Book
Appt
Philadelphia and Mainline Center of Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Herpes simplex

Synonyms: cold sores, fever blisters, herpes simplex

Overview

Herpes simplex, a common viral disease, is caused by two strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The strains are referred to as herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1) and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV2). HSV can infect all areas of the body but most commonly the cavity of the mouth and the genital area. HSV1 causes most breakouts around the mouth and HSV2 causes the majority of genital or buttock lesions. The signs and symptoms of HSV differ between oral and genital infections.

Oral Herpes

Herpes treatment

The initial infection (primary stage) of oral herpes is generally asymptomatic and is acquired through person-to-person contact such as kissing. The virus then lies dormant in a nerve root. Reactivation of the virus may be caused by a number of events such as a fever, intense sunlight, intense cold, or stress.

In the active (secondary) stage, individuals with oral herpes have "cold sores" around the mouth or on the face that may become painful ulcers. The early period immediately before the outbreak is referred to as the prodromal period and from this time to the end of the outbreak, the virus can be transmitted to another person by direct contact.

Genital Herpes

The stages of genital herpes are very similar to oral herpes with an initial stage that manifests with few symptoms and is less contagious. The secondary stage, which can occur unpredictably but is usually mediated by stress or sickness, shows lesions on the vulva or penis.

The lesions are often painful and itchy may also be accompanied by difficulty urinating, lymph node enlargement with tenderness, and puss-like discharge. The herpes virus is most contagious during the active periods but can spread immediately before the outbreak occurs.

For both genital and oral herpes, the dormancy period involves the virus "resting" within the nervous tissue around the initially infected area.

Diagnosis

Herpes is commonly diagnosed based upon the symptoms described above paired with frequent recurrence in the same area. Rapid tests have been developed to detect antibodies to the herpes virus. Positive results reveal that you have been exposed to HSV1 or HSV2 in the past.

However, 90% of inner-city populations carry HSV1 antibodies and about 35% carry HSV2. The presence of antibodies does not diagnose a current outbreak. In some instances, samples of representative lesions are taken and tested for the presence of the HSV1 or HSV2 virus.

Management

Once diagnosed with herpes, managing the disease includes caring for sores during outbreaks as well as preventing their recurrence. Several medications and dietary guidelines are outlined below as well as advice on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

Treatment and Medication

While there is no cure for herpes, a few medications are available for control. Famvir™, Valtrex™, and Acyclovir are currently used to treat and prevent cold sores and genital herpes. None of these drugs cure the disease but all help alleviate or prevent symptoms. In addition to medication, you should keep lesions as dry as possible to speed healing.

Your diet can also play an important role since the amino acid lysine, found in fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, and beans, has been shown to reduce the recurrence of outbreaks. Some people feel that they can stop outbreaks by daily lysine supplementation. Condoms help prevent the spread of herpes among individuals.

Coping

Remember, if you have been infected with herpes, you are not alone. The disease affects many people who live normal lives. Especially with genital herpes, the ulcers are concealed and do not affect any daily activities. Open communication with partners is important so that both of you can practice safe intercourse. In the middle of an outbreak, you should avoid contact, and medications can mitigate symptoms.

Support Groups and References

Since genital and oral herpes is extremely common in the United States, with an estimate of 45 million people or one out of every five infected, there are many places to turn for support.

The website: http://www.herpes.com contains more information regarding the disease. A list of support groups organized by state is found on http://www.herpes.com/supportgroups.shtml. The Center for Disease control also contains information on herpes and other genital diseases at http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes. If you think you have genital herpes speak to your physician about treatment options.

How can we help you?

SKIN

# of surveys: 3952
Last updated: 6/16/2022 2:45 PM

PATIENT RATINGS

Would you recommend us?

definitely
93.1%
probably
6.16%
maybe
0.58%
not likely
0.08%
no
0.02%

Compare our service to other similar practices

excellent
87.9%
very good
10.1%
good
1.8%
poor
0.06%
very poor
0%

Overall doctor performance

excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
good
0.80%
poor
0.03%
very poor
0%

The doctor listened to you attentively

excellent
93.9%
very good
4.97%
good
1.05%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

The doctor took time to answer your questions

excellent
94.0%
very good
4.66%
good
1.27%
poor
0.02%
very poor
0%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
94.3%
very good
4.16%
good
1.25%
poor
0.14%
very poor
0.02%

The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
92.0%
very good
5.69%
good
2.18%
poor
0.11%
very poor
0.0%

Front desk performance

excellent
85.6%
very good
10.2%
good
3.66%
poor
0.31%
very poor
0.08%

Aesthetician performance

excellent
88.6%
very good
7.61%
good
3.39%
poor
0.24%
very poor
0.08%

Office comfort

excellent
90.9%
very good
6.93%
good
2.08%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0.05%

Parking

excellent
66.4%
very good
14.4%
good
15.7%
poor
2.49%
very poor
0.9%

Friendliness of the staff during appointment

excellent
90.9%
very good
7.23%
good
1.85%
poor
0.05%
very poor
0%

What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

The professionalism yet friendliness of the entire staff

#12021-10-20

The doctor answered all of my questions and concerns

#22022-06-08

The appearance and presentation of the office.

#32021-07-08

Dr. Ringfiel, of course.

#42021-07-06

Just friendliness.

#52011-01-05 14:23:47

The staff was knowlegable in answering any additional questions I may have

#62022-04-04

the stafff and doctor were extremely friendly

#72022-01-13

The location and setting of the office.

#82021-12-29

very professional

#92010-11-30 07:53:54

The people are friendly and understand.

#102022-01-19

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

I would like to get in with the doctor. I also would like more than one option presented to me. Also, it would be nice to be offered more natural alternatives, or integrative treatments.

#12011-08-10 15:47:37

Service was extremely good.

#22011-01-27 16:47:12

Keep up the good work

#32021-08-20

I cant think of anything

#42021-07-08

Provide some written information for questions asked. I can't remember everything said.

#52021-11-16

Everything was great! No further suggestion at this time.

#62022-03-24

I am a little annoyed that I called to say I was on my way and I was told that I may not get here in time and will probably have to reschedule. Then when I got here, I filled out the paperwork then had to wait 20 minutes to be seen. It would be nice to know the receptionist's name so I know who I am calling when I have questions. It would be nice to have WiFi available during the wait.

#72011-06-22 17:06:20

I am completely happy with my needs being met here.

#82010-08-23 16:52:07

I checked off compimentary consultation with aesthetician on the intake forms, but it wasn't mentioned and I forgot to ask during the examination.

#92021-09-12

Almost too methodical - thought of one more 15 second type question after Dr. left re one spot not noted - would have waited some time to have her look at it. Told no time until lunch.

#102011-11-03 10:28:10

Customer Rating : 4.6

Based on 351 ratings
Send us a message!

Enter your information, and we will text you shortly.