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Oral herpes , symptoms, treatment - , Oral herpes (hsv-1, herpes simplex virus-1) facts; what is the cause of oral herpes (hsv-1, herpes simplex virus-1)?
Cold sore (herpes simplex virus) - nhs choices, Cold sores are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. Herpes simplex – wikipedia, free encyclopedia, Herpes simplex is a viral disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes genitalis – wikipedia, free encyclopedia, Herpes genitalis (or genital herpes) is a genital infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (hsv). Oral herpes, commonly referred to as mouth herpes, is a viral infection of the mouth and gums primarily by the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) but may also be due to the genital variant (HSV-2). Oral herpes is also known commonly as cold sores and fever blisters but is different entity from oral canker sores although canker sores may sometimes be associated with HSV infection.
This can occur at any time in life but tends to recur in young adults and presents as a mild cold sore. Other signs and symptoms are usually absent in a recurrence unless the person has a co-existing infection like the flu (seasonal influenza).
Ask a Doctor Online Now!The pictures below were sourced from the Dermatology Atlas, courtesy of Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D. Ask a Doctor Online Now!Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. Herpes simplex is part of a group of other herpes viruses that include human herpes virus 8 (the cause of Kaposi's sarcoma) and herpes zoster (the virus responsible for shingles and chicken pox).
The herpes simplex virus passes moves through bodily fluids (saliva, semen, fluid in the female genital tract) or in fluid from herpes sores.
The virus must have direct access to the noninfected person through injuries in their skin or mucus membranes (such as in the mouth or genital area).
The virus enters vulnerable cells in the lower layers of skin tissue and tries to reproduce in the cell nuclei. However, if the virus destroys the host cells when it multiplies, inflammation and fluid-filled blisters or ulcers appear. Eventually, the symptoms return in most cases, causing a new outbreak of blisters and sores. This close-up view of early herpes outbreak shows small, grouped blisters (vesicles) and lots of inflammation (erythema).
To infect people, the herpes simplex viruses (both HSV-1 and HSV-2) must get into the body through broken skin or a mucous membrane, such as inside the mouth or on the genital area. Once the virus has contact with the mucous membranes or skin wounds, it begins to replicate. Sometimes, infected people can transmit the virus and infect other parts of their own bodies (most often the hands, thighs, or buttocks).
People with active symptoms of genital herpes are at very high risk for transmitting the infection.
In the past, genital herpes was mostly caused by HSV-2, but HSV-1 genital infection is increasing. About 40% of men and 70% of women develop other symptoms during initial outbreaks of genital herpes, such as flu-like discomfort, headache, muscle aches, fever, and swollen glands. On average, people have about four recurrences during the first year, although this varies widely.
Oral herpes (herpes labialis) is most often caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) but can also be caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-2). The blisters eventually rupture as painful open sores, develop a yellowish membrane before healing, and disappear within 3 - 14 days.
Rarely, the infection may be accompanied by difficulty in swallowing, chills, muscle pain, or hearing loss. It is not completely known what triggers renewed infection, but several different factors may be involved. Although the prevalence of genital herpes is declining in the United States, it still remains in epidemic proportions. Risk factors for genital herpes include a history of a prior sexually transmitted disease, early age for first sexual intercourse, a high number of sexual partners, and poor socioeconomic status. People with compromised immune systems, notably patients with HIV, are at very high risk for HSV-2. The following are examples of people who are at particularly risk for specific forms of herpes. Wrestlers, rugby players, and other athletes who participate in direct contact sports without protective clothing.
Genital herpes is contagious from the first signs of tingling and burning (prodrome) until the time that sores have completely healed. To reduce the risk of passing the herpes virus to another part of your body (such as the eyes and fingers), avoid touching a herpes blister or sore during an outbreak.
Recent studies have suggested that male circumcision may help reduce the risk of HSV-2, as well as human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV infections.
