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What to know about herpes gladiatorum

Herpes gladiatorum is a communicable viral infection. Sometimes called mat herpes, it is common among people who play high-contact sports, such as wrestling.

Once the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) enters the body, it resides there for life.

While there is no cure for an HSV-1 infection such as herpes gladiatorum, the virus often lies dormant, so there are periods when the person has no symptoms.

When the virus reactivates and symptoms flare, the virus is more likely to transmit to another person via skin-to-skin contact.

In this article, we explore the symptoms of herpes gladiatorum, its diagnosis and treatment, and how to prevent transmission.

Symptoms

The symptoms of herpes gladiatorum vary from person to person. HSV-1 can enter any part of the body, and the infection can be particularly dangerous if it develops in the eyes.

Symptoms tend to become evident within 8 days of the virus entering the body. They can include:

  • a fever
  • swollen glands
  • a sore throat
  • sores or blisters, which can be painful
  • a tingling sensation in the affected area
  • a headache

Without treatment, the sores or blisters usually take 7–10 days to clear. While symptoms are apparent, the virus is more transmissible.

The pattern of flare-ups varies from person to person. Symptoms of herpes gladiatorum may flare once a month or once a year, for example.

When the virus is dormant, the person has no symptoms. This is no guarantee that the virus cannot pass on, but it is less likely to do so during this time.

Complications

HSV-1 commonly causes blisters, such as cold sores, to form on the skin. Bacteria may enter these blisters, causing a secondary infection. In this case, antibiotics may be necessary.

Without treatment, the bacterial infection may spread to other areas, such as the brain, eyes, liver, or lungs. If this occurs, it is a medical emergency, and the person needs urgent care.

Causes and risk factors

HSV-1 transmits via skin-to-skin contact. Herpes gladiatorum typically passes between people participating in high-contact sports, such as wrestling, rugby, or basketball. For this reason, the condition is also known as mat herpes.

The virus can also transmit through:

  • kissing, if one person has a cold sore
  • sexual contact
  • sharing item such as drinks, utensils, and cellphones

Also, periods of illness and stress can cause herpes flare-ups.

While some people go for long periods without having any symptoms, flare-ups can happen at any time.

A doctor can recommend precautions to prevent transmission, and this is especially important for people who regularly participate in contact sports.

Diagnosis

To tell whether a person has herpes gladiatorum, a doctor first visually examines any blisters or sores. This may be all that is necessary.

In some cases, they may also order a blood test. A person carrying the virus has specific antibodies in their blood that can indicate the presence of HSV-1.

In other cases, a doctor may take a sample of the affected skin and send it off for analysis.

If a person has other symptoms of herpes gladiatorum but no sores, it is still best to avoid skin-to-skin contact and see a doctor, who may order a blood test for the virus.

Treatment

Symptoms of herpes gladiatorum may be unpleasant but mild. Without any treatment, blisters should resolve within 10 days.

It is important to avoid skin-to-skin contact and sharing objects such as cups, cutlery, and phones until symptoms have disappeared.

Also, try not to irritate the affected skin, such as by picking or rubbing the blisters.

If symptoms are more severe or are causing discomfort, the doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to ease the symptoms and speed recovery.

To treat herpes gladiatorum outbreaks, doctors commonly recommend:

  • acyclovir
  • valacyclovir
  • famciclovir

Medication may also help prevent outbreaks from occurring.

Prevention

There are many ways to prevent the transmission of HSV-1. For example, a person can use barrier protection, such as condoms or dental dams, during sexual contact with someone who has herpes symptoms.

Also, people can undergo testing for HSV-1 before sexual contact with new partners. Some people carry the virus without realizing it.

Another strategy is to adopt highly effective hygiene practices. Key prevention techniques include:

  • showering immediately after every game or coaching or practice session
  • not sharing personal care items, such as razors, deodorants, or towels
  • washing towels and sports gear often, on a hot wash with bleach, if possible
  • making sure equipment is regularly cleaned
  • avoiding skin-to-skin contact with people who have sores or other herpes symptoms
  • checking for sores regularly
  • covering any open skin, such as a cut, with a bandage or dressing
  • not picking, popping — or even touching, if possible — blisters

These precautions are especially important for people with a higher risk of infection, such as those who regularly play contact sports.

