Chapter 18: Sexually transmitted infections
There is no cure for herpes but there are some ways to make the
sores feel a little better:
• Put ice on the sore as soon as you feel it. This may stop
the sore from getting worse.
• Soak a cloth in cooled black tea or tea made of
cloves. Hold the wet cloth on the sores.
• Sit in a pan or bath of clean cool water.
• Make a paste by mixing baking soda or
cornstarch with water and put it on the sore area.
• Apply witch hazel or a local plant that makes the skin dry.
The pain and sores of a first outbreak can be lessened with medicines.
For a first herpes outbreak
• give 400 mg acyclovir ���������������������������������������by mouth, 3 times a day for 7 to 10 days
For continuing herpes outbreaks
• give 400 mg acyclovir ������������������������������������by mouth, 3 times a day for 5 days
For a woman with more than 6 herpes outbreaks a year
• give 400 mg acyclovir ������������������������������������by mouth, 2 times every day for 1 year.
Then stop and see if the medicine is still needed.
For a pregnant woman who has had herpes outbreaks in the past,
• give 400 mg acyclovir ������������������������������������by mouth, 2 times every day during the last
month of pregnancy.
To help with pain
• give 500 to 1000 mg paracetamol ������by mouth, every 4 hours
A person with a lot of stress or other health problems is likely to get sores more
often. So if possible, people with herpes should get plenty of rest and eat healthy food.
WARNING! Herpes is very dangerous for the eyes and can cause
blindness. After touching a herpes sore, always wash your hands
with soap and water.
Herpes and pregnancy
It is possible for herpes to be passed from mother to baby. This usually happens
during delivery if the mother has herpes sores on the vagina at the time of birth.
A first-time infection during pregnancy is even more likely to pass to the baby. For
this reason, a woman in labor with an active herpes sore should give birth in a
hospital, usually by caesarean surgery. The risk of passing herpes during delivery
can be reduced or prevented by treating a first-time herpes outbreak immediately
with acyclovir, whenever during pregnancy it occurs. A woman who already has
had herpes can use acyclovir daily during the last month of pregnancy.
A Book for Midwives (2010)