What are the treatment options for viral skin infections?

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The treatment options for viral skin infections depend, in part, on the type of infection, whether the infection is likely to go away on its own, and how severe the infection is. There are fewer treatments for viral infections, in general, than for bacterial infections; antibiotics are not useful against viral infections.

There are antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, which work against viruses like herpes simplex 1 and 2 and herpes zoster. Sometimes people choose to treat only the symptoms of the infection, for example, by putting over-the-counter creams on cold sores or cold compresses on shingles. At other times, people may choose to take antivirals to lessen the chances of an outbreak occurring or to make the outbreak shorter.

Some viral skin infections are treated by destroying the area of skin where symptoms are occurring - warts are an example of this. Treatments such as cryosurgery, curettage, applying solutions like salicylic acid to the area, or laser surgery can help remove warts.

Still other viral skin infections, such as molluscum contagiosum, often disappear on their own, and do not always need treatment.

Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.