For people with this level of risk, it may be possible to get a prescription for antiviral medication. Taking this medicine a few days before exposure to the virus can help the body develop immunity to it.

Outlook

An HSV-1 infection, such as herpes gladiatorum, stays in the body for life, and the virus is always transmissible.

Symptoms appear as the virus periodically reactivates. During these times, the likelihood of transmission is higher. However, medications can reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, and there are many ways to keep the virus from spreading.

Anyone who may have herpes gladiatorum, or who may have a high risk of it, should see a doctor.

Sours: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320202

Facial Herpes

HSV invades the cells of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, causing fluid-filled blisters to appear. The herpes virus travels from the epidermis along the nerve paths to the trigeminal ganglion, a bundle of nerves close to the inner ear, where it lies hidden until it is reactivated. Potential herpes triggers include a fever (for example, a common cold), UV radiation (exposure to sunlight), extreme tiredness or lowered immune function.

The initial herpes infection

When a person is infected with herpes for the first time, the episode is called a primary infection. The primary infection can progress in different ways. Some people only have very mild herpes symptoms or none at all but others can experience considerable discomfort. Sores can develop inside the mouth as well as outside it and this is commonly called gingivostomatitis. Initially, this can take the form of painful cold sores affecting the mouth, gum, throat and lips, which may last for more than 14 days if left untreated. Gingivostomatitis should be treated with antiviral medicine. Most patients also require painkillers or even local anaesthetics applied directly to the site, to ease the discomfort of the cold sores so that they can eat and drink.

This first outbreak starts one to three weeks after the herpes virus has invaded the skin and subsides within a few weeks.

Recurrences

The herpes virus remains hidden in the nerves for the rest of the person's life and becomes active again from time to time. Some people have few or no further herpes outbreaks while others have regular recurrences. They seem to become less frequent with age.

A facial herpes outbreak has four stages:

  1. A tingling feeling in the skin
  2. Slight swelling and the development of a number of fluid-filled blisters, which are often painful
  3. The blisters burst and form clusters, leaving fluid-filled sores (cold sores)
  4. The cold sores eventually dry, scab over and heal without scarring after 8 to 10 days

The virus can spread until the cold sores are completely covered by scabs and the infection will usually be external.

Sours: https://www.herpes.org.nz/herpes-patient-info/facial-herpes
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Viral Skin Infection: Herpes gladiatorum ('Mat Herpes')

What is herpes gladiatorum?

Herpes gladiatorum ("mat herpes") is a skin infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), the same virus that causes cold sores on the lips. HSV-1 infections are very common. In the United States, 30% to 90% of people are exposed to herpes by adulthood, although many people never develop symptoms.

While herpes gladiatorum (HSV-1) can be treated, once infected with the virus, a person is infected for life. People with herpes gladiatorum can have periods where the virus is inactive and cannot be spread to others. However, the virus can reactivate at any time and be transmitted to others, even if there are no symptoms (such as sores). This is why prevention is so important.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) on lip
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) on lip

What parts of the body can herpes gladiatorum (HSV-1 infection) affect?

Athletes with herpes gladiatorum may develop lesions anywhere on the face or body. HSV-1 infection of the eye can be serious and requires immediate medical attention.


Picture from the CDC of Viral Skin Infection - Herpes gladiatorum, the site is the eye
HSV-1 on and around eye

Is herpes gladiatorum only spread between athletes?

No. HSV-1, the virus that causes herpes gladiatorum, can be spread to others through direct skin contact with lesions -- this includes kissing or sharing beverage containers, eating utensils, cell phones, or lip balm with others.

What are the symptoms of herpes gladiatorum (HSV-1 infection)?

