Herpes is an itchy and unpleasant virus. Although there is currently no cure, there are some natural homemade remedies that can help to alleviate the symptoms of the annoying blisters.
Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1), more commonly known as oral herpes, is an infection that affects the mouth and surrounding skin. Herpes causes sores and blisters which can be very itchy and painful. The virus is spread through oral contact, such as kissing, or sharing objects such as toothbrushes, with someone who is already infected. Herpes is very common, with a 2015-2016 study by the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention concluding that 47.8 percent of the US population between the ages of 14-49 have HSV-1.
The virus is not curable, so once you become infected there is not much that you can do. Stress, too much sunlight or a weakened immune system are some of the triggers that can cause a herpes outbreak. There are some natural, homemade remedies that you can use to help alleviate the symptoms.
Home Remedies For Herpes Outbreaks on the Lip
These natural remedies for herpes can help to alleviate the itchiness and pain that is caused by the blisters and cold sores.
- Topical garlic. Research suggests that garlic may have antiviral properties against the HSV-1 strain of herpes. Crush a clove of garlic, mix it with some olive oil and apply the mixture to blisters and sores up to three times a day.
- Cold compress. Applying a cold compress to the sores will help to reduce swelling. Never place ice directly on the skin, but instead wrap it in a clean, soft washcloth.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera is known to have wound accelerating properties, and you can apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the sores in order to help soothe itchiness.
- Take zinc supplements. Studies show that taking zinc supplements (30 milligrams per day) may reduce the amount of herpes outbreaks that you have each year.
- Baking soda paste. Dip a reusable cotton pad in baking soda and dab it on the sore. Baking soda can help to dry out the sores and reduce itchiness.
- Honey. A 2019 study has found that applying kanuka honey to sores can be as effective as applying antiviral creams, due to its potential healing properties. Using a reusable cotton pad, dab a little honey on the affected area.
Remember to wash the reusable cotton pad after use at a high temperature in order to kill all of the bacteria.
Important: If these home remedies no longer help, you can get advice from the pharmacy or your doctor on antiviral creams and medication that can help to further alleviate the symptoms of herpes on the lips.
How Can Herpes be Prevented?
As herpes is a virus, once you are infected the pathogens remain in your body for your lifetime. Cold sores and blisters are likely to recur if you have already been infected. Since herpes is spread through direct, physical contact, one of the best ways to prevent becoming infected with the virus is to avoid sharing any items that go into your mouth or touch your lips, such as cups, utensils, lip balm, toothbrushes, cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
If you are already infected, there are some changes that you can make in your everyday life to help prevent further outbreaks, or reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Having a healthy diet will help to boost your immune system and reduce the chance of an outbreak.
- Exercise. Keep active in your everyday life. Exercise will also help to elevate stress, which for some people can be a trigger.
- Wear sunscreen and SPF lip balm. Avoid getting sunburnt as this can make it more likely for cold sores to recur. Studies show that applying sunscreen is effective at reducing sunlight-induced herpes outbreaks. Shop sustainably by choosing a zero-waste, biodegrade sunscreen, that uses non-toxic ingredients that do not harm the ocean, such as zinc oxide. Sustainable sunscreens are available to buy on Amazon**.
- Practice daily stress management. Practice mindful activities in your daily life, such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga to help reduce your stress levels, as emotional stress is a common trigger for herpes outbreaks.
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