HSV causes small blisters to appear on a small area of the skin. Cold sores can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found around or on the lips. HSV on the buttock area is more likely to be caused by HSV type 2.
The initial sign of a cold sore is often a burning, itching or tingling sensation in the affected area. This usually occurs a day or two before the blisters appear.
The blisters later burst and are then called “erosions” – these are red, flat, and may weep. The erosions dry up to become crusted lesions.
The first outbreak is usually the worst and can last up to 2-3 weeks. It can be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever and/or swollen gums or lymph glands. Any subsequent outbreaks of the virus usually last 1-2 weeks.
Skin HSV can be easily confused with Shingles. The blisters of HSV are scattered in a small random area. The blisters of shingles are spread along a “dermatome.” A viral swab will quickly confirm which it is.
Gallery of Skin HSV
What is the significance?
Severe skin HSV
HSV virus can become widespread and result in a severe infection called Kaposi Varicelliform Eruption. This condition is most common in children with eczema, which explains its other name, eczema herpeticum. HSV can affect anyone at any age, and there are a number of rare skin diseases that may predispose one to HSV.
The virus can spread to internal organs and may be fatal.
A permanent and patchy increase in skin colour (hyperpigmentation) or loss of skin pigment (hypopigmentation) may be a distressing outcome.
The early administration of antiviral treatments is necessary, either orally or by injection. If necessary, intravenous antiviral therapy may be administered in the hospital.