  • Symptoms usually begin about 8 days after exposure to HSV-1.
  • Fever (especially during the first episode).
  • Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes).
  • A tingling feeling at the affected area.
  • A cluster (usually more than one) of clear, fluid-filled blisters that may be surrounded by redness -- these blisters may or may not be painful.
  • Blisters and lesions usually heal within 7 to 10 days.
  • People with HSV-1 infection are infected for life, may have periodic outbreaks, and can transmit the virus to others.

Picture from the CDC of Viral Skin Infection - Herpes gladiatorum, the site is the arm
Herpes outbreak on arm

How is herpes gladiatorum diagnosed and treated?

  • If you suspect you have HSV-1 infection, inform your coach immediately -- early identification and treatment of skin infections is important for your health and the health of your teammates and opponents.
  • Some cases of herpes are mild and may not need treatment. However, athletes should not practice, play, or compete until a medical provider determines that the lesions are no longer infectious (contagious).
  • Athletes who have severe or prolonged outbreaks (especially if it is the first episode), immune system problems, or frequent outbreaks may be prescribed antiviral medications.

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Sours: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/athletic_skin_infections/herpes.htm

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How to identify and treat a herpes skin rash

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Herpes is a common infection that the herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes. One of the main symptoms is a rash of blisters that doctors sometimes refer to as a herpes rash.

A herpes rash usually develops on the genitals or around the mouth, but it can occur nearly anywhere on the body.

There are two types of HSV that can cause a skin rash in different areas: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

HSV-1 typically causes orolabial herpes. It spreads in the saliva and tends to affect the area around the mouth and nose.

HSV-2 typically causes genital herpes and usually spreads through sexual contact. The rash appears around the genitals. Sometimes, it is also responsible for orolabial herpes.

This article will explain the symptoms of a herpes skin rash and explore its causes and treatments. It will also examine some other possible causes of skin complaints that may look similar to herpes.

What does a herpes skin rash look like?

Herpes causes small sores to appear on the skin. These sores usually develop around the mouth and nose, but they can appear nearly anywhere on the body, including the fingers. Where the rash appears will depend on where and how the person contracted the infection.

The first symptom of a herpes outbreak tends to be a tingling, burning, or itching sensation in the affected area. This initial symptom might occur a day or so before the sores appear.

The sores can be tender, painful, and tingly. They tend to look like clusters of small, fluid filled blisters that become pustules. For a few days to a week, they will break open, ooze fluid, and form a crust before healing over. The rash typically lasts for around 7–10 days.

The first time a rash appears, it may last for different lengths of time depending on the type of herpes. For example, oral herpes symptoms tend to clear up in 2–3 weeks, while genital herpes symptoms usually clear up in 2–6 weeks.

When someone experiences a herpes outbreak for the first time, they may also experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • swollen, red gums
  • swollen lymph glands

Once the virus is inside the body, it invades the nerves that supply the area of the skin it affects and stays there for life. There is currently no cure for this virus, and it tends to reactivate and cause symptoms every so often.

The first outbreak is usually the worst. Although the symptoms of the virus do tend to come back every so often throughout the rest of a person’s life, they are not typically as severe on subsequent occasions.

Learn more about what herpes looks like here.

Is it herpes or something else?

Herpes rashes tend to look like clusters of small, fluid filled blisters on a small area of the body.

Some other skin conditions that may resemble herpes include:

Contact dermatitis

Having an allergic reaction to an irritant can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Common irritants include antibiotic creams, cosmetics, shampoos, and perfumes. In infants, contact dermatitis may develop in the diaper area.

Contact dermatitis can cause flushing, swelling, and even blistering in the area it affects.

Shingles

Shingles causes a rash of blisters to occur on the skin. The same virus that causes chickenpox (the varicella-zoster virus) causes shingles.

The first symptom of shingles tends to be a severe burning or tingling pain on one side of the body. A rash of fluid filled blisters follows a few days to a week later.

These blisters tend to appear in one area of the body, most commonly one side of the trunk, near the waistline. They may be tender to the touch or painful.

The condition usually clears up .

