The trick to relieving herpes itching may involve using a combination of treatments that provide immediate relief and work to hasten the healing process. Genital herpes occurs in the genital region, while oral herpes affects the lips or the mucus membranes of the mouth; in either case similar symptoms occur. The infection generally presents with small red bumps that soon develop into blisters that then rupture into oozing, bleeding sores. Eventually these lesions will dry out and leave behind a crusty area that will heal. The itching associated with genital herpes often occurs before the bumps actually appear and can happen at all stages during the outbreak. Itching can often be relieved with medications, home remedies, and appropriate hygiene practices.
Medications for herpes itching can include prescription antiviral drugs such as acyclovir that may be prescribed for those with severe and frequent herpes outbreaks. Such antiviral medications work to dry up the blisters, which can lead to a reduction in pain and stop the itching as the lesions heal. These treatments may be found in capsules, tablets, and ointment forms. Ointments may be preferable for providing protection to genital sores to help relieve itching aggravated by dry blisters rubbing against the skin or clothing.
For treating the itching and burning pain associated with cold sores, ointments or creams containing camphor or phenol can be used to numb the area. Benzocaine, a topical anesthetic, may also be helpful for reducing inflammation in oral herpes. Aloe vera gel and red marine algae are just two examples of the many holistic alternatives also used by sufferers to help manage itching.
With genital herpes, it is important to keep the area properly cleaned and ventilated. Cool baths with baking soda can provide calming relief, while warm baths with Epsom salt can also stop herpes itching. Ice packs or compresses can be applied directly to lesions for a few minutes at a time until the itching begins to subside. Instead of using an ice pack, however, herpes itch relief may also be achieved through applying a black tea compress to the area. Black tea has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and a black tea bag can be applied cold or warm for comfort.
After bathing, take care to thoroughly dry the area; to avoid irritation, the use of scented soaps and body washes is often discouraged. As a means of preventing chaffing of the infected area, white cotton underwear can be worn. White cotton is dye-free, while the cotton material is soft, breathable, and offers greater moisture absorption than synthetic fibers, which can help keep the inflamed area drier. After washing, cornstarch can also be rubbed over infected areas to help dry out the sores and stop herpes itching. Loose-fitting pants or dresses are also usually recommended; the looser fit can prevent friction caused by tightly fitted garments that press and rub against the genital lesions.