East Central Indiana
06/28/2017
Medical Dermatology

Herpes Simplex

  • herpes_simplex_sunburn_aad_no_ic
    Herpes Simplex is a viral infection that is found in cold sores and fever blisters and is contagious even when sores are not visible.
  • herpes_simplex_hands_aad_no_ic
    Anyone who comes into contact with the virus is at risk for contracting it. It is often passed on to young children by adults. Herpes Simples is most often spread through having sexual contact with someone who already has it. Someone who does not have a strong immune system, especially due to certain types of medication, is more susceptible to it than others.

About

Herpes Simplex

Herpes Simplex is a viral infection that is found in cold sores and fever blisters and is contagious even when sores are not visible.

Causes

The virus is transmitted by person-to-person contact or by contact with body fluids from an infected person. The blisters and ulcers of herpes simplex are contagious until they heal, both in the initial occurrence and in succeeding flare-ups. The risk of sores increases with people who have eczema, physical or emotional stress, illness that has lowered resistance, including a cold, minor gastrointestinal upset, fever from any cause, excess sun exposure, menstrual periods, dental treatment that stretches the mouth, and use of certain medicines.

Risk Factors

Anyone who comes into contact with the virus is at risk for contracting it. It is often passed on to young children by adults. Herpes Simples is most often spread through having sexual contact with someone who already has it. Someone who does not have a strong immune system, especially due to certain types of medication, is more susceptible to it than others.

Signs and Symptoms

The eruption usually consists of very small, painful blisters usually around the mouth. Sometimes other skin areas may be included. The blisters are grouped together and surrounded by a red ring. They fill with fluid, then dry up and disappear. You can expect healing in a few days to a week, occasionally longer. Recurrence is common. The virus remains in the body for life, but it usually remains at rest. Very rare complications include herpes infection in the eye or widespread infection in people with eczema. If the eye is infected there is eye pain, redness, and a feeling that something is in the eye. There is also sensitivity to light and tearing.

Diagnosis

A physical examination of sores by a doctor is necessary to diagnose herpes simplex. In some cases, blood work or a skin swab test may be needed as well. If you suspect that your eye is infected, you must contact your ophthalmologist immediately, since herpes infection in the eye can damage your sight. If you do not have an ophthalmologist, please contact our office for a referral.

*Source:

American Academy of Dermatology

Treatment

Treatment

Herpes Simplex can be treated by an antiviral medication, but it cannot be cured. However, the sores will often go away on their own without treatment.

Prevention

There is no real prevention of herpes simplex other than avoiding skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it. Using a condom during sex can reduce the likelihood of herpes simplex being transmitted to the other person, but it does not eliminate it. Washing hands after treating sores is also a prevention method.

*Source:

American Academy of Dermatology

Videos

Herpes Simplex Videos