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April 19, 1976

Management of Herpes Simplex Infections of the Skin

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Administration Hospital and Division of Dermatology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.

JAMA. 1976;235(16):1731-1733. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260420047033

MANY REMEDIES, folk, over-the-counter, and prescribed, are recommended for treatment of cold sores and fever blisters. This immediately suggests two possibilities: either everything is effective in the management of the troublesome skin lesions of herpes simplex infection, or no treatment is really very effective. A brief review of the course and pathogenesis of herpetic infections will explain why both of these possibilities may be true and will give insight into the problems confronting both patient and physician.

There are two variants of herpes simplex virus that affect man—type 1, which is most commonly isolated from facial lesions, and type 2, which normally causes herpes infections of the genitalia. Other than the differences in location and the earlier appearance of clinical and serological evidence of infection with herpesvirus type 1, the course of the disease caused by the two variants is quite similar. Most persons contract infection with herpesvirus type 1