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Herpes Simplex (Cold Sores), Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes Simplex (Cold Sores)
Herpes simplex is one of the most common infections of man. The virus most often affects the lips, however other parts of the body may also be affected. The lesions usually continue to recur in the same site. Herpes simplex virus infections occur in two phases. Often the primary phase is undetected and is most common in pre-school children. Symptoms include swollen gums which bleed easily and fluid filled blisters on the gums, tongue and pharynx. Blisters may also appear on lips and surrounding skin. These blisters rupture to form white plaques and ulcers.

Recurrent herpes simplex lesions usually begin with tingling or itching followed by the appearance of small fluid filled blisters on reddened skin. These blisters are usually smaller than those of the primary infection andare clustered closer together. The blisters last only a few days before they become crusted. The lesions usually heal in about a week and do not usually leave scarring. Recurrent herpes simplex lesions may be due to exposure to sunlight.

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
Herpes zoster is believed to be a re-infection with the Varicella zoster virus that causes chicken pox. Evidence indicates that herpes zoster is caused by a virus similar to chicken pox. It is an acute, systemic infection which results in skin eruptions of groups of blisters on a red base with pain and itching. The blisters are typically situated on the chest wall on one side, along the line of the intercostal nerves or on the face. The spinal ganglion is the principal seat of infection and the number of ganglia ninvolved partly determines the extent of the skin eruptions. Medical attention is required for this condition. Persistence of pain is common,  particularly with advancing age and if the facial nerve becomes involved.

In children, the eruption is usually painless but may be very itchy, with little systemic involvement. In adults, pain is often greater than the itching. The condition usually begins with pain which is followed after 3-4 days by the formation of vesicles. These vesicles are usually situated along a nerve segment. They gradually become pustular then rupture forming crusts which fall off after 2-3 weeks. Scarring will usually occur. Herpes zoster can affect any nerve segment. The lymph nodes in the area of the nlesions are usually enlarged.

Consult a medical practitioner. Anti-viral medication may be indicated. Topical anti-inflammatory and anti-pruritic treatments will help the patient feel more comfortable. An antibiotic may be necessary if crusted lesions become infected.

To prevent recurrent lesions of herpes simplex, an SPF 30+ should be applied to the lips and surrounding skin daily.

The patient should be advised to avoid using soap on the affected area as it may further irritate the skin.

Products to Help (Anti-pruritics, Soap Alternatives)

Pinetarsol Bar and Pinetarsol Gel are soap alternatives which can be used to cleanse the skin when ordinary soaps are contraindicated. Both Pinetarsol Bar and Pinetarsol Gel contain pine tar to relieve the itch and reduce inflammation. Pinetarsol Gel is ideal for ano-genital fungal infections when baths are not convenient.

Pinetarsol Bath Oil is a non-greasy, water dispensable bath oil for the treatment of dry, itching, inflamed skin conditions. Containing pine tar, Pinetarsol Bath Oil reduces the inflammation and relieves pruritus. Pinetarsol Bath Oil also contains emollient oils to hydrate the skin. Due to the cleansing properties of Pinetarsol Bath Oil it may be used as a soap alternative. Add 15-30mL to a warm to tepid bath (5mL to a baby’s bath or hand basin) and bathe for 10 minutes once daily, more often in severe cases. Pat skin dry.

An anti-itch, anti-inflammatory and cleansing solution with a pH of 6.5, Pinetarsol Solution relieves itching and reduces inflammation. Bathing also helps to keep the skin and fingernails clean to reduce the risk of secondary
infection caused by scratching. Add 15 - 30 mL to a warm to tepid bath. Bathe for 5 - 10 minutes, once daily or more often in severe cases.

Products to Help (Topical Anti-inflammatories - Nonsteroid)

Egoderm Ointment contains ichthammol to provide effective relief for irritated skin by reducing inflammation and relieving itching. It is soothing and suitable for use on areas of skin which require protection. Egoderm Ointment is
corticosteroid-free and lanolin-free. Apply to affected area 3 times daily.

Products to Help (Sunscreens)

SUNSENSE Daily Face combines the benefits of a moisturiser with the protection of a SPF 50+ sunscreen. It is a light, soft cream that contains a sheer tint which is inivisible on the skin and gives a matt-finish. Ideal for use all-year-round as a protective daily moisturiser for the normal/combination skin. The oil-free base also makes it suitable for acne prone skin.