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Herpes simplex: Tips for managing


There are things you can do at home to help manage herpes sores.

Relieve discomfort

The following can help:

  • Apply medicine that you can buy without a prescription, such as benzocaine and L-lysine, to the blisters

  • Put ice on the blisters

  • Avoid things that could trigger another outbreak, such as stress and getting a sunburn

How to treat cold sores

There are things you can do at home to help manage cold sores. Watch this video to learn how to relive discomfort and avoid spreading the virus.

Avoid spreading the virus

The following may reduce the risk of spreading the herpes simplex virus:

Oral herpes (herpes simplex type 1)

If you have sores on your face:

  • Do not kiss anyone

  • Do not have oral sex

  • Do not share items such as silverware, cups, towels, and lip balms

If you have tingling, burning, itching, or tenderness where you had a herpes sore, keep that area of your body away from others.

You can prevent spreading the sores to other parts of your body by:

  • Washing your hands after touching a cold sore.

  • Using a cotton-tip swab to apply herpes medicine to a cold sore also helps.

Genital herpes (herpes simplex type 2)

When you have sores or symptoms do not have sex with uninfected partners.

  • If you do not have sores or symptoms, use a latex condom to lower the risk of spreading the virus. You should know that even with a condom, it is possible to spread the virus if it lies on nearby skin that the condom does not cover.

  • If you are pregnant tell your doctor if you or your partner has genital herpes. You may need to take medicine at the end of your pregnancy to prevent passing the virus to your baby.

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