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Herpes Simplex & Zoster All The Truth

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Viruses are tiny organisms which cause many different kinds of diseases.  One of the viruses which causes skin infections is called Herpes.  There are two types of Herpes viruses: Herpes simplex and Herpes zoster.

There are also two types of Herpes simplex viruses, one of which causes blisters on the upper part of the body (“above the belt”) and is called Type 1, and the other, called Type 2, causes blisters and ulcers on the genitalia.

Herpes  simplex  type I:

Most people are exposed in childhood to Herpes simplex type 1, but only 10% of the population develops the disease, which first appears as an itching at the site of the infection; later small blisters appear.  The blisters form several days after exposure to the virus and dry up after 7 to 10 days.  They appear most commonly around the lips or near the nostrils, but they can appear on other areas of the face or on the inside of the mouth.  In some patients the virus remains on the skin in a dormant state and reappears weeks, months or even years later.  An outbreak of the virus can be caused by exposure to the sun, nervous tension, a severe disease like the flu and in women, by menstruation.  Recurrent outbreaks of Herpes can be partially prevented by using a cream containing acyclovir (brand name: Zovirax), which should be applied as soon as an itching sensation heralds a recurrence of the disease.

Herpes Simplex type 2 :

is transmitted by sexual contact and appears as blisters or painful ulcers on the genitalia.  The first attack can last up to two weeks, and as is the case with Herpes simplex type 1, the disease can reoccur after weeks or months have passed.  Herpes simplex type 2 is treated with oral doses of acyclovir.  If there are more than six attacks a year, low-dosage prophylactic acyclovir treatment should be considered.

Herpes Zoster :

is the virus which causes chicken pox in children.  After the symptoms of the disease disappear, the virus remains dormant in the sensory nerves of the skin.  In a small percentage of the population, usually those people over 60, the disease reappears as blisters on the skin along the route of the nerve in which the virus resides.  In addition to blisters, Herpes zoster, also called shingles, is extremely painful.

Despite the fact that in most cases the blisters of Herpes zoster disappear after three weeks, certain people experience pain for weeks and even months.  In these cases the use of painkillers is recommended; a physician specializing in the treatment of pain can be consulted.  When Herpes zoster is widespread, appears in one of the facial nerves or in a patient whose immune system has been affected, the use of acyclovir is recommended, administered either orally or intravenously.

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Impetigo- Six Important Tips

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Impetigo- Important Tips

Impetigo is a common infectious disease caused by two kinds of bacteria: streptococci and staphylococci.  It usually appears on the face in the form of golden crusts, gummy or sticky to the touch, especially around the nostrils and the mouth.  It is chiefly a disease of children other family members, including adults, can also be infected.  Impetigo usually begins with a scratch, a mosquito bite or at the site of a previously existing condition, such as atopic dermatitis (see Chapter 2) or chicken pox.  Scratching the infected area transfers the bacteria to the fingers and from there to other parts of the body and to other people.  If impetigo is not treated in time it can lead to fever, general weakness and enlargement of the lymph glands.  After initial infection the disease can continue for several weeks and in some cases affect internal organs such as the kidneys.

Treatment of impetigo -

Treatment of impetigo includes removal of the crusts and washing the skin four times a day with special antibacterial soap.  Particularly gummy crusts can be removed by dipping gauze pads in hot water and applying them to the crusts for several minutes.  After the affected areas have been washed, an antibiotic ointment prescribed by a dermatologist should be applied.  The sores should not be bandaged: exposure to the air will lead to faster healing.  Sometimes it is necessary to take antibiotics orally, in the form of either syrup or pills.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPETIGO
PATIENTS

  • Wash your hands frequently with antibacterial soap.
  • Avoid touching affected areas.
  • Keep your fingernails short.
  • Change your towels every day.
  • To prevent infection, keep healthy children away from impetigo patients.
  • Continue medication at least a week after the crusts have disappeared.
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