Pregnant women who are infected with either herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) or herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) genital herpes have a higher risk for miscarriage, premature labor, retarded fetal growth, or transmission of the herpes infection to the infant while in the uterus or at the time of delivery.. During a first infection, the virus is shed for longer periods, and more viral particles are excreted.
An infection that first occurs in the late term does not allow the mother to develop antibodies that would help her baby fight off the infection at the time of delivery.
The risk for transmission also increases if infants with infected mothers are born prematurely, if there is invasive monitoring, or if instruments are required during vaginal delivery. Very rarely, the virus is transmitted across the placenta, a form of the infection known as congenital herpes.
Infants may acquire congenital herpes from a mother with an active herpes infection at the time of birth.
Unfortunately, only 5% of infected pregnant women have a history of symptoms, so in many cases herpes infection is not suspected, or symptoms are missed, at the time of delivery. Obtaining routine herpes cultures on all women during the prenatal period is not recommended. Performing chorionic vilus sampling, amniocentesis, and percutaneous fetal blood draws can safely be performed during pregnancy. If lesions in the genital area are present at the time of birth, Cesarean section is usually recommended. If lesions erupt shortly before the baby is due then samples must be taken and sent to the laboratory. Some doctors recommend anti-viral medication for pregnant women who are infected with HSV-2. Herpes infection in a newborn can cause a range of symptoms, including skin rash, fevers, mouth sores, and eye infections.
Herpes meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord, occurs in up to 10% of cases of primary genital HSV-2.
Iridocyclitis is another serious complication of ocular herpes, in which the iris and the area around it become inflamed. Herpes simplex is particularly devastating when it occurs in immunocompromised patients and, unfortunately, coinfection is common.
The majority of patients with HIV are co-infected with HSV-2 and are particularly vulnerable to its complications. According to the CDC, up to 50% of first-episode cases of genital herpes are now caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). Viral culture tests are made by taking a fluid sample, or culture, from the lesions as early as possible, ideally within the first 3 days of appearance.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are much more accurate than viral cultures, and the CDC recommends this test for detecting herpes in spinal fluid when diagnosing herpes encephalitis (see below). An older type of virologic testing, the Tzanck smear test, uses scrapings from herpes lesions.
Serologic (blood) tests can identify antibodies that are specific to the virus and its type, herpes virus simplex 1 (HSV-1) or herpes virus simplex 2 (HSV-2).
Although glycoprotein (gG) type-specific tests have been available since 1999, many of the older nontype-specific tests are still on the market. Serologic tests are most accurate when administered 12 - 16 weeks after exposure to the virus.
False-negative (testing negative when herpes infection is actually present) results can occur if tests are done in the early stages of infection.
At this time, doctors do not recommend screening for HSV-1 or HSV-2 in the general population. Brain biopsy is the most reliable method of diagnosing herpes encephalitis, but it is also the most invasive and is generally performed only if the diagnosis is uncertain. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay of cerebrospinal fluid looks for tiny pieces of the DNA of the virus, and then replicates them millions of times until the virus is detectable.
Other conditions that may be confused with oral herpes include herpangina (a form of the Coxsackie A virus), sore throat caused by strep or other bacteria, and infectious mononucleosis.
Conditions that may be confused with genital herpes include bacterial and yeast infections, genital warts, herpes zoster (shingles), molluscum (a virus disease which produces small rounded swellings), scabies, syphilis, and certain cancers. In a few cases, HSV-2 may occur without lesions and resemble cystitis and urinary tract infections. Simple corneal scratches can cause the same pain as herpetic infection, but these usually resolve within 24 hours and don't exhibit the corneal lesions characteristic of herpes simplex. Skin disorders that may mimic herpes simplex include shingles and chicken pox (both caused by varicella-zoster, another herpes virus), impetigo, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a serious inflammatory disease usually caused by a drug allergy. Antiviral drugs called nucleosides or nucleotide analogues are the main drugs used to treat genital herpes.
