Herpes: Caring for Sores

Good hygiene matters when you have herpes. Take care of your sores to speed healing. Neglected sores can lead to other infections.

Woman preparing her bath water.

To ease your symptoms

  • Take any medications as directed.

  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.

  • Take warm or cool baths to relieve itching of sores. And don’t share towels when you have a sore.

  • Urinate in a tub of warm water to prevent burning. This works for women with genital herpes.

  • Don’t wear tight clothes or nylon underwear. They can trap moisture, cause chafing, and prevent sores from healing.

To speed healing

  • Wash the sores with mild soap and water. And wash your hands after you touch a sore.

  • Dry the affected area completely.

  • Don’t bandage sores. The dry air helps them heal.

  • Avoid ointments unless they are prescribed. They retain moisture and may cause other infections.

  • Don’t pick at the sores. This can slow healing.

  • Don’t touch your eyes when you have a sore. The virus may travel from your fingertips to your eyes.

Resources

American Social Health Association STD Hotline  919-361-8488  www.ashastd.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  800-232-4636  www.cdc.gov/std



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