Thursday, March 10, 2016

Healthy Habits: Herpes Gladiolus

A CA high school wrestler contracted a highly contagious form of herpes from the mat that is now all over his forehead and face that looks like acne.  He believes he contracted it from another wrestler while at a match at a gym that had unkempt conditions and mats. I had a chance to interview Dr. Steven Hacker, board certified dermatologist in Palm Beach, FL to learn more, including how to protect our own kids.

How common is catching herpes from a sport such as wrestling? It is not uncommon particularly if a wrestler has an active outbreak or sores on his skin as it is caught through direct contact,  the name of this condition is Herpes Gladiatorum 

What are other ways this type of herpes can be spread? This type of Herpes as well as any other Herpes Simplex is spread through direct contact with the lesions. 

What are the long-term effects of this virus? Generally it is localized to the skin in healthy immunocompetent patients, and does not have any serious long term effects except for the social stigma which can be distressing in many individuals for obvious reasons. Other than that this type of infection generally does return in the skin in a cyclical manner at various times due to various underlying stressors. 

How can parents help protect their kids? Good hygiene is essential, protective garments/ and avoidance of direct contact with an individual that has open sores or Herpes lesions on their body during sporting activities. Facilities and locker rooms and athletic equipment should be cleaned with EPA recommended viricidal cleansers.

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