The drugs are used initially to treat a first attack of herpes, and then afterward to either suppress the virus or treat recurrent outbreaks. To treat outbreaks, drug regimens depend on whether it is the first episode or a recurrence and on the medication and dosage prescribed.
Because the frequency of herpes recurrences often diminishes over time, patients should discuss annually with their doctors whether they should stay with drug therapy or discontinue it. Acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and famciclovir (Famvir) -- the anti-viral pills used to treat genital herpes -- can also treat the cold sores associated with oral herpes. Penciclovir (Denavir) heals herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) sores on average about half a day faster than without treatment, stops viral shedding, and reduces the duration of pain.
Acyclovir cream (Zovirax) works best when applied early on (at the first sign of pain or tingling). Docosanol cream (Abreva) is the only FDA-approved non-prescription ointment for oral herpes.
Some people report that drying the genital area with a blow dryer on the cool setting offers relief.
Avoid tight-fitting clothing, which restricts air circulation and slows healing of the sores.
Local application of ice packs may alleviate the pain and help reduce recurrences by suppressing the virus.
Wearing sun block helps prevent sun-triggered recurrence of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).
Avoid sex during both outbreaks and prodromes (the early symptoms of herpes), when signs include tingling, itching, or tenderness in the infected areas. Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can be used to reduce fever and local tenderness.
Generally, manufacturers of herbal remedies and dietary supplements do not need FDA approval to sell their products. Many herbal and dietary supplement products claim to help fight herpes infection by boosting the immune system.
Bee products (like propolis) can cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to bee stings. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. The virus HSV-1 may be transmitted by droplet spread – direct contact with saliva or even respiratory droplets. This is known as the incubation period and is the time during which the virus multiplies profusely.
The exact reason why the infection may recur is poorly understood but it appears to be associated with one or more of the following factors. Even though there are many people seeking treatment for skin disorders, Western medicine has been unable to find treatments that are both safe and efficacious long-term. BackgroundHerpes simplex virus (HSV) commonly causes infections of the skin and mucous membranes.
Each virus can be carried in bodily fluids (saliva, semen, fluid in the female genital tract) or in fluid from herpes sores. This process, known as autoinoculation, is uncommon, since people generally develop antibodies that protect against this problem. Genital herpes is most often transmitted through sexual activity, and people with multiple sexual partners are at high risk. Unfortunately, evidence suggests about a third of all herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) infections occur when the virus is shedding but producing no symptoms. For patients with symptoms, the first outbreak usually occurs in or around the genital area 1 - 2 weeks after sexual exposure to the virus.
It usually affects the lips and, in some primary attacks, the mucous membranes in the mouth.


If the primary (initial) oral infection causes symptoms, they can be very painful, particularly in small children. In adolescents, the primary infection is more apt to appear in the upper part of the throat and cause soreness.
The outbreak of infection is often preceded by a prodrome, an early group of symptoms that may include itching skin, pain, or an abnormal tingling sensation at the site of infection. Recurrent outbreaks of herpes simplex virus (HSV) feature most of the same symptoms at the same sites as the primary attack, but they tend to be milder and briefer. These include sunlight, wind, fever, physical injury, surgery, menstruation, suppression of the immune system, and emotional stress. For most people, outbreaks recur with more frequency during the first year after an initial attack. Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection because herpes is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men. This group is at higher than average risk for herpetic whitlow, herpes that occurs in the fingers. These individuals are at risk for herpes gladiatorum, an unusual form of HSV-1 that is spread by skin contact with exposed herpes sores and usually affects the head or eyes. It is almost impossible to defend against the transmission of oral herpes since it can be transmitted by very casual contact.
While condoms may not provide 100% protection, they have been proven to significantly reduce the risk of sexual disease transmission. Lubricants can help prevent friction during sex, which can irritate the skin and increase the risk for outbreaks.
While the chances of transmitting or contracting herpes from a toilet seat or towel are extremely low, it is advisable to wipe off toilet seats and not to share damp towels.