Scabies

An infestation of a microscopic parasite known as the human itch mite, or Sarcoptes scabiei, is what causes scabies.

The mite will burrow into the skin to lay its eggs and deposits its feces. Its presence causes an extremely itchy rash that resembles little pimples, creating flushed, scaly areas on the skin.

Doctors use a class of drugs called scabicides to treat these infestations. These drugs are only available with a prescription.

Causes of herpes skin rash

There are two types of HSV that cause herpes. Although these types are closely related and both spread through bodily fluids and human contact, they transmit in different ways.

The virus does not need to be causing any symptoms for it to spread to another person.

HSV-1, or oral herpes

Most carriers of HSV-1 contracted it when they were infants or children. It can spread through:

  • having skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus
  • kissing
  • sharing items such as lip balm, tableware, or toothbrushes

HSV-2, or genital herpes

Sexual contact tends to be how HSV-2 spreads. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes, and it can spread in saliva during oral sex. HSV-2 can also pass to an infant during childbirth.

Both forms of the virus enter the nerve cells of the body, where they will remain for life. The virus tends to lie dormant, or asleep, in the cells until something activates it and causes an outbreak of symptoms.

Factors that can lead to an outbreak include:

  • emotional stress
  • illness
  • fever
  • exposure to the sun
  • menstruation
  • surgery

Treatment

There is currently no cure for herpes, but the sores will usually clear up on their own within a few weeks.

Treatments that will shorten the duration of the outbreak and ease the symptoms are available.

If a person experiences frequent outbreaks, their doctor may recommend taking a pill every day as a means of prevention. This treatment is known as prophylaxis.

Antiviral creams or ointments can relieve the burning, itching, or tingling. Antiviral pills can help speed up the healing process. Both types of medication tend to contain the same active ingredients. They include:

  • acyclovir
  • famciclovir
  • valacyclovir

People can get herpes medication from a doctor or pharmacist. Over-the-counter options are also available online.

When to see a doctor

For otherwise healthy people, a herpes skin rash is not usually anything to worry about. The sores can be painful and uncomfortable, but they typically go away by themselves. Medications to treat them are available from drugstores.

The virus can cause complications in some people. Anyone with a long-term health condition or weakened immune system who thinks that they may have herpes should speak to their doctor.

People with cancer, HIV, or AIDS and anyone who has recently had an organ transplant should seek urgent medical attention if they think that they may have herpes.

Anyone who suspects that something other than herpes — such as dermatitis, shingles, or scabies — is causing their rash can talk to their doctor about diagnosis.

Summary

Herpes is a common virus that can cause a rash of blistering sores on the skin. These tend to develop around the mouth or genitals but can appear almost anywhere on the body.

There is currently no cure for the virus, and carriers tend to experience symptom outbreaks at various times throughout their life.

The clusters of fluid filled blisters may be painful, but they are usually harmless. Antiviral treatments that can help ease the symptoms and shorten the duration of an outbreak are available in many drugstores.

Sours: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326173
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Everything You Should Know About Herpes Gladiatorum

Herpes gladiatorum, also known as mat herpes, is a common skin condition caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). It’s the same virus that causes cold sores around the mouth. Once contracted, the virus stays with you for life.

You can have periods when the virus is inactive and not contagious, but you can also have flare-ups at any time.

Herpes gladiatorum is particularly associated with wrestling and other contact sports. In 1989, acquired the virus at a wrestling camp in Minnesota. The virus can be transmitted through other types of skin contact, too.

Symptoms

Herpes gladiatorum can affect any part of the body. If your eyes become affected, it should be treated as a medical emergency.

Symptoms usually appear about a week after exposure to HSV-1. You may notice a fever and swollen glands before the appearance of sores or blisters on your skin. You may also feel a tingling sensation in the area affected by the virus.

A collection of lesions or blisters will appear on your skin for up to 10 days or so before healing. They may or may not be painful.

You’ll likely have periods where you have no obvious symptoms. Even when there are no open sores or blisters, you’re still able to transmit the virus.

