How do I Choose the Best over-The-Counter Herpes Treatment?

Meshell Powell

Herpes is a medical condition caused by a virus and can lead to the development of painful blisters. Some forms of herpes may be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected partner. An over-the-counter treatment is any type of medical treatment that does not require a prescription by a doctor. Over-the-counter herpes treatment options may include medications, lifestyle modifications, or herbal treatments. There is no actual cure for herpes, so any over-the-counter herpes treatment methods are aimed at reducing symptoms of the disease.

A blister caused by herpes type 1.
A blister caused by herpes type 1.

Over-the-counter herpes treatment options may include the use of pain relievers or topical preparations. Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help to ease the pain and discomfort when an outbreak occurs. Topical preparations such as creams, ointments, or gels may be useful in treating painful outbreaks as well. It is important to note that many of these products have not been FDA approved and may not be safe for all patients. It is important to discuss the benefits and risks of such treatment options with a doctor.

Cornstarch can be used on herpes sores to dry them up and relieve itching.
Cornstarch can be used on herpes sores to dry them up and relieve itching.

Lifestyle modifications may be considered as possible over-the-counter herpes treatment options, or these modifications can be used along with other treatment methods. Many patients report symptom relief when turning a hairdryer on the cool setting and holding it over the affected area for a few minutes at a time. Baking soda or cornstarch applied directly to the painful sores may help to relieve itching and dry up the sores more quickly. Epsom salt added to the bath water is a popular over-the-counter herpes treatment method and may help to dry out the sores and relieve itching. Wearing loose underwear can help to prevent friction against genital sores and may also prevent further skin irritation.

Epsom salt added to bath water can help dry out Herpes sores.
Epsom salt added to bath water can help dry out Herpes sores.

Emotional issues are commonly present among those who suffer from herpes. Stress-relieving measures are important over-the-counter herpes treatment choices. Herbal teas or calming herbs such as valerian root may help to relieve stress and promote restful sleep. Herbal treatments should be discussed with a doctor, as some herbs may interfere with the effectiveness of certain over-the-counter or prescription medications. Some patients may also benefit from learning relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.

Valerian root can be taken to help reduce the emotional stress of a herpes diagnosis.
Valerian root can be taken to help reduce the emotional stress of a herpes diagnosis.

Dietary changes can sometimes work as over-the-counter herpes treatment options. Foods that are high in acids may actually trigger outbreaks or cause current outbreaks to become more painful. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can help to lower the amount of acid in the body. Eating a healthy diet can improve overall health and make outbreaks easier to manage.

Topical creams can be used to treat herpes outbreaks.
Topical creams can be used to treat herpes outbreaks.

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