Although about 25 - 30% of pregnant women have genital herpes, less than 0.1% of babies are born with neonatal herpes. Transmission can occur if the amniotic membrane of an infected woman ruptures prematurely, or as the infant passes through an infected birth canal. Also rarely, newborns may contract herpes during the first weeks of life from being kissed by someone with a herpes cold sore. Aggressive treatment with antiviral medication is required, but may not help systemic herpes. If there is evidence of an active outbreak, doctors usually advise a Cesarean section to prevent the baby contacting the virus in the birth canal during delivery. Samples are cultured to detect the virus at 3 - 5-day intervals prior to delivery to determine whether viral shedding is occurring. Recent studies indicate that acyclovir (Zovirax) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) or famciclovir (Famvir)Valtrex can help reduce the recurrence of genital herpes and the need for Cesarean sections. It is important to treat babies quickly, before the infection spreads to the brain and other organs. In most cases, ocular herpes causes inflammation and sores on the lids or outside of the cornea that go away in a few days. In children, this is often caused by thumbsucking or finger sucking while they have a cold sore.
DiagnosisThe herpes simplex virus is usually identifiable by its characteristic lesion: A thin-walled blister on an inflamed base of skin. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that both virologic and serologic tests be used for diagnosing genital herpes.
However, recurrences of genital herpes, and viral shedding without overt symptoms, are much less frequent with HSV-1 infection than herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). The viruses, if present, will reproduce in this fluid sample but may take 1 - 10 days to do so. PCR can make many copies of the virus’ DNA so that even small amounts of DNA in the sample can be detected.
When the herpes virus infects someone, their body’s immune system produces specific antibodies to fight off the infection.
False-positive results (testing positive when herpes infection is not actually present) can also occur, although more rarely than false-negative.
Computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans may be used to differentiate encephalitis from other conditions.
Canker sores frequently crop up singly or in groups on the inside of the mouth or on or under the tongue.
It is most common in infants but can appear in people of all ages, particularly people taking antibiotics or those with impaired immune systems. Studies suggest that daily drug therapy is safe and effective for up to 6 years with acyclovir, and up to 1 year with valacyclovir or famciclovir. Although there is some evidence these drugs may reduce shedding, they probably do not prevent it entirely. As with antibiotics, doctors are concerned about signs of increasing viral resistance to acyclovir and similar drugs, particularly in immunocompromised patients (such as those with AIDS).
National Institutes of Health has been conducting the Herpevac Trial for Women to investigate a vaccine for preventing herpes in women who are not infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2.
Ideally, the patient should apply the cream within the first hour of symptoms, although the medication can still help if applied later. The patient applies the cream five times a day, beginning at the first sign of tingling or pain.
They include Anbesol gel, Blistex lip ointment, Camphophenique, Herpecin-L, Viractin, and Zilactin. Home RemediesPatients can manage most herpes simplex infections that develop on the skin at home with over-the-counter painkillers and measures to relieve symptoms. Just like a drug, herbs and supplements can affect the body's chemistry, and therefore have the potential to produce side effects that may be harmful.
There has been little research on these products, and little evidence to show that they really work. Human herpes simplex virus infections: epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptomatology, diagnosis, and management. Third trimester antiviral prophylaxis for preventing maternal genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) recurrences and neonatal infection.
A meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of oral antiviral treatment to prevent genital herpes outbreaks. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA.
The infection of the mouth typically causes small fluid-filled blisters known as vesicles on the roof of the mouth (palate), inside of the cheeks (buccal muscosa), tongue, gums and even the lips (herpes labialis). These droplets must make contact with broken skin or the mucous membranes in order to infect a person. They differ in many ways, but the viruses share certain characteristics, notably the word "herpes," which is derived from a Greek word meaning "to creep." This refers to the unique characteristic pattern of all herpes viruses to "creep along" local nerve pathways to the nerve clusters at the end, where they remain in an inactive state for some indeterminate time. Until recently, the general rule was to assume that HSV-1 infections occur in the oral cavity (mouth) and are not sexually transmitted, while HSV-2 attacks the genital area and is sexually transmitted. The risk for infection is highest with direct contact of blisters or sores during an outbreak. HSV-1 is the most prevalent form of herpes simplex virus, and infection is most likely to occur during preschool years. The first signs are a tingling sensation in the affected areas (such as genitalia, buttocks, and thighs) and groups of small red bumps that develop into blisters. The virus sheds for a much shorter period of time (about 3 days) compared to in an initial outbreak of 3 weeks. There are some differences in frequency of recurrence depending on whether HSV-2 or HSV-1 causes genital herpes.