Talk with your doctor about how to check for symptoms and what precautions you should take with others when you have an outbreak and when you appear to be symptom-free.

An outbreak may occur once a year, once a month, or somewhere in between.

Causes

Herpes gladiatorum is spread through skin-to-skin contact. If you kiss someone with a herpes cold sore on their lips, you could contract the virus.

Although in theory sharing a cup or other beverage container, a cell phone, or eating utensils with a person with a herpes gladiatorum infection may allow the virus to spread, it’s less likely.

You can also contract HSV-1 by playing sports that involve a lot of skin-to-skin contact, as well as through sexual activity. This is a highly contagious disease.

Risk factors

An estimated 30 to 90 percent of adults in the United States have been exposed to herpes viruses, including HSV-1. Many of these people never develop symptoms. If you wrestle, play rugby, or participate in a similar contact sport, you’re at risk.

The most common way for the virus to spread is through skin-to-skin sexual contact.

If you have HSV-1, your risk of having an outbreak is higher during stressful periods or when your immune system is weakened during an illness.

Diagnosis

If you develop a cold sore or you have other symptoms of herpes gladiatorum, you should avoid physical contact with other people and seek a medical evaluation. This will help minimize the impact on you and help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

A doctor can examine your sores and often diagnose your condition without any testing. However, your doctor will likely take a small sample from one of the sores to be analyzed in a lab. Your doctor can test the sample to confirm a diagnosis.

You may be advised to take a blood test in cases where it’s difficult to distinguish an HSV-1 infection from another skin condition. The test will look for certain antibodies that appear.

A blood test can also be useful if you don’t have any obvious symptoms but are concerned that you may have been exposed to the virus.

Treatment

Mild cases of herpes gladiatorum may not need any treatment. You should, however, avoid irritating the sores if they’re still visible. Even if your lesions are dry and fading, you may need to avoid wrestling or any contact that could cause them to flare up.

For more serious cases, prescription antiviral medications can help speed up your recovery time. Medications often prescribed for HSV-1 are acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and famciclovir (Famvir).

The drugs may be prescribed as a preventive measure. Even when you’re not having a flare-up, taking an oral antiviral medication may help prevent outbreaks.

Prevention

If you have skin-to-skin contact with someone with an HSV-1 infection, talk with your doctor about how to avoid contracting the virus. You’ll probably be advised to avoid contact during periods when sores are visible.

You should know, though, that some people may have the virus, but never have symptoms. In these cases, the virus can still be transmitted to others.

If you get regular testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you should ask for your doctor to include herpes simplex.

If you’re a wrestler or other athlete at higher risk for HSV-1, practice good hygiene. Safe practices include:

  • showering immediately after practice or a game
  • using your own towel and making sure it’s washed regularly in hot water and bleach
  • using your own razor, deodorant, and other personal items, and never sharing your personal care items with other people
  • leaving sores alone, including avoiding picking or squeezing them
  • using clean uniforms, mats, and other equipment

In situations where you may be at high risk of contracting the virus, such as at a wrestling camp, you may be able to obtain a prescription for an antiviral medication.

If you start taking an antiviral several days before possible exposure to the virus, you may be able to significantly reduce your risk of contracting herpes gladiatorum.

To find out more about preventing an HSV-1 infection, talk with your doctor or someone with your local public health office.

Outlook

There’s no cure for herpes gladiatorum, but certain treatments can reduce outbreaks on your skin and reduce your odds of transmitting it to others. As well, you can take preventive measures to keep from acquiring it yourself.

If you have an HSV-1 infection, you may go for long periods with no obvious symptoms. Remember, even if you don’t notice symptoms, the virus can still be transmitted.

By working with your doctor and your significant other, as well as your coaches and teammates if you’re an athlete, you may be able to manage your condition successfully and safely for a long time.

Sours: https://www.healthline.com/health/herpes-gladiatorum

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For me, her. Touch was very pleasant. And, even too much. The member tensed so that it was ready to splash, and I could hardly manage to restrain myself from a premature eruption.



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