T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 68739
posted 02-21-2013 12:58 AM
This may seem a bit paranoid or silly but I cannot find an answer to these questions. I have HSV-1, have had it since I was 6 years old (I'm 25 now). My outbreaks have lessened over the years. It went from about 5 or so a year to now 1 or less a year. I have noticed though that while my outbreaks were always on the same spot of my lip, the last two have been on that little spot between my mouth and the middle of my nose (you know, that little "dent" where you lips meet). This outbreak is particularly painful as it has the tip of my nose and my septum very sore. So, is it unusual for the infection to switch locations like this? I thought that herpes usually found a comfy spot that it liked to re-occur and ALL of my previous outbreaks were in the same spot til now. Does this mean it is gradually moving up the nerve? I am afraid that it will continue moving "up" with each outbreak...and reach my eyes or brain. I know that sounds crazy but I am being honest.
Speaking of the eyes, I've gone my whole life thinking that herpes was more of a nuisance than a health problem, and really, that is all it has been for me. I've learned though that it can infect the eyes and cause blindness, which has me really scared. I am not sure how this works. If I am already infected with HSV-1, and already have outbreaks elsewhere, what are the chances it would outbreak in my eyes? Also, what are the chances of infecting myself in other areas of my body? I am very careful about keeping my hands washed and I NEVER directly touch the blisters but this time around, I've had a horrible sinus infection and I think my outbreak came from rubbing my nose too raw. I am still having to blow my nose a lot and I have had a horrible day today in which I cried a lot. So, I have had to wipe my nose with tissues a lot, and a little under my eyes. It was almost impossible to avoid touching the blister at the same time (with the tissue, not my hands). Could all this wiping have spread my blister to my eyes or other parts of my face? If it helps, it isn't in the weeping stage yet and today, it was practically caked in a thick coat of foundation. I know when I was a little, I wasn't really careful with these blisters at all, and I have never had a problem with them spreading but still, I know it is possible and I am just scared that I might have spread it now.
Member # 90293
posted 02-21-2013 05:59 AM
First of all, there is no evidence that herpes affects the brain in any way, so you can rest easy on that point. Take a look through this article to get the lowdown: The STI Files: Herpes Herpes is a virus, so it's not unusual to have sores break out in different places on the same part of the body it has affected before. Above your lip would be considered in the same area, and people who have HsV-1 often find that they have sores on or around the mouth. Herpes or no herpes, it's sound practice to use a clean tissue when wiping the eyes, as you wouldn't want to get anything from wiping or blowing your nose into your eyes. It sounds like you were more wiping the tears away from under your eyes, which isn't going to transfer anything to your eyes themselves. So, I'd just suggest using a clean tissue from now on, and not worrying too much about this. other than that, it sounds like you're doing everything you can by washing your hands regularly and making sure not to touch your blisters to keep things from spreading.
Member # 68739
posted 02-21-2013 09:58 AM
So, am I right in assuming that you can't spread the blisters unless it is somewhere that has a mucus membrane? It seems unlikely for it to spread to like, a cheek or something, right? I never stuck the tissues in my eyes, just a little bit under them, mostly under my nose though. I changed tissues a lot too. Herpes is unsightly and uncomfortable but honestly I can deal with it as long as it causes nothing permanent, that is why I was worried about it getting in my eyes. I also don't understand the virus placement. From what I read, it lives in a nerve that runs from your ear. It logically seems like the blisters could only break out along that nerve. So, how could herpes even be spread anywhere else on your body? It seems crazy that you could re-infect yourself with the same virus that you already carry.
Member # 68739
posted 02-21-2013 03:41 PM
I guess what I am referring to is "auto-inoculation." I've read from several sources that this almost always happen during the year of initial infection. Should I still worry about this happening even though I've had HSV-1 for about 20 years?
Member # 20094
posted 02-21-2013 05:01 PM
The chances of spreading HSV-1 from a cold sore to your eyes is very low, and since you didn't touch the sore and then your eye directly, I'd say this is not something you need to be concerned about. And yes, the virus likes warm moist environments - mucus membranes - so it infecting an area of skin like a cheek or arm or leg is very very unlikely.
Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with the physiology of herpes to be able to answer your question about why outbreaks occur where they do. The best person to ask about that would be a healthcare provider.
Member # 68739
posted 02-21-2013 06:01 PM
Thank you Robin and Karybu. I feel a lot more relieved now
I was only worried about the tissue spreading it mainly, since I never ever directly touch my sore with my hands. I'm pretty sure it never went across my eyes but not 100 percent. I was never worried about spreading it so much when it was only on my lip, but this time, it is awfully hard to dodge around when trying to wipe my nose or eyes. So I was scared that I would inevitably wipe it further up my nose or into my eyes. I hate to say it but wish the darn things would just stay on my mouth. As unsightly as they are, it sure was a lot more comfortable on my lip than under my nose. Ouch! Better yet, I hope my outbreaks lessen even more over time. This is the first one I have had in over a year so maybe it will continue the trend. I would take antivirals for this but I don't think I outbreak enough, nor get any warning signs of an outbreak so that it wouldn't really benefit me.
Member # 20094
posted 02-21-2013 06:13 PM
Glad to help.
Even though you only have outbreaks once a year or so, it might still be worth asking about antivirals - they may still be useful for you, and there's no harm in asking.