A herpes infection may occur on the cheeks or in the nose, but facial herpes is very uncommon.
Oral herpes can be provoked within about 3 days of intense dental work, particularly root canal or tooth extraction. During that period, the body mounts an immune response to HSV, and in most healthy people recurring infections tend to become progressively less severe and less frequent.
The incidence in children varies among regions and countries, with the highest rates occurring in crowded and unsanitary regions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 45 million Americans age 12 and over, about 1 in 5 teenagers and adults, are infected with HSV-2. Other immunocompromised patients include those taking drugs that suppress the immune system and transplant patients. However, herpes can also be transmitted when symptoms are not present (asymptomatic shedding). Only water-based lubricants (such as K-Y Jelly, Astroglide, AquaLube, and glycerin) should be used. The baby is at greatest risk from an asymptomatic infection during a vaginal delivery in women who acquired the virus for the first time late in the pregnancy.
This increased risk is present if the woman is having or has recently had an active herpes outbreak in the genital area. If no lesions are present and cultures indicate no viral shedding, a vaginal delivery can be performed and the newborn is examined and cultured after delivery. Women begin to take the drug on a daily basis beginning in the 36th week of pregnancy (last trimester).
Neonatal herpes can spread to the brain and central nervous system causing encephalitis and meningitis and leading to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and death.
Scarring and corneal thinning develop, which may cause the eye's globe to rupture, resulting in blindness.
It can also occur in adult health care workers, such as dentists, because of increased exposure to the herpes virus. HSV-2 infection increases HIV levels in the genital tract, which makes it easier for the HIV virus to be spread to sexual partners. However, other conditions can resemble herpes, and doctors cannot base a herpes diagnosis on visual inspection alone. Patients diagnosed with genital herpes should also be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases. It is important for doctors to determine whether the genital herpes infection is caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2, as the type of herpes infection influences prognosis and treatment recommendations. If infection is severe, testing technology can shorten this period to 24 hours, but speeding up the timeframe during this test may make the results even less accurate. PCR is much more expensive than viral cultures and is not FDA-approved for testing genital specimens.
Findings of specific giant cells with many nuclei or distinctive particles that carry the virus (called inclusion bodies) indicate herpes infection. If a blood test detects antibodies to herpes, it’s evidence that you have been infected with the virus, even if the virus is in a non-active (dormant) state.
Its major advantages are that it requires only a finger prick and results are provided in less than 10 minutes. It is costly and time consuming, however, and is not as widely available as the other tests.
PCR identifies HSV in cerebrospinal fluid and gives a rapid diagnosis of herpes encephalitis in most cases, eliminating the need for biopsies. This ulcer is seen in an individual with AIDS and is located in front and just below the bottom teeth. The infection may recur after treatment has been stopped and, even during therapy, a patient can still transmit the virus to another person. It is generally recommended for patients who have frequent recurrences (6 or more outbreaks per year).
The use of condoms during asymptomatic periods is still essential, even when patients are taking these medications. The drug is continued for 4 consecutive days, and should be reapplied every 2 hours while awake.
There have been several reported cases of serious and even lethal side effects from herbal products. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
It may also occur on the skin around the mouth and extend to the nose and into the nasal cavity. Most of the time HSV-1 causes mouth symptoms and in a minority of cases it may also be responsible for genital symptoms.
