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Ice and Herpes

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Using ice for herpes is one way to help control the pain associated with the disease. Ice may also slow down the growth of the herpes simplex virus.

The herpes simplex virus has two common forms. Herpes simplex virus- 1 is oral herpes or herpes labialis. Oral herpes is commonly referred to as cold sores. Herpes simplex virus- 2 is genital herpes. Both kinds of herpes may be helped somewhat with ice.

Using ice for herpes simplex virus- 1

Oral herpes causes small and painful sores or blisters in or around the mouth. This is a very common childhood disease, affecting up to 80% of young people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help ease the pain of cold sores during an outbreak of oral herpes, ice can be applied directly to the broken skin. Ice helps numb the area around the cold sore and reduce the associated pain.

Using ice for herpes simplex virus- 2

Outbreaks of genital herpes, or herpes simplex virus- 2, are also quite painful. Genital herpes is spread by direct sexual contact with someone who has the disease.

Unfortunately, a person can have genital herpes and not know it, because past outbreaks have been mild or the affected person did not recognize that a rash, red bump, or blister was caused by genital herpes.

Although more inconvenient, ice can also be applied to the genitals and buttocks to help relieve the pain associated with herpes.

The ice can either be pressed directly onto the surface of the skin, or simple ice packs can be made with either plastic freezer bags or cotton washcloths.

Hot and cold therapy for herpes

One home remedy for any kind of pain, including pain from herpes, is hot and cold therapy. Hot and cold therapy is simply alternating between a hot pad or heating pad and an ice pack every ten to twenty minutes.

Hot and cold therapy stimulates the circulatory system to hasten the natural healing process in the body. The hot pad draws the blood to the body’s surface, as evidenced by the skin’s pink or red color.

Ice packs force the blood deep into the muscle tissues in an effort to keep the blood and body warm. By alternating between heat and ice, healing occurs faster. Hot and cold therapy can be continued as long as a person desires.

Master herbalist Dr. Richard Schulze states that hot and cold therapy acts like a pump that makes the blood flow.

With the heat source bringing blood to the surface of the body and ice stimulating the blood down into the core of the body, fresh blood is constantly bringing nutrients and oxygen to the skin infection, as well as removing toxins and pathogens

Does ice help herpes symptoms?

The symptoms of oral herpes may include a sore throat, painful swallowing, a fever, or swollen glands in the neck before an outbreak occurs. The lips and skin around the mouth may itch, tingle, or burn.

An outbreak of oral herpes forms reddish blisters filled with a clear yellow fluid which break open and leak. As the blisters heal, they form a yellow crust, which heals within two weeks.

Applying ice to the blisters may help soothe the pain associated with oral herpes outbreaks.

The symptoms of genital herpes may include anywhere from one to several small red blisters on or around the genitals or buttocks. When the blisters break, they leave open, painful sores which take anywhere from a week to four weeks to heal.

As with oral herpes, applying ice to the affected areas may help to soothe the pain experienced with genital herpes.

Sexually- transmitted disease expert, Lisa Marrs, M.D., believes that ice may help with herpes in more than just as a pain reliever.

In her book, Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Physician Tells You What You Need to Know, Dr. Marrs, states that ice slows the growth of viruses like herpes. The herpes virus thrives in a warm environment, so freezing it may help kill the virus.


Pubmed.gov, “Herpes- oral.” A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia

Centers for Disease Control.gov, “Genital Herpes- CDC Fact Sheet”

Healing Tools. Tripod.org, TOTAL HEALTH Newsletter November 1998 Vol. I No. 9 “DR. RICHARD SCHULZE'S "INCURABLES" PROGRAM: HOT & COLD Water Therapy,” Tom Harrelson, ed.

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