Although there is currently no cure for the HSV-1 virus, some herpes treatments and home remedies can help relieve symptoms. However, such a viral infection can also be treated well with antiviral drugs. Cold sores, also known as oral herpes, primarily affect the mouth area and can often cause pain or itching. Here is some useful information and therapy options you can try at home.
Prevention and home remedies for herpes
There are two types of herpes simplex virus: herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause genital herpes, but only HSV-1 causes oral herpes. The drugs not only help relieve symptoms and shorten outbreaks, but can also be used to prevent recurrence. If you treat herpes properly, you also significantly reduce the risk of infecting others. The symptoms begin with tingling, then the edge of the lip or the corner of the mouth starts to burn. After this, the infection erupts, with a red sore appearing from the appearance of cold sores. A few days later, however, this breaks open and becomes encrusted. It should go away within 2 to 4 weeks.
As mentioned earlier, cold sores or cold sores are caused by a virus and there is no cure. However, if you experience symptoms, there are some treatments you can use to get rid of herpes faster, and you may not need medical attention. There are things you can do at home to ease the pain and make a cold sore look prettier while it heals. Anything from using essential oils to over-the-counter pain relievers could be an effective strategy. The most common variants are listed below.
Relieve pain and itching with cold or hot compresses
A hot or cold compress can relieve the pain and itching of such a lesion. The warmth around the lips can also prevent blisters from forming during an oral herpes infection. You can numb the pain if you also apply a cold compress to the wound. However, do not put ice directly on your skin as it can damage the area. It is also advisable to gently wash the area with salt water. Place a cloth-covered ice pack on the sores for 15 minutes several times a day to relieve pain. Keep the ice pack moving to avoid frostbite.
Also, avoid touching and scratching the sores. This can spread the infection to other areas of the skin. In addition, cold sores can become infected with bacteria if touched with dirty hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom or before using any medication. Stress can also increase your sensitivity to pain during a herpes outbreak. You can reduce stress by engaging in gentle exercise or practicing mind-body therapies such as meditation, yoga, and guided imagery.
To reduce the risk of spreading herpes, you should also avoid kissing and sharing objects that come in contact with saliva, such as drinking straws and eating utensils. It is also important to note that oral herpes can be transmitted to the genitals and genital herpes can be transmitted to the mouth. In order to reduce the risk of infection, it is therefore advisable to use the appropriate means of protection in the event of physical contact. Avoid such contacts when you are in an active state or sense an imminent outbreak.
Use propolis or honey as a home remedy for herpes
The use of bee resin in the treatment of oral herpes could be as effective as antiviral creams according to reviews. This is a resinous material made by bees from the buds of poplars and cones. It can be used like an ointment to treat cold sores. Additionally, medicinal kanuka honey, produced by bees in New Zealand, can be effective in treating cold sores, as can topical medications. However, it is unclear if the potential healing properties are unique to this type of honey or if they are present in every type of honey.
The potential effect of garlic against herpes
Garlic may also be known to have properties that counteract the activity of several viruses, including both types of HSV. For example, some study results suggest that allicin, a compound in garlic, may be effective against HSV. However, there is no clear evidence that garlic can cure herpes. However, the volatile organic sulfur compounds it contains could also cause burns. Therefore, you should not use raw garlic directly on your skin. So weigh the risk carefully when using garlic on your lips, nose, or around your eyes. If you experience irritation, you should discontinue use and wash the area thoroughly immediately. An alternative to this would be to eat fresh garlic and take garlic capsules.
Consume certain foods and vitamins for cold sores
Vitamin C and vitamin E have been shown to counteract cold sores by boosting the immune system during such a viral infection. Herpes infections are also more likely to occur if the affected person has low vitamin D levels. In addition, vitamin D can protect the body against infections and support the immune response. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E can reduce the stress that herpes puts on cells, reducing the risk of infection. There is also ongoing research on the antiviral properties of vitamin C. Retrospective studies suggest that oral vitamin C combined with antiviral treatment may reduce the recurrence of herpes simplex keratitis, a corneal infection caused by HSV.
As far as nutrition is concerned, you could, for example, use the consumption of pomegranate as a home remedy for herpes. This fruit contains zinc, which can help reduce herpes infections. Pomegranate also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system. Other dietary recommendations for herpes include:
- Increasing the intake of the amino acid lysine, although evidence of its effectiveness is mixed
- Avoidance of the amino acid arginine
- Avoid excessive smoking, consumption of red wine and caffeine
- Identifying and removing food products that cause allergies
Soy protein, peanuts, walnuts, and fish contain arginine, while avocados, chicken, cottage cheese, and pork are high in lysine. In addition, certain dietary supplements could be just as effective in fighting herpes. Taking a minimum of 1 gram of lysine per day, combined with an arginine-free diet, can help people manage symptoms. Some research has also shown that lemon balm extract can also help cold sores to get better. However, always consult a doctor before taking any dietary supplement. They may interact with other medications or cause adverse effects.
Essential oils and other home remedies for herpes
Using certain essential oils can reduce viral spread among HSV-1 cells. It also includes extracts from plants like thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary and wormwood, as well as compounds in clove oil and cinnamon and basil essential oil. You can dilute the oils in a carrier oil or massage them onto the skin without consuming them, as some are toxic and can cause harm. It is also important when using aromatherapy to think about other creatures in the area. Some essential oils are harmful to pets and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Using a carrier oil is important because the essential oil can have adverse effects if you apply it directly to the skin. In addition, carrier oils mostly contain almond oil and olive oil. Researchers are conducting clinical trials to test other potentially effective home remedies for herpes, including sesame oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil. However, there is still insufficient evidence that any specific oil can help a person manage cold sore symptoms. For example, laboratory studies suggest that seaweed extract can also inhibit the growth of HSV-2 in test tubes, but this has yet to be proven in humans.
Tips for medical treatment of herpes
Complementary and alternative therapies are sometimes used to treat oral or genital herpes, but there is little clinical evidence supporting their use. The key to successfully treating such a viral infection is timely response. The sooner you recognize the signs and start treatment, the shorter and less severe the outbreak is likely to be. For best results, begin treatment within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
When you are first exposed to the virus, you are likely to get cold sores. These usually go away on their own after a week or two. Then the virus lies dormant in your body and you may never have a cold sore again, but many people get it again. Some factors that make an outbreak more likely are a cold or other illness, fever, stress, too much sun exposure without sunscreen, and menstrual periods in women. In such cases, medications can also limit the chance of spreading the herpes virus and reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms. The most common drugs doctors prescribe for this purpose are called antivirals and include aciclovir, famciclovir, valaciclovir, and penciclovir.