This arises as the virus starts destroying cells at the site and causes intense localized inflammation.
HSV is one of the most difficult viruses to control and has plagued mankind for thousands of years. It is now widely accepted, however, that either type can be found in either area and at other sites. The prodrome, which may last as short as 2 hours or as long as 2 days, stops when the blisters develop. Occasionally, the symptoms may not resemble those of the primary episode but appear as fissures and scrapes in the skin or as general inflammation around the affected area. Studies suggest that by age 5 more than a third of children in low-income areas are infected compared to 20% of children in middle-income areas.


While HSV-2 remains the main cause of genital herpes, in recent years the percentage of cases of genital herpes caused by HSV-1 has significantly increased because of of oral-genital sex. Natural condoms made from animal skin do NOT protect against HSV infection because herpes viruses can pass through them. Oil-based lubricants (such as petroleum jelly, body lotions, and cooking oil) can weaken latex. Possible ComplicationsThe severity of symptoms depends on where and how the virus enters the body. Fortunately, rapid diagnostic tests and treatment with acyclovir have both significantly improved survival rates and reduced complication rates. Fortunately, herpes meningitis usually resolves without complications, lasting for up to a week, although recurrences have been reported. Viral cultures are very accurate if lesions are still in the clear blister stage, but they do not work as well for older ulcerated sores, recurrent lesions, or latency.
The presence of antibodies to herpes also indicates that you are a carrier of the virus and might transmit it to others. For a recurrent episode, treatment takes 1 - 5 days depending on the type of medication and dosage. Valacyclovir may work especially well for preventing herpes transmission among heterosexual patients when one partner has herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) and the other partner does not.
However, patients who do not respond to standard regimens should be monitored for emergence of drug resistance. The opposite is true for HSV-2 – it causes genital symptoms in the majority of cases while only a few cases of HSV-2 infection will result in mouth symptoms. These small vesicles or sometimes the larger bullae may either burst resulting in ulcer or heal completely with no scarring. Acne consists of comedones (clogged pores; whiteheads or blackheads), pimples, and larger and deeper lumps (acne cysts or nodules). In fact, HSV-1 is now responsible for up to half of all new cases of genital herpes in developed countries. However, by the time Americans of all economic backgrounds reach age 60, about 60 - 85% have become infected with HSV-1.
Except for people in monogamous relationships with uninfected partners, everyone who is sexually active is at risk for genital herpes. Nonoxynol-9 can cause irritation around the genital areas, which makes it easier for herpes and other STDs to be transmitted. Except in very rare instances and in special circumstances, the disease is not life threatening, although it can be very debilitating and cause great emotional distress. Recurring herpes and a first infection that is acquired early in the pregnancy pose a much lower risk to the infant. For those who recover, nearly all suffer some impairment, ranging from very mild neurological changes to paralysis.
At these stages the virus may not be active enough to reproduce sufficiently to produce a visible culture. However, valacyclovir may not be as effective as acyclovir or famiciclovir for patients who have very frequent recurrences of herpes (more than 10 outbreaks per year).
HSV-1 infection may be seen in all ages, including children, but when genital herpes is seen in children, sexual abuse needs to be a consideration. In fact, studies indicate that 10 - 25% of people infected with HSV-2 are unaware that they have genital herpes.
The best chances for a favorable outcome occur in patients who are treated with acyclovir within 2 days of becoming ill.
The Tzanck test is not reliable for providing a conclusive diagnosis of herpes infection and is not recommended by the CDC. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. In addition, because herpes simplex virus 1 can be passed in saliva, people should also avoid sharing toothbrushes or eating utensils with an infected person. Even if infected people have mild or no symptoms, they can still transmit the herpes virus. By combining these different treatment modalities, Chinese medicine treats acne for less money and with longer lasting resolution than other methods of acne treatment. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. To read more about the classifications of acne in Chinese medicine, click over to the Acne Page.Acupuncture treats PsoriasisWhite psoriasis plaquesPsoriasis is an auto-immune disorder of the skin. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. Faulty signaling by the body’s immune system causes rapid turn-over of skin cells, which in turn causes the skin to appear silvery-white and form psoriasis plaques. Plaques most commonly occur around the elbows and knees, but can affect any area of the body, including arm pits, back, buttocks and scalp.
