pain. These over the counter topical drugs only last for short periods of time, usually between 20 to 30 minutes. Topical steroids should be avoided. Most of these medications cause side effects such as rashes and itching.
Prescription Treatments for HSV
Stronger topical prescriptions medications are also available. The ones containing penciclovir or acyclovir supposedly reduce healing time by half a day and relieve pain caused by the lesion. Topical treatments are limited in how effective they are because its poor penetration through the area affected with the replication of the HSV, so its ability to heal is restricted. Dosages vary by product.
Oral Treatments for HSV
These have been known to decrease the length of outbreaks, especially when taken during the prodrome phase (where you feel the symptoms of the blisters before the outbreak occurs). There are various side effects such as headache, nausea and diarrhea.
Other Treatment Options
Supplements including lysine, citrus bioflavonoids, lactobacillus acidophilus, bulgaricus and vitamins C, E and B12 have the potential to treat symptoms of HSV, but have yet to be proven. At the moment they are not recommended.
Sunlight and Herpes
If you have contracted the herpes simplex virus, you should use sun block during outbreaks to keep the blisters to prevent them from cracking. Sunscreen can also help to prevent additional outbreaks.
Natural Homely Remedies
You can do non-drug therapy such as frequently washing your hands. This can help lower the chances of spreading the virus and infection in the lesion. Use light lubricants to keep the skin lesions moist and to reduce pain. Avoid getting sunburn or becoming stressed, these too can cause the herpes simplex virus to flare-up. You can also follow these advices to prevent herpes outbreaks and the spreading of the virus:
- Drink lots of water
- Keep your hygiene up. You should avoid touching the sores and should wash your hands and scrub your fingernails throughout the day. Keep your body cleansed as well.
- Depending on the person, you may want to keep the blisters dry. Some say they feel relief after using a blow dryer on the cool setting. Keep the blisters clean and dry with cornstarch or a similar product.
- Don't wear tight clothing. When air is restricted to the sores, the healing process will be slowed.
- Use ice packs on the areas of infection. This can help alleviate the pain.
- Lukewarm baths are best. (Those who suffer pain while urinating are recommended to urinate at the end of bath time. This will prevent burning on the sores. Or you can do the same in a cool shower.
- Sun block can prevent recurrences of HSV-1, which is triggered by the sun. HSV-1 is a type one form of herpes and form blisters above the waist.
- Avoid sex during outbreaks and prodrome (itching, burning or tenderness in the affected area before the outbreak occurs).