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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.

To Ease Your Symptoms

  • Take any medications as directed.

  • Take over-the-counter medications for pain, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.

  • Take warm baths to relieve itching of sores. Don’t share towels when you have a sore.

  • Women with genital herpes can urinate in a tub of warm water to prevent burning. 

  • 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. Wash your hands after you touch a sore.

  • Dry the affected area completely. Blow-drying the sores on low heat may help speed healing.

  • 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 and increase scarring.

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

For More Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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