Psoriasis plaques can occur in different size patches, from small areas to patches covering the entire body. The nails and joints may be affected, as in psoriatic nail distrophy and psoriatic arthritis, respectively. Psoriatic arthritis occurs in approximately 3-10% of people with psoriasis.[2]Psoriasis is one of the most common skin diseases in the United States, affecting as many as 2% of the population.
This puts patients at risk for a whole host of other diseases and side effects, some of which are very dangerous. Itchy blisters that appear after hiking, gardening, or spending time outdoors could be a reaction to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. On the other hand, Chinese herbal medicine has been shown to be safe over its more than 2000 years of use, and constant monitoring and modern-day research in China. Studies have shown up to 65% of psoriasis cases have significant resolution of symptoms with proper herbal medicine and acupuncture treatments. The first time someone is exposed to the virus, it causes the widespread, itchy sores known as chickenpox. If you have shingles symptoms, see your health care provider even if you think you've never had chickenpox. Many childhood cases of chickenpox are mild enough to go unnoticed, but the virus can still linger and reactivate. In most healthy people, the blisters leave no scars, and the pain and itching go away after a few weeks or months.
Topical steroids may also be used, but have risks associated with them.Recent research has shown significant reductions in both itch and lesions following treatment with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. People older than age 60 are 10 times more likely to get shingles than children under age 10.
Research presented at the the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) in New York analyzed 14 patients with persistent atopic dermatitis who received Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. The course of treatment differs for each individual, but results are often seen within a few months, even in cases of severe eczema. This pain, due to damaged nerves in and beneath the skin, is known as postherpetic neuralgia. For more information, please visit the Eczema Page.Acupuncture treats Herpes (Simplex and Zoster)Zoster (Shingles) outbreak on the abdomenHerpes Simplex and Zoster are both viral infections. Viral cycles alternate between active and latent periods, the latent period having no symptoms. It is important to speak to your primary care provider about how and when herpes virus can be spread to other people. There is no cure for herpes, but anti-viral therapy can cause herpes to go into remission, during which time the virus retreats into sensory nerve cells to hide. Prompt treatment can make a case of shingles shorter and milder, while cutting in half the risk of developing postherpetic neuralgia. In addition to anti-viral therapy for herpes, there are a number of complimentary and alternative medical treatments. Part of Chinese medicine treatment of herpes is to strengthen the body so that it can been the virus in a latent period.Herpes zoster is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also the cause of chicken pox.
If the pain is severe or the rash is concentrated near an eye or ear, consult your doctor right away. If someone does have shingles it is often many years, even decades, after an initial chicken pox infection in childhood.
To speed up the drying out of the blisters, try placing a cool, damp washcloth on the rash (but not when wearing calamine lotion or other creams.) If your doctor gives you the green light, stay active while recovering from shingles. Shingles presents as a painful skin rash with fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) along a single strip extending from the spine to the front of the body (this strip is known as a dermatome). In a large trial, this vaccine cut the risk of developing shingles in half and reduced the risk of postherpetic neuralgia by 67%. Following an outbreak, chronic, sometimes severe pain is common along the strip of infection. The vaccine won't treat a current outbreak of shingles, but it can prevent future attacks if you have already had shingles.
