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Can You Get Rid of Herpes?

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Can You Get Rid of Herpes?

writtenByWritten by: Ryan Quinn
Ryan Quinn

Ryan Quinn

Ryan has a background in geochemical research and enjoys writing on technical subjects like health and science. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT and can be found recreating in the local mountains.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Reviewer

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

February 12, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

How Can You Get Rid of Herpes?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes simplex virus (HSV). However, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of herpes and reduce the number of outbreaks you experience. Various prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies are available to help prevent outbreaks and manage symptoms.

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Preventing Transmission of Herpes

The best way to avoid herpes symptoms is to not contract the virus in the first place. Herpes gets passed from one person to another via skin to skin contact. You cannot get herpes from surfaces e.g. toilet seats or clothes.

Can You Get Rid of Genital Herpes?

Although you cannot get rid of genital herpes completely, you practice safe sex habits to prevent the transmission of herpes to your partner. Contraceptives such as condoms and dental dams can help reduce the chance of transmitting or contracting genital herpes.

Keep in mind, since contraceptives do not cover 100% of the skin, they are not 100% effective at preventing transmission of herpes during sex.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “People with clinically manifest/apparent herpes genitalis and people who shed HSV asymptomatically can transmit the virus to their sexual partners. This almost always occurs via direct contact during sexual intercourse.”

You can still have a fulfilling sex life with herpes. To do so, avoid having sex during herpes outbreaks and wait until blisters completely heal before engaging in sexual activity. It is also just as important to communicate with your partner about the risks of herpes and what steps can be taken to limit the risk transmission.

Can You Get Rid of Oral Herpes?

Like genital herpes, oral herpes cannot be completely removed. In fact, many people who have oral herpes do not show any symptoms and may not even know they have it. This makes stopping the spread particularly difficult, because herpes can be transmitted when someone is not displaying any symptoms. 

The best way to avoid spreading oral herpes is to get tested frequently and communicate with your partner(s) about potential risk of exposure. If you do experience symptoms, avoid making skin to skin contact (e.g., kissing, sharing drinks) during outbreaks.

Preventing Outbreaks

If you do have herpes, there are many things you can do to avoid outbreaks. Various triggers contribute to herpes outbreaks for infected individuals. Such triggers can be environmental or physiological and often include:

  • Physical or emotional stress
  • Fatigue
  • Menstruation
  • Illness
  • Intercourse or friction from clothes
  • Weather (UV rays, cold, heat, or wind)

Prevention is an excellent approach to illness. Get good rest, work on reducing your stress levels, and keep a healthy immune system (diet, exercise, sleep, hygiene, etc.) to best avoid  herpes outbreaks.

The chances of a herpes outbreak can also be reduced with the help of prescription medications.

Prescription Medications For Herpes

Antiviral medications exist that can help treat the symptoms of herpes by:

  • Reducing the severity of symptoms
  • Helping sores and blisters heal quicker
  • Reducing the chances of having an outbreak
  • Reducing the chances of giving the virus to a partner

The most common antiviral medications prescribed for herpes are:

  • acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • famciclovir (Famvir)
  • valacyclovir (Valtrex).

If you think you might have herpes or have been exposed to herpes by a partner, book a PlushCare appointment now. Our virtual appointments make it easy for you to talk to a doctor and receive the medication you need.

With PlushCare, you’ll describe or show one of our doctors your symptoms, receive a diagnosis, and pick up your prescription at the pharmacy of your convenience.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

At-Home Treatments

There are also a handful of methods you can try at home that may ease discomfort caused by herpes. Note, these treatments should not serve as a replacement for prescribed medication. At-home remedies are best used in combination with your doctor’s treatment plan. Always wash your hands before and after handling your sores.

Some popular at-home treatments include:

  • Painkillers (e.g. acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen).
  • Icing the area(s) that are affected (or a cold compress). Wrap ice in flannel.
  • Getting sufficient rest.
  • Air circulation (wearing loose-fitting clothes to aid genital outbreaks).
  • Rinsing with warm saltwater.
  • Petroleum jelly or Vaseline can help with oral herpes and genital herpes

Read: Home Remedies for Herpes


Natural Remedies

  • Echinacea has anti-viral properties and may give the immune system a boost. Echinacea can be taken as a tea, juice, or pill.
  • Baking Soda may help get rid of sores sooner by facilitating wound healing and drying them out. Apply baking soda with a cotton ball.
  • Olive Oil can help soothe sores.
  • Epsom Salt Baths help dry the skin and relax the body.
  • Aloe Vera gel can help heal and soothe sores from herpes.

As always talk to a doctor before you try these remedies to make sure they are safe for you.

If you think you are experiencing a herpes outbreak or have been in contact with an infected person book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a herpes prescription today.

Read More About Herpes


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital Herpes. Accessed on February 7, 2021 at
https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/default.htm

Mayo Clinic. Cold Sore. Accessed on February 7, 2021 at
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20371017

Planned Parenthood. Oral and Genital Herpes. Accessed on February 7, 2021 at
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/herpes

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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