important. Avoid touching the sores. Wash hands frequently
during the day. Fingernails should be scrubbed daily. Keep the
body clean. Wash hands with soap and water after toileting. Soap
kills the virus and helps prevent spreading it.
such as Burrow's solution, and cornstarch speeds the drying of
lesions by absorbing excess moisture. Use: dissolve drying
agents in water, using directions on the package. A good method
is to use a sitz bath (a small amount of water used to soak the
genital area only vs. the whole body). Sprinkle corn starch
lightly over the genitals. Precautions: soaking too often or too
long may make the outbreak worse. Two 15 minute soaks a day is
probably enough. Special sitz bath tubs are also available - new
mothers with sore stitches and people with hemorrhoids also buy
these tubs so you need not feel conspicuous. Note: a total warm
bath may help lesions feel better, and be relaxing, in general.
Bubble bath, however, may be irritating.
find Aveeno Oatmeal bath in warm water (1 packet per 3 inches of
water) to help soothe lesions. Some actually make a paste with
it and apply it to lesions for about an hour then wash off.
of water. This dilutes urine and makes peeing more comfortable
and dilutes medicines in the kidneys.
sores should be kept clean and dry with an agent such as
cornstarch. (Talcum power should never be used because of its
association with an increased risk for ovarian cancer).
report that drying the genital area with a blow dryer on the
cool setting or warm offers relief. It also helps keep the
lesions dry which speeds healing.
clothing, cotton underwear allows air to circulate more freely
around the genitals. This speeds drying of the lesions, and
reduces chaffing. Synthetic fabrics don't "breathe" well. Women:
use pantyhose with cotton crotches, when possible. Better yet,
wear long skirts with no panties.
application of ice packs may alleviate the pain and help reduce
recurrences by suppressing the virus. One may have
difficulty picturing the scenario of ice applied to the
genitals. However, it is not difficult. An ice pack can be made
by placing some cracked ice in a plastic bag, tying it off
tightly, and wrapping it in a thin towel. This can then be
placed inside the underwear to hold it in place. Oral outbreaks
may also be helped by ice.
may be helpful. (For people who have pain in urination, some
experts recommend urinating in the bath water at the end of the
bathing time. This dilutes the urine and prevents burning the
sores. Urinating in a cool shower is also helpful and is less
offensive to many people).
people report using a squeeze bottle with the straw aimed
between the legs and toward the genital region and gently
squeezed while urinating relieves pain. Some prefer warm water,
some prefer cool. Other methods of pouring water over the area
block helps prevent sun-triggered recurrence of HSV-1.
Sex should be
avoided both during the outbreaks and the prodromes (the early
symptoms of herpes), which include tingling, itching, or
tenderness in the infected areas.
Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Datril,
Panadol, Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin),
can be used to reduce fever and local tenderness. Children
should take acetaminophen; they should never be given aspirin.
If this is not strong enough, call your doctor for possible
prescription pain relief.
contain anesthetic (pain killing) agents: spray is applied to
the skin, the nerve endings it touches will be temporarily
numbed. These same products are sold to relieve pain of sunburn,
hemorrhoids, and other skin problems that produce pain. Using a
spray makes it possible to avoid touching the lesions, vs. using
Availability: can be found in drugstores and grocery stores.
These products generally contain an active ingredient ending in
caine (e.g, xylocaine, procaine, etc.) Ask the pharmacist for
guidance in choosing a product if you are having trouble.
acid found in black teas has been found to be useful in reducing
itching and pain. Loose tea can be put in the bath, or a moist
tea bag can be placed against the lesion (it also helps a
sunburn feel better).
found in many health food and alternative stores and online
speeds healing. tea tree oil is helpful to some, but it does
Quick Facts about herpes:
l in 4 adult females and 1 in 5
adult males have genital herpes.
Ninety percent of people with genital
herpes do not know they have it.
Thirty percent of new cases of genital herpes
are type 1, likely from the increase in oral sex.
There is a "window of
opportunity" for being diagnosed by culture. This lasts only about 48 hours
from the time your lesion appears. Thereafter, there is a 50% chance of a
false-negative culture, requiring further testing for an accurate diagnosis.
Once you have herpes you are legally
and morally obligated to tell future and potential partners.
You do not have to tell everyone you
know you have herpes. Perhaps a family member or trusted friend would be
helpful, though. With
future partners, it is best to get to know them well enough to know you can trust them with this personal information before telling them.
You can get genital herpes
by receiving oral sex from someone with cold sores, even if they are not
broken out at the time.
Herpes can be carried for many years
and passed along without the infected person knowing it or having any symptoms.
Ninety percent of those with genital herpes do not know they have it.
People who have herpes shed virus on their skin. This virus on the skin
can infect someone else if they come in contact with it, even if the person who
is shedding does or does not know they have herpes, nobody knows when they shed
Shedding occurs from before an outbreak
until it is completely healed. You are most contagious during an
When you first get herpes you can spread it on
your own body until you have enough antibodies to protect you. Handwashing with
soap is very
important in preventing this.
Shedding of virus (Also called
Asymptomatic Shedding or Sub-Clinical Shedding) occurs with no symptoms,
so eventhough we are not always contagious, we do not know for sure when
we are having asymptomatic shedding and it can be passed to someone else
during that time.
When you have genital herpes you
can shed virus from the entire "boxer shorts" area, not just the
genitals and not just the area that is broken out. Though shedding is
greater in ano-genital areas, it has been found on the hip and buttocks.
Asymptomatic shedding occurs about 2 weeks out of the year, after the
first year. Shedding is most frequent during the first 3-6 months after
someone is infected with the virus.
Yes, there is sex after herpes. Partners get
protection from Latex or polyurethane condoms but not complete because they do not cover the
entire genital area. Suppressive Therapy (daily antiviral medication)
decreases viral shedding by 80-95%. Honesty + condoms + suppressive therapy
greatly reduces the chances of transferring the virus to an un-infected partner.
HSV-1 prefers the oral area but
can infect the genital area, HSV-2 prefers the genitals but can infect
the oral area. Each tends to be milder away from it's site of preference.
Using Aveeno Oatmeal Bath and Keeping the area
dry really helps me. Use a blow dryer and wear loose fitting shorts, warm-ups or
a skirt to allow the lesions to dry out, since being dry speeds healing.
Burrows Solution (calcium acetate for soaking
helps relieve symptoms and dry sores)
Dermoplast Spray helps locally to relieve
In a national multi-center study, among monogamous couples where one was infected with herpes and one wasn't, when taking daily suppressive therapy
The yearly transmission rate is 11% male to
female if sex is avoided during symptomatic times and outbreaks, the yearly
transmission rate female to male under the same circumstances is 3%. This is cut
in half by suppressive (daily) Valtrex.