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Is herpes contagious?

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1919 Questions
My GP has tested my rash just above one breast, and diagnosed Herpes 1. I thought it was sunburn as it coincided with severe sunburn on my back. I've been in contact with my little grandchildren (2, 4 and 6) just before the eruption. should I alert my daughter? How soon would children show symptoms if affected? and how XXXXXXX is this condition?
Posted Fri, 21 Feb 2014 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Johny Chacko 17 minutes later
Brief Answer: Herpes Detailed Answer: Hello, Welcome to healthcare magic. From your history and description, I get the information that you have been diagnosed with Herpes Zoster. Herpes zoster does not spread from one individual to another. It occurs due to the reactivation of herpes virus which would have been lying dormant in the nerve ganglion. However, there is a small theoretical risk of children (who are exposed to a patient with herpes zoster) getting chicken pox if they have not got chicken pox before in their life. If your grandchildren have already got chicken pox, there is no need to worry at all. And even if they have not , the chance of them getting chicken pox is very very minimal. But they will definitely not get herpes because of your contact. This is not a XXXXXXX condition. It will subside with antivirals in 7- 10 days. You may have some lingering pain which could be of burning type or stabbing type lasting for a few weeks after the blisters heal. Hope I have answered your queries and this puts your mind at ease. If you have any further queries, I would be glad to answer you. Take care. Regards, Dr. Johny Chacko
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Follow-up: Is herpes contagious? 41 minutes later
Thank you very much for relieving my anxiety concerning my grandkids. I've given thought to my condition and as I can't identify any other source, I'm inclined to think that it occurred as a result of sun exposure. Is that possible? If so, do I need to avoid sun altogether in the future, or could I avoid a new eruption jut by keeping the area which was affected covered? Am I now more susceptible to say, skin cancer too? thanks in anticipation.
Answered by Dr. Johny Chacko 20 minutes later
Brief Answer: Herpes Detailed Answer: Dear Madam, Herpes zoster occurs due to the reactivation of the herpes virus which would be lying dormant in your nerve roots in the spine after a chicken pox infection in your childhood. There are several factors which could trigger its reactivation - old age is the most factor. Even sunburn could act as a triggering factor rarely.The " source" of infection was in your body itself, lying dormant in the nerve roots of the spine. Sunlight could have just triggered the attack. Once a person gets herpes zoster, they usually do not get it again in their life time. It is usually a one time episode. So relax. You could continue your normal activities once the blisters and crusts subside. As I mentioned, there may be some residual pain lasting for 4-6 weeks. It is better to avoid direct sun exposure for a few weeks as this could worsen the burning pain. No, you are not susceptible to skin cancer due to herpes zoster. Hope this answered your queries. Take care.
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