As an aging baby boomer population reaches the ages at which people are most susceptible to develop rosacea, increased awareness of this condition will become more important.Rosacea most commonly affects women ages 30 to 50. Rosacea symptoms include facial redness, blushing and flushing of the face, spider-like blood vessels (telangiectasia) on the face, acne-like sores on the skin that may weep and then crust over, burning and stinging on the affected skin of the face, and red and watery eyes. Researchers have shown that these negative effects can lower self-esteem and self-confidence. Visit the Rosacea Page to learn more about acupuncture treatment for rosacea and to book an appointment with me.Acupuncture treats Alopecia (hair loss)Alopecia in MenAlopecia, specifically pattern alopecia or pattern baldness, is the loss of hair from the head. The exact cause of alopecia is unknown, but researchers cite genetic, environmental and hormonal causes as possibilities.Acupuncture treats alopecia by nourishing the body and clearing imbalances that might be blocking nourishment and the flow of blood and fluids to the head and scalp. By incorporating Chinese herbal medicine into acupuncture treatments, alopecia can also be treated from the inside out.In my practice, I very rarely use acupuncture with stimulation to treat patients, but alopecia is one of the times I make an exception. Using micro-current stimulation on the scalp encourages blood flow and the regrowth of lost hair. Lichen simplex chronicus is self-perpetuating since the thickened skin also produces an itch sensation, leading to more scratching and thickening. The key to treating lichen simplex chronicus is to break the itch-scratch cycle, soothe inflammation and restore normal nourishment to the skin.Lichen simplex chronicus is sometimes associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis. LSC often has a large mental-emotional component to it, typically seen in conjunction with nervousness, anxiety, and depression.Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments can break the itch-scratch cycle and restore normal sensation to the skin.
For more information about lichen simplex chronicus, please visit the Lichen Simplex Chronicus page.Acupuncture treats VitiligoVitiligo on the HandVitiligo is a skin condition caused by the death or improper function of melanocytes, the skin cells that produce pigmentation. The most common of the Western biomedical therapies include exposure to UV radiation, which increases likelihood of skin cancer. I combine acupuncture with herbal medicine because this allows treatment to occur on multiple levels at once. Additionally, I use internal and external Chinese herbal medicine formulas to work to harmonize the body from the inside out and deliver powerful medicine to the skin itself.
To read more about vitiligo, please visit the Vitiligo Page.Acupuncture treats UrticariaA Hives RashUrticaria, or hives, is a red, itchy skin rash. Researchers estimate that 30-40% of hives of an unknown cause are a result of an autoimmune reaction.When using acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat urticaria, I focus on settling the immune system, cooling red, inflamed skin, and stopping itching. Because acupuncture treats hives by working on nerve signals, acupuncture stops itching very strongly. Perioral dermatitis is characterized by red bumps on the skin around the mouth, folds of the nose and around the eyes. Unfortunately, perioral dermatitis tends to recur, even after repeated treatment with antibiotics.Perioral dermatitis is not easily treated by Western medicine, but acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have great treatment success. It is very important to treat this stubborn condition with both acupuncture and herbal medicine in order to achieve lasting result and avoid recurrence of symptoms.
To read more about Perioral Dermatitis, please visit the Perioral Dermatitis page.Tinea Fungal Infections (Ringworm)Tinea is a superficial fungal infection of the uppermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. Many people have a genetic predisposition to these fungal infections.Tinea rashes are typically red, scaly and slightly raised. Tinea often appears with inflammation and redness around the active border of the rash, and, when very severe, with vesicles (blisters) on the border.
Since the areas of the body most commonly affected are easily submerged in liquids, I also use herbal soaks and washes to deliver medicine directly to the affected sites.
For more information about treating tinea with acupuncture, please visit the Tinea page.Pityriasis VersicolorPityriasis versicolor, also known as tinea versicolor, is a yeast infection caused by Pityrosprum orbiculare (Malassezia furfur).
It is characterized by a brownish discoloration and scaly rash on the skin mostly on the torso.
This yeast is found naturally occurring on the skin, but is most highly concentrated on neck, chest and back, where there are the highest number of sweat glands. You can develop pityriasis versicolor in other places on the torso, but rarely on the extremities.Pityriasis versicolor is equally common in men and women, more common in adolescents that adults, and is rarely itchy.
Pityriasis is typically worse during the summer and in damp, humid, tropical and sub-tropical climates.



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