Herpes simplex

"In the indicated cases it is essential to start antiviral treatment early to avoid chronification of the herpes virus infection".

DR. PILAR GIL SÁNCHEZ
SPECIALIST. DERMATOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Herpes simplex type 1 and 2 are responsible for the most frequent infections (skin herpes, cold sores and genital herpes).

They have the characteristic that they are not easily eliminated from the body once the infection has been controlled.

That is to say, they tend to remain hidden or in a state of "numbness" until they find a situation conducive to the re-development of the infection.

The infections by herpes simplex can generate very annoying pictures by the location of the infections that produce as well as by their capacity to become chronic, being the virus latent.

The neuropathic pain that they cause is difficult to treat, neuropharmaceuticals are usually indicated because normal analgesics are not very effective.

In addition, they have been associated with some tumors such as genital herpes that is related to cervical cancer, especially if it is associated with other infections such as human papilloma virus.

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What are the symptoms of herpes simplex?

The cutaneous herpes that usually appears following a certain nervous ramification in the face (mainly in lips and around the nose) or thorax, is manifested in the form of a rash of painful vesicles that evolve to scabs, associating to manifestations of another nature like fever, general malaise, tiredness and a neuropathic pain (deaf, sometimes electric, and very uneasy).

The evolution of the infection occurs over five to seven days, although the scabs can remain up to two weeks.

That neuropathic pain persists even after the infection has been reversed in the skin, giving rise to a series of discomforts that are difficult to treat, usually indicating the persistence of the virus in a latent form within cells related to the neurological system. This type of infection recurs frequently especially in situations of stress or relative immunosuppression (caused by other diseases).

In people with a severe decrease in defenses, this virus can also cause more generalized and dangerous skin infections.

On the other hand the herpes type 2 is able to produce genital infections of sexual transmission that with certain frequency are accompanied by other microorganisms.

In addition to these pictures, it is a virus capable of spreading to other organs and systems, such as the lung, liver or central nervous system as well as the cornea, although almost always and as with the more generalized pictures, in people at risk as those mentioned.

What are the most common symptoms?

  • Itchy or painful sensation in a skin area.
  • Burning sensation.
  • Blisters.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a herpes simplex

How is herpes simplex diagnosed?

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The diagnosis of herpes simplex is mainly made by the clinic. In doubtful cases it can be confirmed by performing a virological culture of the vesicles in the initial phase of the disease.

As many viruses are very resistant to environmental conditions, they are easily transmitted especially by contact. In fact, they are present in secretions of infected people, especially from the skin and genital area, especially when the infection is active.

The cause of the virus in the nerve is unknown, as well as the predisposition of each individual to suffer the disease.

How is herpes simplex treated?

Herpes simplex is an infection that normally responds to the use of antivirals (acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir).

These antivirals are more effective if used early and in sufficient doses.

They are indicated when the infection has certain importance, is very annoying or tends to become chronic, diminishing the symptoms and avoiding relapses.

Where do we treat it?

IN NAVARRE AND MADRID

The Department of Dermatology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Dermatology of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of dermatological diseases.

We have extensive experience in highly precise surgical treatments, such as Mohs surgery. This procedure requires highly specialized personnel. 

We have the latest technology for the dermo-aesthetic treatment of skin lesions, with the aim of achieving the best results for our patients.

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Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in Mohs Surgery for the treatment of skin cancer.
  • We have the best technology for dermo-aesthetic treatments.
  • Safety and quality assurance of the best private hospital in Spain.

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