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Ask A Skin Doctor: Herpes Gladiatorum

Dear Doctor

This started 3 days ago as what I thought was just a pimple but then it spread and I don’t know what it is or what to do.

I haven’t started any new medications and have been on all the same meds for several months.

I’ve tried an anti-histamine, neosprin, medicated powder, lotioin and nothing has helped.

It hurts and kind of stings. It hasn’t spread past the spot on my neck, no fever, no other symptoms an dI’m not allergic to anything except penicillin so I obviously haven’t taken any.

I have fibromyalgia, some mental problems, a few other things but nothing that’s ever caused this before.

Herpes gladiatorum

Dear Patient

The cluster of vesicles is suggestive of Herpes.

The common herpes are oral herpes which affects the area around the mouth and genital herpes which affects the area around the private areas.

Herpes Gladiatorum, which is also known as mat herpese, is an infection of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) which affects other parts of the body like the chest, back, arms, legs, face and neck.

This infection is spread by skin to skin contact and it is common in athletes like wrestlers.

Symptoms include painful clusters of blisters which may be associated with fever and swollen nodes (glands) and a tingling sensation over the affected area.

Herpes Gladiatorum Treatment

These blisters of herpes gladiatorum usually heal in 1 to 2 weeks though the person remains infected with the virus for life.

Antivirals like Acyclovir can be prescribed for those with severe or prolonged outbreaks.

Personal hygiene is very important since it helps prevent spreading the infection to other athletes. Persons with active skin lesions should also not participate in sporting activities for the same reason.

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