How to Heal a Herpes Outbreak Quickly

Two Methods:Treating OutbreaksPreventing Future Outbreaks

Herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once the virus enters one’s body, it will always remain there by hiding in the nerve roots. When one’s immunity (the body’s ability to fight infection) is lowered, it will result in outbreak. Sores usually take about 1-2 weeks to heal, but there are some things that you can do to speed the healing process. Things like allowing your sores to be exposed to air, talking to your doctor about medications, and using ointments may help speed healing time. There are also some things that you can do to reduce and prevent outbreaks, such as reducing prolonged exposure to sunlight, reducing friction during sex, and managing stress.

Method 1
Treating Outbreaks

  1. 1
    Allow sores to be exposed to air. While it might seem like a good idea to cover up your sores with a bandage, bandaging sores actually slows healing. The best way to speed up healing time for your herpes sores is to allow them to be exposed to air and run their course.[1]
    • If you suffer from genital herpes, wear loose fitting clothing and underwear to increase air flow to your genital region.
  2. 2
    Leave your sores alone. Picking at sores can cause infections, which may further increase the amount of time that it take for your sores to heal. Stop yourself if you catch yourself picking at your sores. Leave them be and they will heal much faster.[2]
    • If your sores are itchy or burning, use some ice or a cold compress to help relieve these symptoms.
  3. 3
    Schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you suffer from frequent or occasional herpes outbreaks, you should talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Although there is no cure for herpes, there are medications that can make it easier to live with the condition. Some medications can shorten the severity and duration of outbreaks, while others may prevent and reduce the total number of outbreaks that you have.[3]
  4. 4
    Ask your doctor about antiviral medications. Antiviral drugs are intended to treat herpes at the first sign of an outbreak. Speak with your doctor about having a prescription written to have on hand in the event you have early symptoms of an outbreak and are unable to reach him/her. Acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are the most commonly prescribed antiviral medications.[4]
    • Follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medication as directed. Do not take more or less than your prescribed dosage.
  5. 5
    Talk to your doctor about topical ointments for sores. There are several different over the counter ointments for herpes, but you should consult your doctor before choosing one to use on your sores. If you have genital herpes, then you may need a prescription ointment.[5]
    • Consider using a propolis ointment. In one study, propolis ointment was found to be more effective than acyclovir ointment. People who used the propolis ointment four times a day reported that their sores healed faster than those who used acyclovir.[6]
  6. 6
    Follow up with your doctor to see how the treatment is working. After you have been taking an antiviral medication for a few months, it is a good idea to follow up with your doctor to determine if the treatment is working. If it is not producing the desired results, then your doctor may suggest a different course of treatment.[7]

Method 2
Preventing Future Outbreaks

  1. 1
    Reduce prolonged exposure to sunlight. If you suffer from oral herpes, you may be more likely to experience an outbreak after spending a long time in the sun.[8] You may be able to reduce your chances of developing an outbreak by reducing your exposure to direct sunlight.
    • Try staying in the shade or wearing a wide brimmed hat when you will be outside for long periods of time.
  2. 2
    Use a water based lubricant during sex. The friction produced during sex may trigger an outbreak. To reduce friction during sex, use a water based lubricant. Always wear condoms as well if you suffer from genital herpes or you may pass the condition on to your partner.
    • Do not use a lubricant that is oil based or that has the spermicide nonoxynol-9 listed in its ingredients. Oil based lubricants can weaken condoms and nonoxynol-9 can irritate mucous membranes.[9]
    • Avoid sex when you are having an outbreak. You are more likely to transmit herpes when you are having an outbreak so it is best to avoid intercourse altogether when sores are present.
  3. 3
    Find ways to manage your stress levels. Stress is a common cause of herpes outbreaks, so managing your stress is essential. Consider taking a yoga class, doing deep breathing exercises throughout your day, learning to meditate, or taking relaxing bubble baths on a regular basis. Find ways to relax and minimize your stress to help prevent outbreaks. Some other ways that you can reduce stress include:[10]
    • Getting more exercise. Exercise can help you to stay healthy and manage stress. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
    • Eating better. A well-balanced diet can help you to feel better and reduce stress. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid junk foods.
    • Sleep more. Sleep deprivation can contribute to excess stress. Make sure that you are getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
    • Stay connected. Reaching out to someone when you are feeling overwhelmed can also help reduce your stress levels. Call up a friend to talk to if you are feeling stressed.
  4. 4
    Look into adding lysine to your diet. Lysine is an amino acid that is used for preventing and treating cold sores.[11] Lysine acts by blocking the action of arginine (which increases the multiplication of the herpes virus). Lysine may be taken whenever you are having a herpes outbreak or prior to onset of symptoms.
    • Talk to your doctor before deciding to include Lysine as a supplement, especially if you have kidney disease or if you are pregnant or nursing.[12]
    • Follow the product instructions if you decide to include Lysine as a supplement.


  • Keep in mind that some unavoidable conditions may trigger an outbreak, such as surgery, severe illness, and even menstruation.[13]


  • Be careful to wash your hands frequently and not to share items such as silverware, cups, towels, and lip balms. Otherwise you risk infecting others.

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Categories: Infectious Diseases