I'm looking for info for a friend on whether cortaid (hydrocortisone) cream helps herpes symptoms?

Not for herpes! Cortaid (hydrocortisone) is a steroid, which relieves allergic reactions and some kinds of itching, but should not be used on an infection, because steroids weaken the immune system. Putting Cortaid (hydrocortisone) on a herpes outbreak can make the outbreak spread. Abreva is an otc anti-herpes product which can safely provide pain relief and may lessen the intensity of an outbreak (sold for mouth, but okay for genital hsv too).