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Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection. When it does ignite, there are several medications that can relieve symptoms, and some are available for purchase online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that
This article looks at herpes treatments and home care techniques and when to consider testing.
Herpes is a
Oral herpes often results from an HSV-1 infection and can cause blisters or sores to form on or around the mouth. An HSV-2 infection often causes blisters and sores to form on or around the genitals. However, many people with herpes do not have any symptoms.
The virus cannot be transmitted from person to person through toilets, bedding, swimming pools, or common surfaces, such as counters or doorknobs.
There is no cure for herpes, but people should see a professional if they think they have it.
Anyone who has had oral, anal, or vaginal sex with someone who has herpes – without using a barrier method of protection, such as a condom – should contact a doctor. It is also a good idea if symptoms of herpes occur.
Herpes can cause blisters to form on or around the mouth or genitals. These blisters then break apart, forming open, painful sores that can take at least
Symptoms may go away on their own, and they may come back later, in what some people call “outbreaks” or “flare-ups”.
Once the virus enters the body, it never goes away completely. Some triggers that can cause herpes symptoms to come back include:
- UV light
- tobacco smoke
- friction in the genital area
- a weakened immune system
- a menstrual period
Doctors may prescribe any of the following antiviral drugs to help manage the symptoms of herpes. A person can also take measures at home to relieve symptoms, and these are described later in the article.
Please note, the author has not tested these products. All information is based on research.
Acyclovir (brand name Zovirax) usually comes as an oral tablet, but it is also available as a cream and drinkable liquid.
This is usually the first treatment for herpes. Doctors mainly prescribe it for genital herpes, but they also prescribe it for cold sores, chicken pox, and shingles, which result from infection with the herpes virus.
A person should start treatment as soon as they have symptoms and continue to use it for as long as their doctor recommends.
The best dosage varies from person to person, but expect to take it two to five times a day, depending on the doctor’s instructions.
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly before applying the cream version to the affected area.
Some side effects of this medication include:
The doctor will ask you about any kidney disease or allergy to the ingredients of the medicine before prescribing it. It may also not be suitable for people who are trying to conceive or who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Acyclovir is available at online pharmacies Flashing Health and Lemonaid.
Learn more about acyclovir here.
Famciclovir (brand name Famvir) comes in tablet form and can treat initial and recurrent outbreaks of oral and genital herpes, as well as shingles.
The dosage varies, but people usually take the tablets
The most common side effects are headache, nausea, and diarrhea.
Famciclovir is available to order in the online pharmacy Blink Health and as a treatment for cold sores Lemonaid.
Valacyclovir (brand name Valtrex) comes in tablet form. A person usually takes one pill
Doctors usually prescribe it for short-term use, although some people take it long-term. It is a good idea to discuss the duration of treatment with the doctor.
Some common side effects of this medication include:
Valacyclovir can be ordered online from Blink Santé pharmacy.
Home care techniques
There are some things a person can do at home to relieve herpes symptoms, but contact a doctor if these strategies are ineffective.
The UK’s National Health Service recommends:
- cleaning wounds and blisters with clean water or salt water to prevent infection
- applying an ice pack in a towel to the area to soothe any pain
- applying petroleum jelly to genital blisters before urinating
- keep a pitcher near the toilet and pour clean water on the genitals while urinating to reduce pain
Find more home remedies for herpes here.
See a doctor about any of the following symptoms:
- blisters that burst, leaving red, open sores in the genital area or anus, or around the thighs, buttocks, or mouth
- tingling or itching around the genitals
- pain while peeing
- unusual vaginal discharge
It is also a good idea to contact a healthcare professional after having oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has genital herpes if a barrier method of protection has not been used.
Using a condom or other barrier protection method during sex reduces the risk of transmitting the virus. It is also a good idea to avoid sharing sex toys with someone who has herpes.
Several online companies offer STI test kits, including:
- EverlyWell: This company sells tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and HIV.
- LetsGetChecked: This company sells tests for several common STIs and provides prescriptions at no additional cost if a test result is positive.
- STD Priority: This company returns the results within 3 days.
Anyone with a positive test result should contact a healthcare professional.
Learn more about STI home testing here.
There is no cure for herpes, but a variety of home care treatments and techniques can manage the symptoms.
Antiviral herpes medications are available by prescription and some online pharmacies offer them.