Viral Skin Infections




This is a common skin disorder that occurs in the form of small blisters usually around the lips. They may become very sore. Often the lymph glands under the jaw swell and also become painful.



A day or two before the blisters (“vesicles”) appear, there is often a dry, tingling sensation of the skin. Patients suffering from recurring bouts should learn to identify this sensation, for local treatment applied at this stage can often check an attack.

Viral Skin Infections Causes

The disease is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus-1 (IISV-1), and it is aggravated by many factors. It has nothing to do with colds, but sometimes follows respiratory tract infections. Fevers, infections, allergies, exposure to sunshine and emotional upsets have all been blamed for bringing on attacks. Although most common about the lips, Herpes simplex, or cold sores, is an ivkinine2s)/222 rite skin 1101.Sell by a virus. herpes simplex can occur anywhere on the skin. If it occurs near the eyes, it is imperative that immediate expert assistance be sought, for it can cause serious ocular damage.



Sometimes the virus produces blisters in the genital region, and it has mistakenly been diagnosed as venereal disease. When it occurs here, it is called 1-ISV-2 infection. It has recently been found that in women with this disorder there is an increased risk of cancer of the cervix. Therefore prompt medical attention is essential, together with a “smear test” to check for cancer.

Viral Skin Infections Treatment

Most cases of simple cold sores can be treated quite effectively at home with routine remedies.



Local cream. Idoxuridine 0.5 per cent Cold Sore Ointment (Stoxil) applied early will often prevent the occurrence of blisters. It is best applied to the skin surface when the dry, tingling sensation (well known to chronic sufferers) occurs. Apply thinly every hour for the first day. and four-hourly after this. at is of little value after blisters have appeared.) This preparation should not be applied to the eyes.

Other applications. Spirits of camphor, or 10 per cent camphor in alcohol, or Bismuth-formic-iodide powder (BFI Powder) arc often used. These may assist’la drying out the blisters and bring some relief.



Avoiding the causes. Check for possible -causes in your case, and avoid them in :he future. For example, be careful when sunbathing early in the season; avoid domestic squabbles and keep away from emotional stresses and crises whenever Possible; do not eat foods you suspect can bring a recurrence of blisters; keep infection-free as much as possible.

Further Treatment. If simple measures do not bring relief, and particularly if the eyes or genital areas become involved, it is necessary to seek medical assistance.



Other lines of treatment that may be included by the physician include:

Acyclovir. The antiviral antibiotic acyclovir has a dramatic effect on the herpes virus, rapidly destroying it. Medication is given early, and by oral administration. It may not be warranted for simple isolated bouts, but for severe recurring attacks, it quickly eliminates blisters, pain, itch and discomfort. It is a major step forward in the treatment of herpes infections.

Cryotherapy. The application of ice, or icepacks, in the very early stages of heroes infection, will often prevent the virus :rom multiplying further. Packs must be kept in place for 30-60 minutes, and re- –)eated 2-3 times a day. If applied at the :rst sign of an attack, it will often abort it. is simple, cheap and effective.

Eye applications. If the eyes arc involved and this may be serious), specially formulated Idoxuridine eye drops (Stoxil) may be used.



Thorough examination. Especially necessary in the case of genital herpes, _or there is an increased risk of cancer of :he cervix (neck portion of the womb that forms the upper part of the vaginal canal). The physician may perform a -smear test” to check for this.

Special Note. In these days of bulging some medicine kits, most people have .re:ady access to the steroid (cortisone) 1:earns and ointments. It is stressed that :eese must not be used on any herpes for they can rapidly make the conworse. This also applies to the eye.

This is one reason why steroid applications for any disorder should be given only under medical supervision. Shingles (Herpes Zoster or Zoster).

This is an annoying skin eruption affecting any age group, but is often more severe and more painful in older persons.



It usually occurs on one side only of the body, and the trunk is often affected in either the upper or lower part. Sometimes the limbs are affected. A severe form may occur on one side of the face and in unfortunate instances it will spread over the eye, causing serious damage.

It often commences with local discomfort and a hot, tingling sensation. This is followed by the appearance of a small blister on a red base. These increase in number and size, and often develop in a straight line roughly equivalent to the line of nerves just below the skin.

Shingles is caused by a virus (termed the Varicella or “VG” virus) that also produces chickenpox. In nearly every case there has been an attack of chickenpox in earlier years. The germ lies dormant in the nervous system for many years until a trigger mechanism causes a recurrence of activity in the superficial nerves. The course of the disorder varies. With children, there is often little discomfort, and the entire disease may be over within a fortnight.

However, in older patients (and particularly the aged, who may have an intercurrent infection) the pain may be intense and persistent. The blisters may break down and form skin ulcers. When the disease finally settles down, it is often followed by severe pain in the areas affected, called post-herpetic neuralgia. This may persist for months and even years, and may be difficult to cure. If the nerve leading to the eye is involved, this is serious, and an eye specialist must be called in for advice. Investigation shows there may be a relationship between shingles in older people and cancer, although other reports refute it. However, any older person contracting shingles should be thoroughly checked out by the doctor for the possibility of a hidden cancer.